Thursday, November 08, 2007

Seven facts meme

I've been tagged by runningburro do do the "7 Facts About Me" meme. The rules:

1. List the link to your tagger and also post these following rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird, etc.
3. Tag 7 people at the the end of your blog also leaving the links to their blogs
4. Let them know they are "TAGGED" by leaving a comment on their blog

Here's my list. Do you see any motifs running through it?
  1. My students often refer to me as "Mr. Bean." (Not to my face, though.) Considering some of the nicknames I've heard students give teachers, I'm inclined to take this as a compliment.
  2. If you type "Mr. Benda" into Google, it'll ask, "Did you mean: "Mr. Bean"?"
  3. One of my favorite lunches: a bean sandwich. Take two slices of bread, spread a lot of butter on them, then spoon some pork and beans onto one of the slices. If you're adventurous, you can add a slice of cheese. Eat it with together with some pickles and wash it down with a Dr Pepper. Ah! Heaven!
  4. When I was at my "I want to be a farmer when I grow up" stage, I rented a garden plot from the County Agricultural Extension Office. One of my best crops was string beans.
  5. Despite my success with growing (and eating) beans, I've never cared for three-bean salad. (I've heard my mom makes great three-bean salad, though.)
  6. When I first came to Taiwan in 1990, I walked into a bakery one day and saw what looked to me like a delicious chocolate-filled pastry. To my surprise and dismay, when I bit into it, the "chocolate" turned out to be red bean paste. (I'm colorblind.) Since that time, I've never had the courage to eat anything with red beans in it.
  7. One of my favorite Taiwanese foods: stinky tofu.
Most of the people I would tag don't have blogs, so if you read this, consider yourself tagged. Reply in the comments section!


Tunghai is beginning a new system of evaluations of its faculty. (I believe it's an MOE requirement.) Every three years, we have to turn in a documented report of what we've been doing the last three years in teaching, research, service, and counseling/advising. Mine's due tomorrow.

I need a title for this thing? Ideas?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

CFP: National Conference on College English

National Conference on College English
March 29, 2008
Foreign Language Center, National Chengchi University

“Perspectives on College English:
Transformation, Reformation, and Innovation”

We are pleased to announce that the 2nd National Conference on College English with the theme of “Perspectives on College English: Transformation, Reformation, and Innovation” will be held on March 29, 2008. The conference is an annual gathering of English specialists organized by the Foreign Language Center of National Chengchi University. It provides a professional venue for teachers and scholars to discuss various issues regarding English education in colleges.

Though both the required and the elective English courses for undergraduates serve massive students from different disciplines, college English has long been marginalized as a “sub-subject” in universities in Taiwan. Recently, college English has been gaining ground due to new demands from globalization and international competition and cooperation on higher education in Taiwan. Proliferating studies have broadened the spectrum of college English research beyond discussions of freshman English or English skill instruction in Taiwan. This year’s conference will focus on how teachers help students transform their English learning attitudes to become autonomous learners and student researchers, how teachers challenge their teaching philosophy to meet pressing demands in an age of globalization, how teachers adopt/adapt/design new curricula/pedagogies/materials for innovation, how students are empowered to critically participate in public debates and intellectual communications, what the impacts of English admission/graduation requirements are, and how school systems are being changed or reformed to support teachers’ teaching and research as well as students’ learning.

The 2008 conference features well-respected speakers who will address various aspects and issues in terms of transformation, reformation and innovation in college English. This conference invites proposals on topics that include but are not limited to the following:

- The dynamics of English in higher education
- Institutional policies and politics on college English
- English requirements for college admission/graduation and their impacts on teaching and learning
- Teachers’ or students’ transformation in teaching or learning
- Theory and practice in college English
- Learner autonomy
- Evaluation and assessment
- Curricular, material, or pedagogical innovations and developments

The Conference Organizing Committee is now circulating a call for abstract proposals for individual paper presentations. Abstracts are welcome in any areas that fit the conference theme. Please submit your abstract proposal of 250-500 words and a brief bio in either English or Chinese as a Word/PDF attachment file to by February 1, 2008. Final manuscripts submitted for blind review of the conference proceedings are due by April 1, 2008.

Important dates:
  • Conference Date: March 29, 2008
  • Abstract Date: February 1, 2008
  • Abstract Acceptance: February 19, 2008
  • Full manuscript Due: April 1, 2008
Conference organizer: Foreign Language Center, National Chengchi University
Venue: Conference Rooms, Administration Building, National Chengchi University
Postal Address:
Foreign Language Center, National Chengchi University
64, Sec 2, Zhi-nan Rd., Wenshan District
Taipei 11605, Taiwan
E-mail Address:

Contact Person:
Chang, Ya-jing
(02)2939-3091 ext. 62396

ICRT's oral histories

Has anyone been listening to the "oral histories" that Rick Monday has been featuring this week on ICRT? Evidently he's been interviewing American expats who have lived in Taiwan for a long time. I only caught one--today--as I was driving to work this morning. (I know, it's embarrassing to admit that I listen to ICRT, but it was either that or Rum, Sodomy & the Lash for about the 5,000th time.)

Today, Rick was interviewing Doris Brougham (of Studio Classroom fame) and a gentleman whose name I didn't catch. They were having a grand old time praising the virtues of the Generalissimo and Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Now I respect the fact that they have been in Taiwan a lot longer than I have, but some of their comments didn't reflect very well on them, in my view.

Particularly odd was a comment that I believe Dr. Brougham made when they were discussing the dismantling of Chiang statues. Her statement was to the effect that people in the South (by which she meant the southern U.S.) didn't take down statues of Lincoln just because the South lost the Civil War. Besides the very strange equation of Chiang and Lincoln, her comment made me wonder how many Lincoln statues there are in the South that could have been torn down. According to this article, the first statue of Lincoln in one of the former Confederate states was unveiled in 2003. So it's not like carpet-baggers put up dozens of statues of Lincoln after the Civil War that are available for tearing down.

I think a more comparable controversy concerning tradition (they used the word "traditional" to defend the Chiang statues), public memory, and remembering vs. honoring would be the statues of Lenin in Russia. Would Dr. Brougham defend keeping Lenin's statues up because it's "tradition"?

That said, I wish I could have heard more of the oral histories they have been conducting. Wonder if ICRT will release a CD or have them available on their website?