Wednesday 19 February 2020

Testing and Evaluation

Testing: Assessment & Evaluation

  • Testing for Language Teachers by Arthur Hughes (1989, CUP) 
    • Teaching and Testing (pg 1 to 6) 
    • Kinds of Test and Testing (pg 9 -­ 21) 
    • Validity (pg 22-­28) 
    • Reliability (pg 29-­43) 
    • Achieving Beneficial Backwash (pg 44-­47) 
    • Stages of Test Construction (pg 48-­58) 
    • Test techniques and testing overall ability (pg 59­-74) 
    • Testing W­S­R­L )pg 75­-140) 
    • Testing grammar and vocabulary (pg 141­-151) 
    • Test administration (152-­154) 

Washback / Backwash

Handouts - by Dr. Atanu Bhattacharya

Click on the title to view this presentation on Validity, Reliability, Practicality of Test & its Washback Effect:

Teaching English Language through Literature - Teacher Resources

Teaching Language and Literature

Teacher Resources: The Teaching of Language through Literature

Above topics are taken from:
Literature and Language Teaching: A guide for teachers and trainers 
- by Gillian Lazar (1993, CUP)

Handouts - by Dr. Atanu Bhattacharya

Teaching Literature

Why teach literature for language classroom?

Monday 17 February 2020



Clément Ndoricimpa, Dilip P. Barad, "Construing criticality in essay genre in English literature", International Journal of English Learning and Teaching Skills; Vol. 2, No. 1; ISSN : 2639-7412 (Print) ISSN : 2638-5546 (Online)


Criticality is established as one of most important characteristics of university essay genre. Students are required to demonstrate their critical thinking in their writing. However, criticality is a concept, which is less understood among students and tutors. Further, there is a little agreement among researchers on how to investigate the linguistic features associated with enacting critical stance. Therefore, this paper demonstrates how criticality is achieved in essay genre in the discipline of English literature. The argument in this paper is that the linguistic features traditionally associated with enacting criticality interact with other linguistic features to achieve critical stance in a written text. A systemic functional analysis of essays in English literature drawn from British Academic Writing English (BAWE) corpus demonstrates this interaction. Specifically, the findings show that the linguistic resources for the creation of ideational meaning interact with those for critical positioning to achieve critical thinking in university essays. These findings have implication for teaching academic writing in the discipline of English literature. 

Keywords: Academic writing, criticality, essay genre, stance



Clement Ndoricimpa, Dilip P. Barad, "ESL Postgraduate Students' Self-Perceived Performance in Oral Presentation: Case of Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University", International Journal of Management and Applied Science (IJMAS), Volume-5,Issue-9,pp 6-12 ,2019


Oral presentation is one of the most important tools that is employed to assess learning at higher education. Students in many educational fields are required to make oral presentations. However, many students may find making oral presentations in front of peers and instructors challenging. In order to assess the extent to which students are able to make effective oral presentations, different frameworks are followed including self-regulated learning. In self-regulated learning, self- and peer assessments are used. Thus, this study investigates self-perceived performance among L2 postgraduate students in one University in India in order to determine their needs in oral presentations. The research employed mixed method design. Hence, the data were collected by means of self-assessment questionnaire and classroom observation. The data from self-assessment questionnaire were analyzed by means of descriptive statistics and were computed using the statistical package SPSS 22. The results revealed that students evaluated themselves a little above fairly on the whole in oral presentation. They believed that their non-verbal skills were below fairly, their abilities with regard to content were fairly and their verbal skills were above fairly. The results also indicated that students scored higher in peer assessment than in self-assessment and that there is no statistically significant difference in self-assessment with regard to gender and level of study. These results have implication for teaching and assessing oral presentation. Keywords - Assessment, Oral Presentation, Peer-Assessment, Self-Assessment, Self-Regulated Learning.

Sunday 16 February 2020

Cyberfeminism - AI and Gender Biases

Cyberfeminism: Artificial Intelligence and the Unconscious Biases

Cyberfeminism had grand ambitions for the internet; however, it failed to acknowledge that the internet does not necessarily represent a fresh start or a free space in which gender does not matter, but is a new space that is very much embedded in society, and that sexist, racist etc. assumptions are imported into the cyberspace. Online spaces and innovative technologies are human creations and therefore biased from their very creation. Nonetheless, although the internet and online technologies are an extension of society, replicating the same problems therein, and even if the platforms are somehow biased, it still represents a separate space for expression, which “negotiates the border” between our public and private lives (Harris, 2008, p.491). It presents opportunities for self-creation and reinvention of identity. This separate space, of course, also offers new opportunities for harassment, exacerbating certain types of behaviours because of the possibility for the perpetrator to hide behind the anonymity of the internet (Evans, 2015). All this leads us to the necessity of questioning the idea of space, safe space, and online versus offline identities and more importantly, to understanding the importance feminist activism online plays in shaping those safe spaces and identities. (Paula Ranzel)
Mia Consalvo defines cyberfeminism as:
  1. a label for women—especially young women who might not even want to align with feminism's history—not just to consume new technologies but to actively participate in their making;
  2. a critical engagement with new technologies and their entanglement with power structures and systemic oppression. (in "Cyberfeminism"Encyclopedia of New Media, SAGE Publications)
Bruce Grenville in The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture mentions: "The dominant cyberfeminist perspective takes a utopian view of cyberspace and the Internet as a means of freedom from social constructs such as gender, sex difference and race. For instance, a description of the concept described it as a struggle to be aware of the impact of new technologies on the lives of women as well as the so-called insidious gendering of technoculture in everyday life.".

It has been proved in several researches that the unconscious biases are creeping in the coding of Artificial Intelligence also. Virtual world is nothing but mirror image of real world. The AI coders are also human beings. If these coders are unconsciously biased or are not made about their unconscious gender biases, the aritificial intelligence / machines / robots / algorithm made by them is bound to have similar biases. If this is not given serious consideration then the hope that people dreamt of, the world free of gender bias, will be lost, even in this digital era.

Here are some interesting observations made by these researchers:

1. Kirti Sharma: How to keep human bias out of AI?

2. Robin Hauser: Can we protect AI from our biases?

Additional resources:

Sunday 9 February 2020

Knowledge Week 2020

Knowledge Week 2020

Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University organised a week long Knowledge week from 3rd Feb to 8th Feb 2020. In this Knowledge Week, renowned speakers like Swami Dharmabandhuji, Dr, Anish Chandarana, Jay Vasavada, Dr. Jay Narayan Vyas, Swami Brahamavihari and Dr. Jagdish Trivedi interacted with students on topics like Youth and Nation, Health, Social Media, Economics, Human Values and Literature.

Day 1: 

Day 2: 

Day 3:

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:

Saturday 8 February 2020

Introduction to Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

What is Cultural Studies?

Cultural studies, interdisciplinary field concerned with the role of social institutions in the shaping of culture. Cultural studies emerged in Britain in the late 1950s and subsequently spread internationally, notably to the United States and Australia. Originally identified with the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham (founded 1964) and with such scholars as Richard Hoggart, Stuart Hall, and Raymond Williams, cultural studies later became a well-established field in many academic institutions, and it has since had broad influence in sociologyanthropologyhistoriographyliterary criticismphilosophy, and art criticism. Among its central concerns are the place of race or ethnicityclass, and gender in the production of cultural knowledge. (Britannica  Brian Duignan).
Cultural studies is a field of theoretically, politically, and empirically engaged cultural analysis that concentrates upon the political dynamics of contemporary culture, its historical foundations, defining traits, conflicts, and contingencies. Cultural studies researchers generally investigate how cultural practices relate to wider systems of power associated with or operating through social phenomena, such as ideologyclass structuresnational formationsethnicitysexual orientationgender, and generation. Cultural studies views cultures not as fixed, bounded, stable, and discrete entities, but rather as constantly interacting and changing sets of practices and processes.
Cultural studies was initially developed by British Marxist academics in the late 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and has been subsequently taken up and transformed by scholars from many different disciplines around the world. Cultural studies is avowedly and even radically interdisciplinary and can sometimes be seen as antidisciplinary. A key concern for cultural studies practitioners is the examination of the forces within and through which socially organized people conduct and participate in the construction of their everyday lives. (Source: Click to read more).

Four Goals of Cultural Studies

  1. Cultural Studies transcends the confines of a particular discipline such as literary criticism or history.
  2. Cultural Studies is politically engaged.
  3. Cultural Studies denies the separation of 'high' and 'low' or elite and popular culture.
  4. Cultural Studies analyzes not only the cultural work, but also the means of production.

Five Types of Cultural Studies

  1. British Cultural Materialism
  2. New Historicism
  3. American Multiculturalism
  4. Postmodernism & Popular Culture
  5. Postcolonial Studies

Cultural Studies in Practice

  • Reading 'Hamlet' - Two Characters: Marginalization with a Vengeance
  • Reading 'To His Coy Mistress - Implied Culture versus Historical Fact
  • Reading 'Frankenstein' - From 'Paradise Lost to Frank-N-Furter: The Creature Lives!
  • Reading 'Writer & Market' - Hawthorne, Chetan Bhagat & their Markets

 Limitations of Cultural Studies

Check your progress - online test

Points to Ponder

Friday 7 February 2020

Slow Movement

Slow Movement: A Cultural Shift towards Slowing Down Life's Speed

It is a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail's pace. It's about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.

The World Institute of Slowness

Geir Berthelsen and his creation of The World Institute of Slowness presented a vision in 1999 for an entire "slow planet" and a need to teach the world the way of slowness. The motto of the Slow philosophy is - 'The fastest way to a good life is to slow down'. This website explains this philosophy in these terms:

What it's all about?

Slowness is a new way of thinking about time...
The vision of The World Institute of Slowness is to slow the world down to create healthier, happier and more productive people.

Unlike chronological time, it is non-linear time, the here and now, time that works for you, extraordinary time.
So why be fast when you can be slow? Slowness is also about balance, so if you must hurry, then hurry slowly. “Festina Lente!”

In Praise of Slow - Carl Honore

Carl Honoré's 2004 book, In Praise of Slow, first explored how the Slow philosophy might be applied in every field of human endeavour and coined the phrase "slow movement". In Praise of Slow (U.S. title In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed) is a book containing his analysis of the "Cult of Speed", which he claims is becoming the societal standard all over the world. He discusses and gives praise to the Slow Movement and the various groups around the world representative of this movement.

TED-Talk on 'In Praise of Slowness'

Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives. The transcript of the talk can be read here.

Baudrillard, Virilio & Beck - and the technoculture 

The dangers of speed which is an outcome of digital culture are perceived in a difference way by Jean Baudrillard, Paul Virilio and Ulrich Beck. This Slow Movement gives an interesting solution to the concerns raised by them. 

Jean Baudrillard describes the "simulacra" of postmodern life which have taken the place of "real" objects. Think for example of video games or music compact discs, for which there is no original in the way that reproductions are made of original paintings or statues. Virtual reality games add another dimension to the artificiality of postmodern life. Perhaps postmodernism is best compared to the emergence of computer technology. In the future, anything not digitizable may cease to be knowledge. For Baudrillard, postmodernism marks a culture composed "of disparate fragmentary experiences and images that constantly bombard the individual in music, video, television, advertising and other forms of electronic media. The speed and ease of reproduction of these images mean that they exist only as image, devoid of depth, coherence, or originality" (in Childers and Hentzi 235). Postmodernism thus reflects both the energy and diversity of contemporary life as well as its frequent lack of coherence and depth. The lines between reality and artifice can become so blurred that reality TV is now hard to distinguish from reality-and from television entertainment. (Guerin, et all.)

Paul Virilio's work on 'Dromology' - the Science of Speed - is an exciting reading of late twentieth century cyberculture. 

Dromos is an Ancient Greek noun for race or racetrack, which Virilio applied the activity of racing (Virilio 1977:47). It is with this meaning in mind that he coined the term 'dromology', which he defined as the "science (or logic) of speed“. Dromology is important when considering the structuring of society in relation to warfare and modern media. He noted that the speed at which something happens may change its essential nature, and that which moves with speed quickly comes to dominate that which is slower. 'Whoever controls the territory possesses it. Possession of territory is not primarily about laws and contracts, but first and foremost a matter of movement and circulation.'
Virilio also observed that Speed and technology replaces democratic participation, and undermine politics. Effective media politics diminishes the space of democratic political participation. Instantaneous communication actually reduces the time for detailed discussions, deliberations and consensus-building. This supports the culture of totalitarianism. This undermines the the values and spirit of democracy. Thus, speed of technoculture is very harmful to the democracy also. When we enter the 3rd decade of the 21st Century, the century of technology, we have already started to experience this undermining of democratic value systems by democracy itself.

Ulrich Beck propounded the influential 'risk society' thesis in 'Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (1992). 

Risk theory for Cultural Studies reveals the extent that society / culture thrives on risk, providing information about potential risk, possible solutions and so on. Risk theory reflects on the psycho-social impact of technoculture where cultural responses to new devices are based upon an awareness that they create new risk. Beck tries to explain the risk theory by the concept that - while looking for the solution of the problem, we device the solution which it self turn down to be the problem. Just we get entangled in the web of problem-solution-problem-solution ... till infinity.
Becks's solution to this autopoietic risk culture is to find political potential 'outside' government. Politics must be about being able to communicate between systems - something that is becoming increasingly impossible today. Thus, the complete indifferent of the government to any criticism - is a mark of the autopoiesis of the political system, The representatives of the people are no more accountable to the people. They refer to 'each other' in debates that are increasingly disconnected from the needs of the people. Most of the systems - social, political, technological - including democracy - are now self-referential: they generate risks and provide solutions, the solutions generate problems - and on and one - they talk only within the system and rarely to the 'outside'.
There is an amazing possibility in the philosophy of Slow Movement to answer to this crisis of Risk Society. 


Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2016

It is no longer clear what role the University plays in society. The structure of the contemporary University is changing rapidly, and we have yet to understand what precisely these changes will mean. Is a new age dawning for the University, the renaissance of higher education under way? Or is the University in the twilight of its social function, the demise of higher education fast approaching?

We can answer such questions only if we look carefully at the different roles the University has played historically and then imagine how it might be possible to live, and to think, amid the ruins of the University. Tracing the roots of the modern American University in German philosophy and in the work of British thinkers such as Newman and Arnold, Bill Readings argues that historically the integrity of the modern University has been linked to the nation-state, which it has served by promoting and protecting the idea of a national culture. But now the nation-state is in decline, and national culture no longer needs to be either promoted or protected. Increasingly, universities are turning into transnational corporations, and the idea of culture is being replaced by the discourse of “excellence.” On the surface, this does not seem particularly pernicious.
The author cautions, however, that we should not embrace this techno-bureaucratic appeal too quickly. The new University of Excellence is a corporation driven by market forces, and, as such, is more interested in profit margins than in thought. Readings urges us to imagine how to think, without concession to corporate excellence or recourse to romantic nostalgia within an institution in ruins. The result is a passionate appeal for a new community of thinkers.

If there is one sector of society that should be cultivating deep thought in itself and others, it is academia. Yet the corporatisation of the contemporary university has sped up the clock, demanding increased speed and efficiency from faculty regardless of the consequences for education and scholarship.
In The Slow Professor, Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber discuss how adopting the principles of the Slow movement in academic life can counter this erosion of humanistic education. Focusing on the individual faculty member and his or her own professional practice, Berg and Seeber present both an analysis of the culture of speed in the academy and ways of alleviating stress while improving teaching, research, and collegiality. The Slow Professor will be a must-read for anyone in academia concerned about the frantic pace of contemporary university life.

Baudrillard, Jean. 'Simulations'. Trans. Paul Foss, Paul Patton, and Philip Beitchnan. new York: Semiotext(e), 1981.
Beck, Ulrich. 'Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Trans. Mark Ritter. London: Sage, 1992.
Berg, Maggie, and Barbara Seeber. 'SLOW PROFESSOR: CHALLENGING THE CULTURE OF SPEED IN THE ACADEMY'. University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division 2016
Guerin, Wilfred L., Earle Labor, Lee Morgan, Jeanne C. Reesman, John R. Willinghan. 'A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature'. 5th Indian Ed. OUP. New Delhi. 2007.
Nayar, Pramod K. 'An Introduction to Cultural Studies'. Viva Books. India. 2011.
Virilio, Paul. 'Pure War'. Trans. Mark Polizotti. New York: Semiotest(e), 1997.
Virilio, Paul. Speed and Politics: An Essay on Dromology. New York: Semiotext(e), 1977 [1986]

Thursday 6 February 2020

Novels That Shaped Our World

100 Novels That Shaped Our World (BBC)

Stories have the power to change us. BBC-Arts asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking. There was months of deliberation and reflection by the panel but what would you have chosen? Share the novel that's shaped you on their Facebook page or using #mybooklife on Twitter.

Identity — 

  •  Beloved — Toni Morrison
  •  Days Without End — Sebastian Barry
  •  Fugitive Pieces — Anne Michaels
  •  Half of a Yellow Sun — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  •  Homegoing — Yaa Gyasi
  •  Small Island — Andrea Levy
  •  The Bell Jar — Sylvia Plath
  •  The God of Small Things — Arundhati Roy
  •  Things Fall Apart — Chinua Achebe
  •  White Teeth — Zadie Smith

Love, Sex & Romance — 

  •  Bridget Jones’s Diary — Helen Fielding
  •  Forever — Judy Blume
  •  Giovanni’s Room — James Baldwin
  •  Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen
  •  Riders — Jilly Cooper
  •  Their Eyes Were Watching God — Zora Neale Hurston
  •  The Far Pavilions — M. M. Kaye
  •  The Forty Rules of Love — Elif Shafak
  •  The Passion — Jeanette Winterson
  •  The Slaves of Solitude — Patrick Hamilton

Adventure —

  •  City of Bohane — Kevin Barry
  •  Eye of the Needle — Ken Follett
  •  For Whom the Bell Tolls — Ernest Hemingway
  •  His Dark Materials Trilogy — Phillip Pullman
  •  Ivanhoe — Walter Scott
  •  Mr Standfast — John Buchan
  •  The Big Sleep — Raymond Chandler
  •  The Hunger Games — Suzanne Collins
  •  The Jack Aubrey Novels — Patrick O’Brian
  •  The Lord of the Rings Trilogy — J.R.R. Tolkein

Life, Death & Other Worlds — 

  •  A Game of Thrones — George R. R. Martin
  •  Astonishing the Gods — Ben Okri
  •  Dune — Frank Herbert
  •  Frankenstein — Mary Shelley
  •  Gilead — Marilynne Robinson
  •  The Chronicles of Narnia — C. S. Lewis
  •  The Discworld Series — Terry Pratchett
  •  The Earthsea Trilogy — Ursula K. Le Guin
  •  The Sandman Series — Neil Gaiman
  •  The Road — Cormac McCarthy

Politics, Power & Protest — 

  •  A Thousand Splendid Suns — Khaled Hosseini
  •  Brave New World — Aldous Huxley
  •  Home Fire — Kamila Shamsie
  •  Lord of the Flies — William Golding
  •  Noughts & Crosses — Malorie Blackman
  •  Strumpet City — James Plunkett
  •  The Color Purple — Alice Walker
  •  To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee
  •  V for Vendetta — Alan Moore
  •  Unless — Carol Shields

Class & Society — 

  •  A House for Mr Biswas — V. S. Naipaul
  •  Cannery Row — John Steinbeck
  •  Disgrace — J.M. Coetzee
  •  Our Mutual Friend — Charles Dickens
  •  Poor Cow — Nell Dunn
  •  Saturday Night and Sunday Morning — Alan Sillitoe
  •  The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne — Brian Moore
  •  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie — Muriel Spark
  •  The Remains of the Day — Kazuo Ishiguro
  •  Wide Sargasso Sea — Jean Rhys

Coming of Age — 

  •  Emily of New Moon — L. M. Montgomery
  •  Golden Child — Claire Adam
  •  Oryx and Crake — Margaret Atwood
  •  So Long, See You Tomorrow — William Maxwell
  •  Swami and Friends — R. K. Narayan
  •  The Country Girls — Edna O’Brien
  •  The Harry Potter series — J. K. Rowling
  •  The Outsiders — S. E. Hinton
  •  The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ — Sue Townsend
  •  The Twilight Saga — Stephanie Meyer

Family & Friendship — 

  •  A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth
  •  Ballet Shoes — Noel Streatfeild
  •  Cloudstreet — Tim Winton
  •  Cold Comfort Farm — Stella Gibbons
  •  I Capture the Castle — Dodie Smith
  •  Middlemarch — George Eliot
  •  Tales of the City — Armistead Maupin
  •  The Shipping News — E. Annie Proulx
  •  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall — Anne Bronte
  •  The Witches — Roald Dahl

Conflict & Crime — 

  •  American Tabloid — James Ellroy
  •  American War — Omar El Akkad
  •  Ice Candy Man — Bapsi Sidhwa
  •  Rebecca — Daphne du Maurier
  •  Regeneration — Pat Barker
  •  The Children of Men — P.D. James
  •  The Hound of the Baskervilles — Arthur Conan Doyle
  •  The Reluctant Fundamentalist — Mohsin Hamid
  •  The Talented Mr Ripley — Patricia Highsmith
  •  The Quiet American — Graham Greene

Rule Breakers —

  •  A Confederacy of Dunces — John Kennedy Toole
  •  Bartleby, the Scrivener — Herman Melville
  •  Habibi — Craig Thompson
  •  How to be Both — Ali Smith
  •  Orlando — Virginia Woolf
  •  Nights at the Circus — Angela Carter
  •  Nineteen Eighty-Four — George Orwell
  •  Psmith, Journalist — P. G. Wodehouse
  •  The Moor’s Last Sigh — Salman Rushdie
  •  Zami: A New Spelling of My Name — Audre Lorde
The panel are Radio 4 Front Row presenter and Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell, broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, authors Juno Dawson, Kit de Waal and Alexander McCall Smith, and Bradford Festival Literary Director Syima Aslam