Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Teaching English...

Foto from Flickr

…is a serious matter! I’m not only a language learner, of course, I’m also a language teacher. I said ‘of course’ because when you start to study at University, people start to have a different consideration of your knowledge. You become somehow an “authority” and when they need help in your field, they come and ask.

But studying English at Uni you understand that rules work a bit differently from what your teachers used to tell you at liceo. And here starts your dissidio interiore. You want your students to be part of this truth that has been revealed to you. You want to tell them the whole story. For instance, you don’t want to tell them that ‘some’ is used in affirmative sentence, while any in negative and interrogative, but you can’t provide them an alternative rule… You don’t want to show them schemes for MODALITY where it is said that can translate the Italian ‘potere’ and HAVE TO is used when it is not possible to conjugate must and so on.

But if you try to do something like this your students will start to look suspiciously at you. No more rules in English? And what about all the things that have been said so far?! What about books written that way?! Those books that provide you few simple rules to use and understand English?! And you, as a teacher, give up and provide them those schemes and rules that make them feel safe (because that’s what their asking you).

Sometimes, you give them a different example, nevertheless, an exception that could convey to what you know is the4 whole story! Who knows, it could even create some… doubts…

3 comments:

KC said...

I can relate to this post- I used to teach, not English, but art history- and I remember wanting to undo all the neat and orderly schemes my students had learned about history. I wanted to teach them the truth! But they just wanted (and needed) neat little schemes.

Hang in there, with experience you'll learn more delicate ways of doing it, and they won't notice as much.

qualcosa di bello said...

do you know how many times, as a student, i just want to hear a rule i can memorize & there just is not a neat little way to have it packaged!?! i think i just need to live in italia for a year to be properly immersed ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking one of my pictures for your blog. I am glad you have liked! Sorry but my English is not very good!