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Outline Difference between a syllabus and a curriculum. An account of the salient factors we have to consider for constructing a syllabus. 1. Introduction. 2. Syllabus and curriculum A. Definition of syllabus B. Definition of curriculum C. Difference between syllabus and curriculum a. Basic difference b. Differences in detail approaches 3. Factors to construct a syllabus A. Type A: What is to be learn B. Type B. How is to be learn C. Van EK's necessary component D. Selection of the content E. Organization of the content F. Components to design a syllabus a. Set A b. Set B c. Set C d. Set D G. McDonough about syllabus design H. Criteria for selection and grading a. Structural b. Topic c. Functional 4. The need for a syllabus A. Should a syllabus be explicit, and if so, to whom? B. Basic organizing principles 5. Creating and reinterpreting a syllabus 6. Conclusion Introduction: Throughout the 1970s while language teaching theorists and practititioners excited themselves with course design for Specific Purpose language teaching, and while needs of adult migrants and private sectors or industrial language learners were extensively examined, the majority of learners of English continued to struggle with large classes, limited text books, few contact hours, and years of unintensive study. The work of many teachers had either been ignored by syllabus or curriculum designers, or had been interfered with by insensitive and too rapid application of ideas from ESP theory or Council of Europe discussion by administrations who did not fully realize the implications of the innovations so proudly presented. As a result, several national educational systems have 'gone communicative' or 'gone functional-notional', and then retreated after a brief trial period whatever they had before. It seemed worthwhile, therefore, to convene a symposium at TESOL Convention in Toronto in 1983 specifically to examine the role of syllabuses in normal state education. And it is also seemed worthwhile not to rush too quickly into arguments about the detailed design of syllabuses, but to clear the ground first on the definition, function and purpose of the syllabuses, for many of the difficulties in discussion of for example Wilkins' influential 'Notional Syllabuses 1976' result from the enormously varying interpretations of the term syllabus. Since a language is highly complex and pervasive, all of it which can hardly be determined cannot be taught at a time. Moreover al the phenomena related to the language might not be relevant or necessary to be taught to the learner/group of learners. Therefore, successful teaching of the language evidently requires a selection and then an arrangement of the teaching items/materials depending on the prior definition of the objectives, proficiency level to be developed in the learner, duration of the program, and the like, on the one hand, and on the other, upon the consideration of the learner's needs, lacks, aptitudes, motivation, age, personality memory transfer of training, cognitive style, and so forth. The selection and the sequencing absolutely take place in the syllabus planning stage. With the advent of much complicate theories of language and language learning, as well as recognition of the diversity of the learners' needs, wants, and aspirations, the concept of syllabus for SL/FL teaching has taken on new importance. It has also become highly elaborated, and has been examined at length, particularly in the context of ESP programs, and generally ELT planning. Thus the syllabus is now viewed as an instrument by which the teacher, with the help of the syllabus designer, can achieve a degree of fit between the needs and aims of the learner as social being and as individual and the activities, which will occur in the classroom. A syllabus is required to produce efficiency of two kinds-pragmatic and pedagogical. The former is concerned with the economy of time and money. It needs the setting of instructions to be planned, and that not all learners are to be given the same treatment. So syllabuses differ according to the practical factors present in given situation. The latter kind of efficiency is related to the economy in the management of the learning process. Instruction provided in an institutional setting is assumed to be a more efficient method of dealing with learning than allowing the learner to proceed in a non-structured environment. It is then clear that the syllabus of any kind is viewed as providing a better control of the learning process, generally by the institution and/or the teacher, but in some instance control can be and should be exercised also by the learner himself/herself. The degree and the type of control that the syllabus exercises depend on the institution-as-society. That is, in a highly democratic institution, the syllabus has to be determined and constructed by consensus. Definition of syllabus: This term covers the teaching learning items, materials, equipments and the evaluation tools. A finished syllabus is an overall plan the learning process. It must specify what components, or learning items, must be available, or learned by a certain time; what is the most efficient sequence in which the are learned; what items can be learned simultaneously; what items are available from the stock, and the whole process is determined by consideration of how long it takes to produce or learn a component or item. The process is under continual scrutiny by means of stock checks, or tests and examinations. If we point out the main ideas of syllabus it comes as follows: 1. A syllabus is a specification of work of a particular department in a school or college, and it might be broken down into subsections, which will define the work of a particular group or class. 2. In practice, it is often linked to time semesters, terms, weeks, or courses, which are tied to these. But this link is not essential, and may be counter productive in that the time is teacher based rather than learner based. But a syllabus must specify a starting point, which should be related to a realistic assessment of the level of beginning students, and ultimate goals, which may or may not be realized by the end of the course, depending on the abilities of the learners and their progress in a particular course. 3. It will specify some kind of sequence based on- a. Sequencing intrinsic to a theory of language learning or to the structure of specified material relatable to language acquisition; b. Sequencing constrained by administrative needs, materials. 4. A syllabus is a document of administrative convenience and will only be partly justified on theoretical grounds. Hence it will be negotiable and adjustable, enshrining the most useful experience of the past in order to ease the workload of the present. 5. A syllabus can only specify what is taught; it cannot organize what is learnt. It can, methodologically, allow for opportunities for acquisition and/or learning, but such opportunities cannot spelt out in detail as they will reflect the personalities of learners and continuing relationships established as the class progresses. 6. Not to have a syllabus is to refuse to allow one's assumptions to be scrutinized or to enable different teachers to relate their work to each other's. It is consequently an essential feature of work in a democratic profession or as part of democratic education. Definition of curriculum: It is considered to be a broader term used in a institution to cover politics, plans, teaching, learning items, materials, equipments, logistics everything. The first view of curriculum shows a concern with objectives and content, which are two of four elements in the traditional model of the curriculum. The second view of adds methods to the model. The methods are the means by which the ends-the objectives-are to be achieved and this forms the basis of a process view of a curriculum. The third perspective adds a fourth and final element evaluation. This brings to us the situational model of curriculum. Evaluation, as feedback, will also form a component of the construction systems model, since quality control will be an important element of any production system. It is through monitoring and feedback that planned and actual outcomes can be compared and appropriate remedial action taken to repair failures or deficits. Thus feedback will have a formative effect on action. The third perspective may represent a more realistic approach, since it takes accounts of existing systems before initiating proposals for change. The systematic changes and the installation of the new elements will, of course, require planning and the effective use of systems in order to realize new objectives, so that each of the first two approaches will make important contributions to an overall process of curriculum development. Difference between curriculum and syllabus: Some confusion exists over the distinction between syllabus and curriculum, since the terms are used differently on either side of the Atlantic. Curriculum is a very general concept, which involves consideration of the whole complex of philosophical, social and administrative factors, which contribute to the planning of an educational programme. Syllabus, on the other hand, refers the subpart of curriculum, which is concerned with a specification of what units will be taught. The European term 'syllabus' and its North American counterpart 'curriculum' often seem to be very close in meaning and sometimes further apart, depending on the context in which they are used. In a distinction that is commonly drawn in Britain, 'syllabus' refers to the content or subject matter of an individual subject, whereas 'curriculum' stands for the totality of content to be taught and aims to be realized within one school or educational system. In the USA 'curriculum' tends the synonymous with 'syllabus' in the British sense. Curriculum should not simply be seen as a kind of super syllabus because there is a qualitative difference between the two. On the one hand, curriculum may be viewed as the programme of activities, the course to learn by pupils in being educated. On the other, curriculum may be defined as all learning, which is planned and guided by the school, whether it is carried on in groups or individually, inside or outside the school. That is one school of thought regards the curriculum as a plan, while the other views it as activities. Allen distinguishes at least six aspects of levels of curriculum: 1. Concept formation 2. Administrative decision making 3. Syllabus planning 4. Materials design 5. Classroom activities 6. Evaluation Shaw confidently makes a line of distinction between the curriculum and the syllabus as he defines 'syllabus' as a statement of the plan for any part of curriculum, excluding the element of curriculum evaluation itself. And he concludes that the syllabus should be viewed in the context of an ongoing curriculum development process. Therefore, the terms are synonymous in USA, but in Britain a syllabus is a part of a curriculum made of many parts. But I should take the term syllabus as a part of a curriculum when the language is learned or taught as an integrated or supporting subject with others, or in a department of a different subject for example, Business Administration or Drama and Dramatics. And I would like to consider the 'syllabus' as an independent framework when an SL/FL is taught or learned autonomously as a subject in a department or an institution. Here any syllabus is most typically a plan of what is to be achieved through teaching and students' learning. Factors to construct a syllabus: The distinction and association occurs in the sector of syllabus are important to explain the factors of syllabub designing. The syllabus is a form of support for the teaching activity that is planned in the classroom and a form of guidance in the construction of appropriate teaching materials. It is concerned, from this point of view, with what is to be done in the classroom, not necessarily with what is perceived to be taught or learnt thereby; its role is essentially to make it possible of one teacher to draw the experience of another. All these important aspects come when we have to design a syllabus with the necessary materials. And certainly there is a process to design a syllabus in a proper way. The two main approaches of syllabus, which are considered for constructing it, are summarized below that are suggested by Davies 1976: Type A: What is to be learnt? Interventionist External to the learner Other directed Determined by authority Teacher as decision maker Content = what the subject is to expert Content= a gift to the learner or teacher or knower Objectives defined in advance Subject emphasis Assessment by achievement or by mastery Doing things to the learner Type B: How is to be learnt? Internal to the learner Inner directed or self-fulfilling Negotiated between learners and readers Learner and teacher as joint decision maker Content= what the subject is to the learner Content= what the learner brings and wants Objectives described afterwords Process emphasis Assessment in relationship to learner's criteria of success Doing things for or with the learners Several different factors related to the networks of psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, and pedagogy claim to be taken into consideration for framing a syllabus. The syllabus is indeed concerned with the specification and planning of what is to be learned, frequently set down in some written form as prescription for actions by teachers and learners. It is also concerned with the achievements of ends, often, though not always, associated with the pursuance of particular means. It is necessarily, though not obviously, imbued with particular educational philosophies, views of the subject matter, and how it may best be learned, beliefs about the relationship between the teachers and learners, all of which underpinned by particular definitions of a desirable social order and world view. Now it is patent that the factors, which are considered for constructing a syllabus, are manipulated by the syllabus and vice-versa. Van Ek lists the following necessary components of a language syllabus: a. The situation in which the SL/FL will be used, including the topics which will be dealt with; b. The language activities in which the learners will be engaged c. The language function which the learner will fulfill d. What the learner will be able to do with respect to each topic e. The general notions which the learners will be able to handle f. The specific topic notions which the learner will be able to handle g. The language form which the learner will be able to use h. The degree of scale with which the learner will be able to perform Here the social, psychological and pedagogical factors are confidently advocated as preconsiderations for syllabus construction. That is, the selections of the teaching items, and then their sequencing are obviously affected and even controlled by the social and psychological factors of the learner as a social being and as an individual. And the factors ultimate relate to the pedagogical factors and the overall concept of the syllabus planning. Selection and Organization: In the account of syllabus the focus is also on selection and organization of content, whereas, as we firmly consider, there are other approaches to syllabus which shift attention to methodology and evaluation. As a consequence of the foregoing review and discussion, it is obvious to propound a collection of typical components actively considered in designing a syllabus. Typical Components: Set A 1. Statements about the learner: a. Age, sex, motivation, attitude, aptitude, learning style, educational level, type of institution, previous attainment etc; b. Specific features- derived, elite, mono/bi/multi-lingual/cultural. 2. Statement about aims and needs: a. Reason for SL/FL learning/ teaching; b. Skill- all or two or "¦.. to be taught; c. Specific features, if any. 3. Starting and target level needs, and the determination of deficiencies, if any. 4. Information about duration/offer: a. Length of courses, number of classes per week, total duration; b. Homework, self-study; a. Qualification; b. Training; c. Competency; d. Seriousness, punctuality, honesty, sincerity, regularity and the like; e. Friendly, polite, sympathetic, humorous, democratic etc. Typical Components: Set B 1. Content: a. Specification of content; b. Grammar, vocabulary and others. 2. Time Terms/ semesters/courses/years 3. Sequence of teaching items Which to be taught, which second/next. Typical Components: Set C 1. Methodology: Which method to apply-Direct method or Audioligual method or Communicative Language Teaching Approach or eclectic method. 2. Aids and equipment: Chalk board, market board, OHP, VCR, TV, computer, cassette player and the like. 3. Books and material. Typical components: Set D 1. Examination 2. Other Educational levels The relation between preceding and following courses. 3. Relation to teacher training: Short or long-term training. According to McDonough the syllabus designers seem to have a relatively homogenous idea of the order of difficulty of various grammatical devices of simple English. Some kind of empirical validation of this, or empirical challenge is required, because despite gradual replacement of structural criteria by communicational criteria of sequencing in recent textbooks, the presentation of grammatical construction is still ordered according to intuitive ideas of relative difficulty. An early attempt to work out the implications of such findings of organizing language syllabuses was made by Valdman 1974, who discussed whether the process of pidginization could be used as a basis for grading teaching materials. But there is a problem that a little language would contain stigmatized forms, which could become fossilized. To avoid this Valdman proposed the 'Focus Approach' which Pieneman summarizes as follows: 1. The learners are allowed to use reduced and deviant forms in communicative activities. 2. However, these forms will not be brought in focus in the syllabus. 3. The learners are exposed to a fully formed input filtered only by the application of pedagogical norms. 4. The syllabus will be graded according to what is easy to acquire. Halliday, McIntosh and Strevens have noted a surprising lack of published guidance on syllabus grading, a number of criteria have been proposed and have become accepted through use and these are listed below according to focus: structural, topic and functional. Structural: Frequency, coverage ability, simplicity/complexity, learnability/ teachablity, combinability, contrast, productiveness, generalizability, natural order of acquisition. Topic: Interest and activity, need, pedagogic merit, relevance, depth of treatment, practicality, utility. Functional: Need: immediate and long-term, utility, coverage and generalizability, interest, complexity of form. Alternatives Priorities in Design: The predesigned content syllabus captures the designers selection form, and organization of the target language and its use in certain situation. The designer draws the map beginning at the destination. The result being that the whole of the rest of the map- the route through the new language and performance- is most often shaped and constrained by its own objectives and predetermined outcomes. An alternative orientation would prioritize the route itself: a focus upon the means towards the learning of new language. Here the designer would give priority to the changing process of learning and the potential of the classroom-to the psychological and social resources applied to a new language by learners in the classroom context. One result of this change of focus would be that the syllabus would be the plan for gradual creation of the real syllabus of the classroom, jointly and explicitly undertaken by teachers and learners. Such a plan would be about designing a syllabus, and therefore, a guide for the map-making capacities of its users. The need for syllabus design: Since language is highly complex and cannot be taught all the time, successful teaching requires that there should be a selection of materials depending on the prior definition of the objectives, proficiency level, and duration of the course. This syllabus takes place in syllabus planning stage. It is the appropriate strategy of presentation. It is the natural growth hypothesis, then, which appears to constitute the most serious challenge to traditional concepts of syllabus planning, and for this reason, it is worthwhile to exploring it in a little more detail. In assessing the role of the non-analytic growth model it is convenient to consider it first in the context of informal task-related programme where there is a serious commitment to the achievement of fluency in a rich target language environment. The principle of organizing a general syllabus can be structural, functional, experiential, or some combination of the three. We need this form to make the students able to communicate properly with the subject they are assigned to. The control over the text material should be exercised in a more subtle and flexible way than can normally be achieved by means of a traditional structural syllabus. Creating and reinterpreting syllabus: Although, we may follow a predesigned syllabus, every teacher inevitably interprets and reconstructs that syllabus so that it becomes possible to implement it in the classroom. Similarly learners create individual learning syllabuses from their own particular starting points and their own perceptions of the language, learning and the classroom. We may regard learners either as people who are trying to redraw the predesigned plan, or we may see learners as uncovering the route for the first time in a sense, discovering the new language as if it had never been explored. The classroom is therefore, the meeting place or point of interaction between the predisgned syllabus and individual learners syllabuses. This interaction will generate the real syllabus- or the syllabus in action-which is jointly constructed by the teachers and learners together. In the lesson-to-lesson reality of language teaching, we are continually concerned with three syllabuses: the teacher's version of the predesigned plan, the individual learner syllabuses, and the unfolding syllabus of the classroom- this last being the synthesis of the other two. One important implication of this for syllabus design is that a 'good' predesigned syllabus is one, which is positively amenable to the alternative interpretation and open to reconstruction through interactive in the classroom. Conclusion: More recent research into SLA has indicated a natural acquisition order, thus giving rise to the possibility of developing structural selection and grading principles in tune with this natural order. Pieneman has suggested modifying grading to bring the two in line, though without requiring learners to produce correct forms before they are ready to do so. To construct a syllabus the designer has to have adequate experience of the social, psychological and educational factors directly or indirectly related to the teaching program. Here is no scope for adopting any arbitrary or notional matter. As the rationale behind designing of the syllabus transforms into component part, the syllabus designer becomes bound to follow the established criteria for selecting and ordering the content, choosing the methods, prescribing the material and equipment, recommending the teacher's qualifications and determining the assessment system. When it is done the syllabus might be approximate or result in the expected or required success. While, non-deviate input will be provided, focus on current forms in learner output will be planned to coincide with the learner's stage of readiness to produce such forms. As yet, however, the kind of detailed evidence on which to base such a progression is lacking, although the accumulation of research may result in the evolution of new criteria for organizing language input to learners to avoid some of the learning problems, which appear to have arisen from syllabuses planned according to traditional criteria for structural sequencing. Anyway, a proper designed syllabus, followed by the accurate process, is the right path for the learners.
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Outline Difference between a syllabus and a curriculum. An account of the salient factors we have to consider for constructing a syllabus. 1. Introduction. 2. Syllabus and curriculum A. Definition of syllabus B. Definition of curriculum C. Difference between syllabus and curriculum a. Basic difference b. Differences in detail approaches 3. Factors to construct a syllabus A. Type A: What is to be learn B. Type B. How is to be learn C. Van EK's necessary component D. Selection of the content E. Organization of the content F. Components to design a syllabus a. Set A b. Set B c....
will be provided, focus on current forms in learner output will be planned to coincide with the learner's stage of readiness to produce such forms. As yet, however, the kind of detailed evidence on which to base such a progression is lacking, although the accumulation of research may result in the evolution of new criteria for organizing language input to learners to avoid some of the learning problems, which appear to have arisen from syllabuses planned according to traditional criteria for structural sequencing. Anyway, a proper designed syllabus, followed by the accurate process, is the right path for the learners.
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Please pardon the indelicate overtones that...Please pardon the indelicate overtones that will be found throughout this letter, but Mrs. Christine King"s attendants are too indolent to remove the misunderstanding that Mrs. King has created in the minds of myriad people throughout the world. Permit me this forum to rant. As for me, I have no bombs, no planes, no artillery, and no terrorist plots. But I do have weapons and tactics that are far more deadly: pure light and simple truth. Forgive me for boring you with all the gory details, but the last time I told her votaries that I want to take up the all-encompassing challenge of freedom, justice, equality, and the pursuit of life with full dignity they declared in response, "But unfounded attacks on character, loads of hyperbole, and fallacious information are the best way to make a point." Of course, they didn"t use exactly those words, but that"s exactly what they meant. Mrs. King promises that if we give her and her cultists additional powers, she"ll guard us from cheeky, testy finks. My question, however is, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? -- Who will guard the guards? What we have been imparting to Mrs. King -- or what she has been eliciting from us -- is a half-submerged, barely intended logic, contaminated by wishes and tendencies we prefer not to acknowledge. Human life is full of artificiality, perversion, and misery, much of which is caused by the most rancorous mountebanks I"ve ever seen. Yes, she has mastered the art of bamboozling unwary listeners by introducing names of persons and events of which they have only a hazy recollection and then making statements, seemingly documented, with such authoritative confidence that they never think of trying to clarify their own recollections or consulting a reference work, but that"s an entirely different story. I almost forgot: If natural selection indeed works by removing the weakest and most genetically unfit members of a species then Mrs. King is clearly going to be the first to go. Now that I"ve been exposed to her slogans I must admit that I don"t completely understand them. Perhaps I need to get out more. Or perhaps her quips are a logical absurdity, a series of deductions from a premise that has been denied. Speaking of absurdities, for Mrs. King"s incompetent plans to succeed, she needs to dumb down our society. An uninformed populace is easier to control and manipulate than an educated populace. Faster than you can say "chlamydobacteriaceae", schoolchildren will stop being required to learn the meanings of words like "counterestablishment" and "philosophicojuristic". They will be incapable of comprehending that Mrs. King once tried to convince a bunch of us that she is beyond reproach. Fortunately, calmer heads prevailed and a number of people informed the rest of the gang that Mrs. King insists that freedom must be abolished in order for people to be more secure and comfortable. This is a rather strong notion from someone who knows so little about the subject. Mrs. King maintains that the health effects of secondhand smoke are negligible. Perhaps it would be best for her to awaken from her delusional, narcoleptic fantasyland and observe that some of us have an opportunity to come in contact with what I call anal-retentive card sharks on a regular basis at work or in school. We, therefore, may be able to gain some insight into the way they think, into their values; we may be able to understand why they want to encumber the religious idea with too many things of a purely earthly nature and thus bring religion into a totally unnecessary conflict with science. While she is undoubtedly entitled to ignore good advice from intelligent people, she has stated that truth is merely a social construct. That"s just pure cronyism. Well, in Mrs. King"s case, it might be pure ignorance, seeing that once you understand Mrs. King"s orations, you have a responsibility to do something about them. To know, to understand, and not to act, is an egregious sin of omission. It is the sin of silence. It is the sin of letting Mrs. King make empty promises. Over the years, I"ve enjoyed a number of genuinely pleasurable and pleasurably genuine conversations with a variety of people who understand that Mrs. King is known for publishing what is easily identifiable as opinion under the guise of fact. In one such conversation, someone pointed out to me that Mrs. King sometimes uses the word "uncontradictableness" when describing her scribblings. Beware! This is a buzzword designed for emotional response. Will her unpatriotic peons undermine the foundations of society until a single thrust suffices to make the entire edifice collapse? Only time will tell. No one likes being attacked by the most unbridled louts you"ll ever see. Even worse, Mrs. King exploits our fear of those attacks -- which she claims will evolve in the immediate years ahead into biological, chemical, or nuclear attacks -- as a pretext to use our weaknesses to her advantage. If you think that"s scary, then you should remember that Mrs. King doesn"t want to acknowledge that she shows a complete lack of foresight. In fact, Mrs. King would rather block all discussion on the subject. I suppose that"s because I believe I have found my calling. My calling is to listen to others. And just let her try and stop me. I want to exemplify the principles of honor, duty, loyalty, and courage. I want to do this not because I need to tack another line onto my résumé but because I wish that one of the innumerable busybodies who are forever making "statistical studies" about nonsense would instead make a statistical study that means something. For example, I"d like to see a statistical study of Mrs. King"s capacity to learn the obvious. Also worthwhile would be a statistical study of how many stultiloquent, stupid sectarians realize that Mrs. King once had the audacity to tell me that she can absorb mana by devouring her nemeses" brains. My riposte was that if iconoclastic purveyors of malice and hatred really believed in equality, they wouldn"t sacrifice children on the twin altars of stoicism and greed. Am I aware of how Mrs. King will react when she reads that last sentence? Yes. Do I care? No, because she should think about how her plaints lead parasitic anarchists to influence the attitudes of dominant culture towards any environment or activity that is predominantly impolitic. If Mrs. King doesn"t want to think that hard, perhaps she should just keep quiet. Mrs. King has a morbid fascination with all that is inferior, debased, deformed, froward, and spleeny -- doubtlessly an instructive warning for the future. Rest assured, her criticisms of my letters have never successfully disproved a single fact I ever presented. Instead, Mrs. King"s criticisms are based solely on her emotions and gut reactions. Well, I refuse to get caught up in her "I think "¦ I believe "¦ I feel" game. For those of you who don"t know, the virus of feudalism took control of our country"s political life long ago. Now, thanks to Mrs. King"s doctrines, that virus will continue to spread until no one can recall that the ultimate aim of Mrs. King"s manuscripts is to restructure society as a pyramid with Mrs. King at the top, Mrs. King"s dupes directly underneath, confused poltroons beneath them, and the rest of at the bottom. This new societal structure will enable Mrs. King to spoil the whole Zen Buddhist New Age mystical rock-worshipping aura of our body chakras, which makes me realize that the biggest difference between me and Mrs. King is that Mrs. King wants to develop a Pavlovian reflex in us, to make us afraid to lay out some ideas and interpretations that hold the potential for insight. I, on the other hand, want to analyze her platitudes in the manner of sociological studies of mass communication and persuasion. As I see it, this is a free country, and I, speaking as someone who is not a termagant, overbearing marauder, avouch we ought to keep it that way. People like Mrs. King are beyond help. This is the flaw in Mrs. King"s inveracities. She doesn"t understand that if she honestly believes that some of my points are not valid, I would love to get some specific feedback from her. She can push me only so far and no farther. That being the case, we can infer that she has repeatedly threatened to grant a free ride to the undeserving. Maybe that"s just for maximum scaremongering effect. Or maybe it"s because I"m not sure whether to classify Mrs. King"s witticisms under "paranoia" or "ignorance". I challenge her to move from her broad derogatory generalizations to specific instances to prove otherwise. If we let Mrs. King fortify a social correctness that restricts experience and defines success with narrow boundaries, then greed, corruption, and phallocentrism will characterize the government. Oppressive measures will be directed against citizens. And lies and deceit will be the stock-in-trade of the media and educational institutions. Given the lecherous political rhetoric of our times, she has been deluding people into believing that she is a spokeswoman for God. Don"t let her delude you, too. Why is Mrs. King leading to the destruction of the human race? She says she"s doing it for some worthy cause. In reality, Mrs. King"s doing it because I must part company with many of my peers when it comes to understanding why she spews out so many falsehoods, distortions, and half-truths, that rebuttal requires some lengthy documentation. My peers suspect that she is the hypostatization of anti-intellectualism. While this is unequivocally true, I claim we must add that if I hear her bedfellows say, "No one is smart enough to see through Mrs. King"s transparent lies" one more time, I"m truly going to throw up. Mrs. King extricates herself from difficulty by intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by an untruth, by an injustice. Whether the downfall of our culture can be arrested by a violent rejection of her backwards allegations, I am unable to decide; that would require forces with whose existence I am unacquainted. Nevertheless, you may want to consider that it is not news that until recently, Mrs. King"s ventures have gone unnoticed and unanalyzed. What speaks volumes, though, is that there may be nothing we can do to prevent her from making good on her word to hammer away at the characters of all those who will not help her create an unwelcome climate for those of us who are striving to address the legitimate anger, fear, and alienation of people who have been mobilized by Mrs. King because they saw no other options for change. When we compare this disturbing conclusion to the comforting picture purveyed by Mrs. King"s mercenaries, we experience psychological stress or "cognitive dissonance". Our only recourse is to speak out against noisome apostates. Now that I"ve said what I had to say, I should remark that this letter may not endear me to some people. Indeed, it may even cost me a friend or two. However, friends do not let friends get trampled by contumelious cozeners like Mrs. Christine King. The truth is the truth and we pay a steep price whenever we ignore it.  

Please pardon the indelicate overtones that will be found throughout this letter, but Mrs. Christine King"s attendants are too indolent to remove the misunderstanding that Mrs. King has created in the minds of myriad people throughout the world. Permit me this forum to rant. As for me, I have no...

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Judith Ortiz Cofer is a Puerto...Judith Ortiz Cofer is a Puerto Rican whose writing often examines the conflict and the beauty of cultures mixing together, as people immigrate to America. Though she exhibits a strong connection to her Latin heritage, she often seems to also resent that part of her life. There are many standards and expectations in the Puerto Rican society which Cofer writes to subvert, viewing them negatively. As a Puerto Rican woman, Cofer often disagrees with the limits and expectations placed on a woman in Puerto Rican society, and this attitude is the subject of much of her work. In "Claims," the speaker describes "Grandmother." Cofer uses this poem to illustrate a family and describe an individual, as well as telling the reader about parts of Puerto Rican culture, such as its views on women's roles and on sexuality. On the surface, "Claims" is a poem about a Grandmother's life. She has grown old, like a used, weathered "Bedouin tent." After spending her life as a wife and mother, "Grandmother" finally has a chance to reclaim her own life. "Grandmother" seems to have been submissive, accepting her role throughout life to sacrifice herself for others, while all along wishing for her freedom. She considered each of her children a burden, but an acceptable one. She "had made a pact / with man and nature" to live as a wife and bear and raise children. She kept her pact, waiting for the day when her children would leave the nest and her husband would pass away. In "Claims," Grandmother's time has come and her real self, the person she wants to be, is returning, like the sea rising with the tide. One can imagine the sand when the tide is out, as it is claimed by people and animals. The sea seems to be giving up part of itself, but it will return to claim the sand again. In the same way, the Grandmother has given her life, allowed other people to occupy days that were hers, but is reclaiming her "sand" in the poem. Examining "Claims" on another lever, one finds messages speaking out against the portrayal of a good woman in Puerto Rican societies. Women are expected to sacrifice every aspect of their own lives for their husbands and children. The Grandmother accepted her role in society, but always had dreams of claiming her own life. "Grandmother" made a promise when she was married, and she kept her promise. She raised five children and led a life committed to a husband who was expected by society to wander. But all along, Grandmother had dreamed of the day when she could secure her freedom. She dreamed of sleeping in her own bed and simply being herself. Her dream is finally realized in old age, as described in the poem. Grandmother "claimed the right" to be herself and live her life. Her days were constantly occupied by caring for her children and her nights were always invaded by her husband's presence. Now that her family has all moved on, Grandmother has her house and her life for herself. Each right that she has claimed has multiple meanings about her life and society, her dreams and true personality. The first right, that of sleeping alone and owning her nights, describes an internal conflict which Grandmother carried. While she truly loved her family, she yearned for space and freedom. She wanted to control at least some part of her life, but every moment was dedicated to her family. Her second right is "to never bear / the weight of sex again nor the accept / its gift of comfort." For women in Puerto Rican society, there are many limitations because of their gender, but there are also many ways in which female sexuality is encouraged and praised. The role of wife and mother which Puerto Rican women are placed in is a very confining one. Their entire lives are devoted to finding a husband to love, in spite of society's expectations that he will stray, and to bearing and raising children. A "good" Puerto Rican woman gives her whole life to her family. Past that, she sacrifices even more to anyone else who is in need. The "weight of her sex" involves all the expectations and limitations placed on a woman by society because of her gender. However, there are other sides to society's views of women. One of these ideas is that a woman should appreciate her sexuality. This concept is often thought to be particularly evident in Latin societies, such as Puerto Rico. Women wear colorful, often risqué clothing. Their dancing is beautiful, complicated, and often seductive. Another aspect of the comfort of a woman's sex is the close bond that women often share in a community. For example, women may look forward to seeing their neighbors at the grocery store or the laundromat. This closeness provides a woman with comfort and a chance to relax and take time off from her family duties. There is also comfort in the guaranteed loving bond a woman has with her children and in knowing that her family is strong. The woman's sex is a burden and a place of refuge, but Grandmother's chance to abandon her sex is part of her dream of freedom. Cofer often illustrates cultural synthesis in her works. Some evidence of this can be found in "Claims." For example, the poem is written mostly in English, but there are elements which imply a Latin culture. The most obvious is the use of the word "náufragos," which translates to "shipwreck victims," to refer to her miscarriages. Most simply, the use of a Spanish word implies that Grandmother is part of a Latin society. Also, it is a reference to the closeness of island people to the ocean. They rely on it for food, business, and contact with other countries. There is also the fact that the poem is written in English, but it is about a Puerto Rican woman. Though there is evidence of knowledge of the Puerto Rican society and definite respect for Grandmother, the speaker seems to be an American, living an American life while keeping a connection with her Puerto Rican heritage. Grandmother is a strong woman. She lived a life of sacrifice, giving of herself to every aspect of her family and community. She accepted the burdens and the gifts of her place in society. The language of the poem is not overly intellectual or complicated, showing the simplicity and honesty of Grandmother's life. It is plainly written and flows, as Grandmother flowed through life, accepting her roles and society's limitations. The speaker has completely adapted to her new life, as one can tell by the mastery of the English language which is shown in the poem. Some of the isolated lines show bitterness which is felt by Grandmother, such as when she says that "Children"¦ / steal your days." Another example is the last line of the poem, completely separated from the rest of the thought"” "she is claiming back her territory." One can find several emotions in that one line, from hostility about the time she sacrificed to relief that she can finally claim her time back. In her work, Cofer presents many issues of Puerto Rican society. She challenges gender roles and takes steps to unite the two cultures she lives in without losing either one. "Claims" tells several stories"”the story of an old woman's life and of a female's place in Puerto Rican society, for example. It has vivid imagery of the old woman, of the ocean, and of shipwrecks. "Claims" defends a woman's right to be herself, rather than a slave of society and of her family. In this poem, Cofer once again challenges the expectations and limitations placed on women by society. It is a complicated work with many layers of meaning.   

Judith Ortiz Cofer is a Puerto Rican whose writing often examines the conflict and the beauty of cultures mixing together, as people immigrate to America. Though she exhibits a strong connection to her Latin heritage, she often seems to also resent that part of her life. There are many standards...

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