Friday, January 30, 2015

2. More, Better, Faster: for Corrective Feedback

At my TESL Toronto Technology for Teachers MiniConference workshop, the second of the three websites I am presenting is

Problem: There are extensive differences in vocabulary and grammar between academic and conversational registers. In technical writing, each field has its own set of specialized terms to use. Therefore, focusing feedback on word choice often requires specialized knowledge.

Solution: is a text analyzer that checks if a text is predominantly academic or conversational in its diction. It then counts and categorizes field-related vocabulary, identifies the field with the most matches, and provides links to resources and a glossary. 

How: Here is a step-by-step exercise to familiarize yourself with the range of features on

Step 1: First, visit FieldRelated and explore the navigation menu. (1) Analyze a text on the index page. (2) Learn about the differences between academic and conversational vocabulary, translate CEGEP program names, and see a list of the fields of study that the system can detect. (3) To suggest a new field of study, add a field-related website or online video to an existing field, or  suggest field-related vocabulary to add to the system's field-detection database. (4) Send me an email. (5) Learn about the website. (6) Visit the blog or read the terms and conditions. 

Step 2: Once you are comfortable finding your way around the website, it is time to put it through its paces. Begin by copying the texts below one at a time and checking them for conversational and academic vocabulary. Before you have analyze it, scan it for conversational words and academic words. Test yourself. See if your intuition about word choice is the same as FieldRelated's.

Here is an authentic conversational text found in one of's conversational corpora:
Oh God, it's her bloody Honda! Nice sound.! These are the new disabled stickers. Oh. They used to be like that. What is it for? No, you go in the box. Yes. Yeah. Passport holders. Ah? Passport holders. Mm. there's one in the G P O. So where are you gonna put this now? there's room in the front of the car. So, if you'd like to come down and have conversation? Sue's gone to er Llangywneth Nathan, by his brain scan. I don't know, they think that he's got er dead brain cell or something, yeah? Why? Then here, going she's now going to. It's the back, the connection, from here to the brain. Oh. No, there's just something that isn't connected to the brain properly. Is it from here? That's there's something wrong. Why doesn't try out here.? They've done it!. there's some connection. And they're going to find out what it is that the doctor said. Do you think they will?. Er How will I get one next? To, get it then! But I can't afford to get it at the same time anyway cos he he won't be down to Go get it. But when I was. But er How much did you pay for that black one? My black waistcoat? Mm. How do you learn to make a waistcoat out of it?.. Like heavy black. I like that coat,. Cos I'm fed up of stuff going all bubbly! The stuff that the waistcoat , keep a waistcoat for work. If anything, it's. Good God his trousers! Mm? He does know. I put I know!

Here is an authentic academic text found in one of's academic corpora:
Further, multivariate analysis of the POE data provides the first scientific investigation of courtrooms as work settings. Finally, eight key performance indicators of courtrooms were developed based on the POE data. Throughout history culture and place have been dynamic concepts. Major factors contribute to both their evolution and deterioration as recognizable characteristics of a society. Since humans began manipulating and adding to the environment, some of the notable influences on place and culture have been the inventions of language, the printing press, electricity, the automobile, and many others. With the recent innovations associated with electronic media, namely television and the Internet, place and culture have once again been dramatically altered. there is never a seamless transition when societies adopt new ways of communicating and interacting, rather, there are periods that require the re-balancing of morals and values. Lacking in the public realm and urban fabric of U.S. cities are places to partake in the discourse and deliberation associated with shifts in communication and interaction rituals due to the ubiquity of electronic media.
Step 3: Next check the following reading texts for field-relatedness.

Step 4: Finally, check these two beginner-level student narratives for field-relatedness. Before you check them on, estimate the number of field-related terms in each text. Does your intuition match the system's analysis?
Student Text #1
My name is Mary and I'm the paralegal of the Montreal Law Firm. I have been working here for two years and I love my job. At the beginning, I was studying in Youth and Adult Correctional Intervention, but I finally decided to study in Paralegal Technology. Every day, I arrive at work at 9 a.m. and I go to my desk. My desk is in a big and beautiful office and he is just in front of Judy's desk. During the day, I have to do a lot of research and I have to inform the customers. I love the part of my job where I have to do research in my office because I'm alone and it's relaxing.
One day, I had a dream. I was at the mall and I was very rich so I bought a lot of clothes. Then, I received a call from Taylor Swift and she asked me to sing with her. I was so excited because I love Taylor Swift! During the show, I wasn't nervous, but when I started to sing, I suddenly forgot all the lyrics and then, I woke up.
When I woke up, I realized that I was late for work. I got dress quickly and I ate a little breakfast, but I arrived late at work for the first time in my life. While I was saying hello to Alex the bailiff, she made me notice that I was wearing my pants pajamas. I was so desperate so she gave me a coffee, but then, I spilled my coffee on me! Later, Anna the secretary said to me: "Did you know the rumor? There is going to be a lay-off and I hope it is you!"
Then, my boss called me for a performance review interview. He asked me a few questions and, at the end of the interview, he asked me who he should fire and why. I answered: " If I were you, I would lay-off Anna because she doesn't like Taylor Swift."
Finally, the boss laid off Alex. Anna was so happy that she kissed the boss! Everyone was very surprised. A few minutes after, Judy the judge fell on the ground and then she punched me in the face. I asked her why she did this and she apologized. She was thinking that it was my fault, but it wasn't. Then, the ambulance arrived and I went to the hospital.

Student Text #2

Hello, my name is Natalie. I am 28 years old. I studied business administration at the University a Paris Dauphine. I work in the company Cosme Inc. in Paris. I have been working here for three years.
Every day, I arrive at work in the morning and I drink a cup of coffee, I check the orders and when the phone rings, I answer it while I fill out forms for the distribution of our products. Often, I have to work with my colleague Yesenia to check the amount of merchandise that we have. I work with numbers and I am responsible for the distribution of different products to various countries.
Last week, I had a dream. I dreamed that I was in a party with my friends but when I could try to talk, no sound came from my mouth. My friends could try to talk to me but I wasn't listening. I was scared and I didn't know what could happening. Suddenly, the scene changes. I began to fall in a black hole so I prayed. Later, I saw wings in my back and I started to fly. Then I woke up. I think that my dream means that I want more power in the company.
The next day, I had a bad day. I woke up late. I took my shower very fast. When I made my breakfast, the bread burned and the fire alarm sounded. While I was waiting for the bus, it started to rain. If I had known, I was brought an umbrella. In addition, the bus was delayed and didn't stop where I was waiting, so I had to wait for the next bus. I arrived late at work.
My boss did a performance review interview because the company have some financial problems and he said me that someone of us should be fire. I was very nervous. I answered all the questions, later my boss asked me for advice and I said: "If I were you, I would lay-off Richard because he is always wasting time on Facebook."
Finally, the boss call us for a meeting. He said who was fired and the person was Alice the accountant. After, the office became a chaos. Alice screamed, “I hate you!” Then, Alice punched Lucy and Richard kissed Yesenia. Later, the police arrived and all the people was arrested.
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