Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chef's tip

When I start a new job I want to work in a place that divides students into classes according to their English level. I'm tired of teaching multiple simultaneous lessons for students at completely different levels. I don't cater to anyone's needs and end up just struggling to keep everyone occupied.

I started a new class at the farm last week. I was hoping that everyone would have similar levels of English. I started the first session by asking students to tell the class their name, country of origin and amount of time they have been in the UK. A student from Chechnya could only manage 'me English *zero sign*'.

By our second lesson, he was able to have the following interaction with a student from Iran. It looks a bit nasty but it was all said in humour:

Iranian: 'You always looking Russian dictionary, you love Russia!'
Chechnyan: 'No, Russia bad'
Iranian: 'No, Russia good! Russia good!'
Chechnyan: 'Russia good!?! Russia Saddam friend!'

I'm also supposed to be working on numeracy with this class. The guy from Chechnya is a construction engineer. The guy from Iran was a farmer who had very little formal education. Yikes.

A student from the Ivory Coast has very advanced English. Yesterday we were working on instructions and I gave a task which involved matching recipe steps with pictures and putting them all in order. He finished this quickly and I asked him to write a set of instructions for making a cup of tea.

This only took two minutes and there was nothing to correct. At the end of the instructions he had put, 'Chef's tip: for extra flavour, add two mint leaves'. 'I watch a lot of cooking shows', he said. 'I got that tip from watching Gordon Ramsey. The mint leaves give it a wow'.

Fluent in the langauge of lifestyle television! What more can I teach him?


Stephen said...

Teach him some corporate speak:

We are expecting to leverage substantial synergies from business process re-engineering by implementing cost efficiencies with limited downside flatness going forward.

pip said...

TV cooking shows can be addictive. I know it is time to go back to work when I've spent the past two afternoons watching the Tomato team take on the Capsicum team in Ready Steady Cook.

Bill Lake said...

Hi Joe,
So you think CA was organised now....
You did a great job doing the English classes in CA so it should not be too hard for you. Are you in contact with any A/S or Ref's from Chungking. I especially liked the Ethiopian contingent as you know.

joe said...

Stephen, I lack the field knowledge completely. If asked, I couldn't even give a brief explanation of what most of my friends do at work. It's getting embarrasing now, especially when people do work talk at dim sum.

Pip, you have that in Cambodia? Is it the British version or a local equivalent?

Bill, once I started working in the UK I realised how Honky I had become. I don't miss the horrible work hours or all the forms. But I do miss the professional attitude that people took to their work. And I miss having a clean, tidy workplace!
The only person I'm still in touch with is Y but we haven't emailed for ages. Next time we do, I will see if he has news on anyone else!