Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Invisible Hump




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I have here an amusing story.

Let me begin by saying that when my female student arrived here, her vocabulary was very limited. She didn't know even simple words such as toe, ceiling, eyelashes and eyebrows.  And like most students, she didn't recognize the difference between F and H, L and R, M and N, J and Z and the like.

To simultaneously develop her vocabulary, speaking and comprehension, we designed a special course for her. In the course, she is always asked to read aloud so that  we, her teachers, can "straighten up her tongue and align her jaws" right there and then. One of our first lessons was a simple reading about camels and how they survive in the desert. In the reading, she learned words and expressions such as "go without water for a long time, desert, all over its body, heat, cold, cool, hot, about 150, describe, thick, thin, eyelashes and hump.

A few weeks ago, she saw me devouring all the leftover food on the counter. Her speaking was not yet that fast but somehow, she said and I quote,  "Teacher, you eat a lot but you are very thin! Where do you put the food? Do you have a hump on your back that I cannot see?"

I laughed heartily because her joke was both  funny and witty, not to mention that it was totally unexpected.  But something  deep within me made me want to hug her. (But of course, I did not.)

It  feels good when  students practice the words, expressions and grammar points that we teach them. It feels even better when these students, like my female student, use those words and expressions correctly and from the heart because they know how the words work together , and not just mechanically.

Here at ACERS School, we produce English speakers, not parrots.

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