the repatriation of onebluegreen


teaching English as a second language

I know someone who contracted the sw1ne f1u. It is a co-worker (and co-worker's spouse). He picked it up while he was in Ba1t1m0re for training. He was about a week into training several people developed symptoms, were tested, and then quarantined. He is better and no longer contagious but because he missed several days of training they have sent him home. He will have to return Ba1t1m0re for the next (three weeks) of training and start from scratch. I asked him how it felt to be part of a famous statistic. He rolled his eyes. I know he bored and he just want to start working but I keep thinking about how many hotel points he is racking up...

I am teaching conversational English with an Austrian teenager who is visiting a friend this summer. She has taken years of English but this is the first time she has been in an English speaking country. I know her host family is constantly asking her questions, trying to get her to speak (she is shy), so I wanted to help her in a way that was fun. In a way that didn't seem like work.

Twilight. That was my solution. I gave her a paperback copy of the book and the unabridged audio for her to listen to on her ip0d. Yes, I know the writing isn't great but it is a captivating story originally aimed at teenagers that is written in vernacular.

My friend said she saw her use the Germany/English dictionary to look up words she didn't recognize. She finished the book/audio in two weeks. Her sister, the doctor, laughed that she read about vampires but was excited she'd read a whole book in English. As soon as she finished the book she asked my friend if they could get New M00n, the second book.

Tonight I worked with the Austrian teenager for about two hours reviewing nouns, possessive nouns, capitalization rules, and plural nouns. They bought New M00n Monday evening and she has read forty or fifty pages. I asked that this week when she is reading to notice the plural and possessive nouns. After I put the audio on her ip0d I asked if she would start over with the audio or try to find her place in the audio feed. She said she wasn't sure but I think she doesn't want to start the book again.

Yes, I feel a wee bit guilty for using Twi1ight as a teaching tool. Guilty because of the female stereotypes it perpetuates. Guilty because of the simplicity of the writing. But I also think it was a brilliant idea because I am pretty sure she will read all four novels in the series and it is easier to get someone who is reading to read better literature than to talk someone who isn't reading into reading. At least that is how it worked with me.

9:16 p.m. - 2009-07-29


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