“No tengo lapiz.” Linguistic acquisition and the ESL teacher

언필이없서요 (yonpil-ee obsoyo). A recent addition to my catalogue of chunks of Korean, of which I now know a range, none of which are related to each other enough to form sentences let alone serve any useful, communicative purpose. Meaning, “I don’t have a pencil,” this, like the Spanish phrase for the same dilemma in this post’s title, is the extent of my on-the-job language learning.

The situation is reciprocal. I learn phrases like, “I haven’t got a pencil,” “I’ve finished”, and bathroom,” in the language of the country I’m living in. The under-10s I encounter in those countries in turn learn the words, “TEEEEEacherrrrrr” (with bored / outraged / despairing inflection depending on the situation) “No homework pleeeeeeeaaazzzzz,” and, astonishingly, all the words to the latest Disney / One Direction song (depending on grade level). Neither I nor they seem to get much beyond this point. More

Pants performance by prattling prannies – the pestilential ‘P’ prevails

The problems pertaining to plagiarism persist in my place of employment in the most pernicious manner. It really is beyond the pale. Plagued by precocious pubescent Peruvians, my pedantry proceeds to proliferate as my patience proportionately depreciates.

Is it possible to promote perspicacity as the pathway to sagacity? Or in each precious plenary must we penalise relentlessly – probe pupils’ principles; plumb the depths of their duplicity?

Perchance praise and plaudits for pristine practice may give pause to the deplorable pretenders who pilfer, plunder and purloin the precious, prized phrenic prowess of their peers.

O! What penalty can provide practical prevention against such academic perversion? I postulate that the pervasiveness of this perturbing predicament cannot be pacified by punishment nor pushed aside: we must emphatically petition for a prevalence of probity!

postscript: this ‘profe’ is proper pee’d off.

Aside

The Wire: a guide to modern teaching

I made it to the end of term one. This meant no sleeping, not enough eating, and a lot of marking and grading for the final couple of weeks. And, in the same way that I encourage the students to reflect on the gains in their work and find the areas they need to improve in, I am trying to work out the same things in my teaching.

Of course (although they haven’t worked it out) when I ask them to reflect, I’ve already written out for them in no uncertain terms what they are doing well and what they need to improve.

Who does that for me?

Ex-officer Pryzbylewski of the Baltimore Major Crimes unit, that’s who. More

with the ‘P’ that stands for Plagiarised

An open letter to Grade X – you little buggers know who you are.

This is your English teacher. Yes, the gringa one, with the glasses and the bad hair. The new one. The British one who dresses badly. Yep, got it? That one.

It’s been a difficult year for us, and I feel it’s time to talk about our relationship. I don’t want to break any more plates or glassware so I’m going to make an effort to make this a civilised conversation. Please grunt to acknowledge that you’ve understood. Good, thanks.

I was pleased to see you’d done your homework. Well done. There’s a first time for everything, and I’d like to encourage your blossoming steps in the right direction. Let me get that out there right away. This is cause for hope and celebration.

I was also very impressed with some of the varied and interesting vocabulary you used to complete this work. I was particularly glad to see that some of the vocabulary items you usually copy down, look up and then assiduously forget had resurfaced. Well done.

But let us come to the ‘however’ part of this conversation. More

The power of play

Remember that story about Einstein forgetting how to tie his shoelaces so he could remember to work out how the universe works? Remember when you left school at 16 and could do quadratic equations, remember the Periodic Table and quote Dickens? It’s amazing how knowledge that seems to take forever going in falls out remarkably quickly.

It’s only been a little over 18 months since I finished my CELTA and started teaching, and other than a spell of a couple of months between countries, I’ve been working constantly since. And yet… today I recalled Basic Lesson No. 1 from that glorious training ground, the Kamala tiki hut classroom in Ecuador paradise.

Make learning fun.

So simple, so effective, so elusive, so easily forgotten. More

Shake, rattle and roll

Like firemen, or the boyscouts, or any other hardy, resourceful groups you care to compare, Perú is ensuring its citizens are always prepared. With this in mind the national civil defence institution (Indeci) organised a nationwide earthquake and tsunami drill on 31st May. More

“My grandma did it”

The last 3 months, while very busy, stressful and infuriating, have provided a wealth of eye-opening experiences. It’s been back to school in a big way.

Having had little to do with the school system in the last 18 years, other than swanning in now and again on a TIE contract (Theatre In Education – think Legs Akimbo from League of Gentlemen) to make disenfranchised schoolchildren engage their minds through the medium of drama, I knew I was woefully unprepared for the role the moment I accepted.

Term 1 saw me planning lessons the night before class, or sometimes the hour before class, as I was recruited at the very last minute and was still working in my other jobs until the day before the first day of term. It also saw me throw several hissy fits about Things Staff Members Should Probably Be Told More Than Two Days In Advance. Like when reports are due. More

Feathered friends

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 152 other followers