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English lessons

I held my first English session on Friday. It seemed to go fairly well, although I won't really know until I see their papers.

I told everybody write a 1-page introduction to a (possibly fictional) academic paper. On Friday, we all gave our papers to somebody else to peer edit. Next Friday, they'll do the same thing (after fixing mistakes), or hand it in to me.

I tried to scare them by emphasizing that it's a waste of my time to fix spelling mistakes or grammatical mistakes -- almost all of them have enough English skills that they can fix those things. Instead, I should be working on issues of organization and style -- pointing out how to make things sound more natural. I warned them that if I found obvious spelling or grammatical mistakes, I wouldn't spend any time on the more interesting issues, and they would have wasted their chance to get useful feedback from me.

I added a page to the group's wiki: English sessions. If you have any suggestions for other things to do, I'm all for it. My current plan is to do the same thing every Friday.

Oh, and I also wrote a 1-page paper introduction. Mine was about a fictional "tongue-based music browsing" project. It started as a total spoof, but now I actually think it might be a worthwhile paper to do. I'm certain it could be published in ISMIR... unless somebody else has already done it. I didn't bother looking for any related work. :)

Oh yeah, one final note: so that the person proofreading my work wouldn't get too bored, I deliberately added a number of mistakes to my paper. I aimed for common mistakes that I've noticed in their own writing. Test your own proofreading skills! See how many errors you can find in Tip o' the Tongue!