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Eventful workday! (edited to fix a few mistakes and add link)

January 23, 2013

(the common phrase is: “an uneventful trip/day”, which means, nothing happened, nothing worth mention/mentioning.)

eventfulWhat an intense day of work! In the first half, I had made the decision I would use Critical Thinking on Writing Assignments with the adorable Intermedio 2  students. (Btw, I have to say that no one in the other group handed in their monthly writing. It’s OK, but try to practice your writing a bit more! I’m just asking for a composition a month, because I know you are all short of time!) Only two Writings had complied with the requirements. At the beginning of the course, I explained the had to do a Task Description — type of text, no. of words being the minimum description I needed to be able to check their work (read Writing Guidelines). If I don’t know what type of text you’re writing, what on, in what register (formal, semiformal, informal), and in what number of words, HOW can I check if its correct?!! People keep insisting in believing that language learning is about learning grammar, but language learning is about MUCH more! Even if you don’t know it, you are learning MUCH more! Right? (For example, to learn about Textual Format and Structure – read Hiya, potential boss! I’m not even giving you these explanations because your textbook is so GOOD. But when I don’t use a textbook, I put together my own notes, as in HERE.) Four units after only 2 people in the group complied with the requirements — after 3 or 4 compositions, with my corrections asking for the missing “Description of the task.” Well, of course everyone was upset because people are very busy and they never walk in teachers’ shoes. I believe people don’t appreciate teachers much. In Madrid, there’s the urban legend of them being “very cheeky” (!) because they “work less” or “have more holidays” than other people. (It’s a urban legend. Today, but also in the past. Perhaps that is why so many teachers fall in love with other teachers!! love-bubbles-vectorThey understand the value of their work very well, and also the hardship they endure. Plus the love for their work, for helping people learn, which means, helping people be better human beings!) So today was the classical lesson we teachers know about, whereby there seem to be two contendants, as if in an arm-wrestling. Sometimes, when you teach adults, you simply stop trying to help them learn, because learning to listen is hard, and for adults too, and it’s kind of embarrassing to insist in correcting a mistake they keep making. If non-adult students have a hard time listening to their teachers, adult students have a hard time, too, due to different reasons. Adults feel they know better. Plus something else: overall, adults are overwhelmed by fear and complexes, so they insist in doing things they way they do them “naturally” or “they know.”

In the end, all was well! After our arm-wrestling, we found some peace. Now we’re all back home, meditating, trying to learn from this experience. In my own experience, this kind of fights end up helping people understanding in more depth what language learning is about and strengthens the relationship teacher-learners. 😀 Then we love each other so much, and then, the heartbreak: our lives drift apart FOREVER! (Scary, huh?) So let’s live it up!! 😀 (Love bubbles – pompitas de amor)

pokergamesFor you to mull this over: How would you feel if you were explaining things and people ignored them?
Shouldn’t teachers be listened to (esp. when explaining methodology, procedures), be paid attention to? — and then when you’ve actually learned what they wanted you to learn, you’re free to choose if that is useful or not? Perhaps they did not get the job because they won it at a poker game!! (Oh, how I love poker!) Perhaps they had to work very hard to get the job. It’s good to listen and be critical. But not listening is not good. Perhaps language learning can teach us all something which is a treasure in Real Life: to listen to others and to ourselves. So this is what teachers do when students behave as if they totally ignore what the teacher had said: “OK, they might’ve not understood. I’ll try again,” and again, and again… no positive response? So then what? Should we quit? Or should we persist in our endeavo(u)r? The fact that teachers earn a living with this work doesn’t make up for this, for not paying attention to what they say. Actually, what sometimes happens is that teachers are made (forced) to quit trying. (Then people complain freely about having had bad teachers. I know nobody wants to feel he or she does that, so I’m just thinking of my own behavio(u)r as a student and later as a learner.)

Language learning is about learning to listen, and learning to listen is about pursuing a better life, for oneself and for others, too.

So — first half of the workday, intense! and second half…

With the Avanzado 2 Tuesday group (where people “forgot” to hand in their work, too! And I forgot to correct Oscar’s unit 2 writing, just because he had sent it in by email! My apologies!!!), we had a couple of laughs! There were some very funny moments today (AND embarrassing!!) 😀 And I tell you, people, if the L&R (listen and repeat) exercises in Básico and Intermedio are perfectly executed 😀 (here is some positive feedback for Intermedio!), in Avanzado it’s like people want to show each is a unique individual, hahahah, and there’s no fucking way of getting them to fucking repeat at the same fucking beat!! 😀 (I’m imitating Pulp Fiction peeps.) In Intermedio when people repeat is like listening to music, in Avanzado it’s like listening to that kind of futuristic opera singing, you know? hahahaha…. Ayayayay! Message to Avanzado 2 earthlings: Dear unique individuals, let yourselves go with the group’s beat. It’s not incompatible!!! Take example from kindergarden beasts!! 😀

Some good comic strips for you all to have a laugh!: Flippin’ Comics

Hugs to all!

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