Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The Bare Necessities
For the first time in years - in fact ever since I left Korea - I'm teaching English to almost absolute beginners, the kind of students who struggle with words like pen or pin, as opposed to ones who can't decide whether the verb accused collocates with the preposition of or for. This afternoon we spent twenty minutes on simple alphabet sounds, built up three letter words using little plastic tiles, filled in missing vowels and practised asking What's your name? and Where do you come from? The trick, I'm beginning to remember, is to cover the same ground in lots and lots of slightly different ways, and to remain conscious of the fact that people learning a language can sometimes, though not always, have more patience than those of us who teach it.