Playing charades to remember vocab, the legends of rainbows and learning confidence from a 7 year old: here are today's Café Moments
I had five great lessons today with students from Russia, India, Spain, Turkey and France. The fun of teaching students from all over the world is that every day is varied and interesting and there are all sorts of learning points to be had. Here are some learning points and fun moments from today's lessons.
1. Past tense. It is a very common mistake, even with high level students, to forget to use the past tense when telling stories and making longer sentences. My student, when talking about the past said:
'We want to try living in a different culture so we decide to move to a new country'.
Take care to use the past tense for all verbs when talking about an event or experience that is in the past.
Correction: We wanted to try living in a different culture, so we decided to move to a new country.
2. Teaching children. It is such a privilege to work with children. I teach but I also learn so much from them. In a lesson today, a 7 year old girl, who is learning English as a second language, spontaneously recited her 2 times table, that she had just learned at school, from start to finish. She recited it perfectly, flawlessly, smiling all the way. I was amazed at her confidence. It would be difficult for adults to do this on the spot, to think on your feet like this. We should learn this pure confidence from children, it is beautiful.
3. Vocabulary recall: My student was talking about his parents-in-law, who are...'not unemployed', but he could not think of the word. I knew that he knew the word so I gave him a clue. I wrote Re- in the message box. He thought for a moment and began saying it out loud, 're, re, re'.
I began acting it out: I started to mimic a yawn and rubbed my eyes.
'Re-sleepy... no that's not right' he said.
I stretched my arms up over my head and yawned like a cat.
'Ah - Retired!' He got it.
4. Legends of rainbows
We were talking about the weather, and although the weather in Ireland in winter is tough, we have beautiful skies, especially on cold frosty mornings. And lots of rainbows. In Ireland, the legend goes that if you get to the end of a rainbow you will find a pot of gold. Only it will be guarded by a wily leprechaun, and to get the gold, you must outsmart the leprechaun.
In Turkey, it is said that when you cross a rainbow, you change your gender! Girls become boys, and boys become girls. I hadn't heard this one before, it's an interesting piece of Turkish folklore!
5. Using netflix in lessons
In my fifth lesson today, I used an episode of the British crime drama Marcella. It was a very short clip, just 2.5 minutes long and I had prepared questions in advance about the piece, for my student to answer. Watching tv shows is a great way of improving your listening skills and to learn natural language. We came across two good idioms in this clip:
*To get a foothold in a new market = To get a good position in the market, a place from where you can progress.
*It's a long way down = You will likely fall hard from your high position.
A bit of an ominous and threatening phrase, it was a bit of a tense scene actually!
Thanks for reading and check back for more Café Moments next week :)
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