dimanche 7 mai 2017
A TEACHER' S PRIVATE CONFESSIONS
CHAPTER 116 :
How are things ? Are you on a tight schedule or just hanging around in your jammies ?
Well, whatever you are doing, you know what ?
You've really blown my socks off ! No kiding !
You see, last week when I posted " Learning a foreign language is fun ", I couldn't imagine it would spark your interest that much. ' Vocabulary ' is not ranked among the top ten overly exciting blog topics, so I did a double take before publishing that post. Really, it was far from being a shoo-in !
An, lo and behold, within a few days my inbox got crammed with all your funny language learning experiences.
Thank you, dear Nathalie, for accepting to let me share yours with all the Perky Busy Bee Adventurers.
I really enjoyed reading about your first stay at your American penpal's.
I can easily imagine how baffled you were when she asked you if you liked cobblers !
You said that your first impulse was to take a peek at your shoes : they were not misshapen or worn-out, so it was not a gentle hint at such that kind of stuff. So what ?
Cobblers ? Did she mean shoe-repairers ? What a weird question, then !
Anyway, you were in US to practice and get fluent in English,so, even though your evening class teacher in Paris had never tackled the
' shoemaking ' vocabulary, you had a go.
You managed to explain that every trade has its own value, and you even added that you wished there were more cobblers in Paris, cause some shoes were worth resoling.
Phew ! You had gone through it ! You were tuckered out, but quite satisfied with yourself.
Fleeting satisfaction ...
Hardly had you finished praising cobblers when you friend burst out laughing !
Then, she apologized and said that the post was calling the kettle and that if she had been in your shoes, she would not have done better.When she was in France, she had also often got into the same kind of trouble with words with double meanings.
Then, she explained that, when she asked if you liked cobblers, she was just wondering if you fancied a fruit pie topped with biscuit crust,her mum had prepared, and that was called a ' cobbler '.
Jeez ! What a load of cobblers !!
Quite right ! Learning foreign vocabulary is an ongoing challenge, so never feel lousy, and keep going.
For those of you whose mother tongue is not English, I'll be thrilled to bits if my blog helps you to store flurry of new words !
As for grammar, that's another kettle of fish ...
When I started teaching English to French adult learners, I thought grammar was a matter to be taken seriously.
So,I spent the very first years of my job filling in paperboards with countable and uncountable nouns, regular and irregular verbs, simple and continuous verb forms, and all that jazz.
As time went by, I realized that, if one grammar rule a day keeps the mistakes away, unfortunately, too many keeps fluency away, as well.
And, when attending classes my students' main goal was nothing else but to be able to communicate.
So, I mellowed out and tried to be more flexible.
Little by little, I noticed my students were feeling more comfortable and self-confident, and thus less reluctant to speak. Great, then !
But a leopard can't change its spots...
I remember one year spending five days at a strech showering my poor English learners with a heck of a lot of examples which, I supposed wrongly, would help them to go through the tricky uses of past simple and present perfect (a real headache for French people !).
After the weekend, when they came back to our class, one student raised his hand and asked me :
" Will you keep harping on tenses this week again ? I'm sorry but
I'm not interested in the past. Let bygones be bygones. Why not
learn about the future ? ".
For once, I was the one who was tongue-tied ! I was about to answer that when there is a will there is a way, but I had not taught them
' will ' , yet !
That's when I decided to work on made-measure lessons, and I hope my students made the most of it. Time will tell !
That's all for this week, my dear Perky Busy Bee Adventurers.
Thank you for sparing some time to read my blog every week and for sharing it with all the fun lovers you know, and I hope you do know quite a few !
And don't forget : BE PERKY !
Any questions ? As usual , drop a mail in my inbox :