Friday, 30 April 2010

What is his name?

I had my first full Beginner Adult Lesson for this year. Most of the students are quite good, one women is way better than she thinks and one women seems mostly useless. Wait, before I call her that or something worse, I have to admit that her English is not the greatest and the stress of having to come in to this class the first time can be really hard on someone.

We were doing a very basic exercise where you would point to a picture with a name and relationship written under it, and ask two questions: “What is his/her name?” and “Who is he/she?” These are pretty basic questions if I have to say so myself. So basic, in fact, that I can actually ask them in Korean.

One student, and I am really trying to credit this to the stress, was just not able to get that when someone asks “What is his name?” the answer should be “His name is…” Not everyone will always get what to do at first, but at one point I was not even sure she was able to read any English. (I refuse teach people that low in English. I cannot be expected to teach at that level when I can’t explain even basic concepts in Korean).

If you think that was frustrating, get this. I decide to mark in her book which part of the dialogue is A and which part is B. I pointed to myself and said “A”, pointed to her and said “B”, pointed to the picture and asked “What is his name?” Remember, the name is written under the picture and I actually pointed it out, again. All I got was a gargle and an eventual “What is his name?”

Again, I pointed out that the “question person” is A, me, and the “answer person” is B, her. Same result. This was when I decided to change tactics. I point to the picture again, say “OK, 여기, 이곳.” (OK, here, this.) and ask the question in Korea: “이름이 뭐예요?” (What name?). Amazingly, the looks at me and says “What is his name?” WOW!?

With what I am sure is a flabbergasted look on my face, I give the general “What/I don’t know” gesture and repeat while pointing “이름이 뭐예요?”. Even after other has explained it to her, in Korean, and actually GIVING HER THE COMPLETE ANSWER, I still don’t know what they name of the character in the picture was.

Forgive me, but I have special education students in my classes that are easier to get an answer out of. I will see what happens next week, when she has had time to relax and figure out what is going on his this class. Hopefully I can also figure out how to get through to her.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lot of adult beginners are like this. I had a whole class full of them once. They're either (A) too stupid to learn English (keep in mind they've probably been taking it for YEARS in school, so if they haven't learned by now...) or (B) too lazy (they expect you to beam the knowledge directly into their brains without any effort on their part).

Anyways, it's why I hate teaching beginner adults.