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Classroom stuff

It's amazing what can come up in a class of non-English speakers...

So this page is going to be a list of all the strange terms and phrases we teach our students or that come up in class. We will probably update this page fairly often because every day is something new.

Here goes:

  • "Go for a drink" vs. "Going out drinking", May 29th, Andrew - I had a older gentlemen who could barely speak English, he was definitely a level 5b. In the dialog, one of the questions was "where do you want to go for a drink?". He asked, can I ask, "Where do you want to go drinking?". I managed to explain that I think go for a drink is, 1, 2, 3 or more drinks, whereas, going out drinking is A LOT of drinks. He got on to it and had a great laugh about it.

  • "Action Figures", May 17, Andrew - I had an explorer level class and they were talking about things they collected. When guy who is in his 30's started telling his partner about how he collected dolls that were based on a TV show. So I stopped him at that point and said you should call those "Action Figures" and then described the difference between dolls and action figures.

  • "Toupee", May 15, Andrew - This is actually the reason we decided to make this list. I was in a class and one of the students asked the other guy if he would rather go grey or go bald? The guy who asked is a doctor and started talking about pills you can get and that you can go to a company and get something made. I'm not sure what he said originally but we eventually figured out that he meant wig. Then I asked if it was for men or women and explained generally women get wigs and men get toupees (I don't know if this is accurate or not, but it sure sounded good to me during class). So I explained what toupees are, but did I stop there? No, I didn't stop there. I also explained that we usually call them rugs and why we call them that. I also explained that when you are talking about rugs and toupees the sentence is usually, "did you see the horrible rug that guy had on?" They got a kick out of this one. But I did not make the George Constanza reference, I'm not sure if Seinfeld translates well into the Japanese Culture or not.

  • "Godzilla", May 14, Andrew - I didn't teach this term. In some of my FTL's I play headbanz to get people warmed up. I usually model it using Michael Jackson. That way I can ask, the typical, "Am I Japanese?", "Am I a singer?" but then I can ask, "Am I black?" This usually gets a laugh or a "you were" or "not any more". I then get the students to write their own people down (there is always an Ichiro, but now there are more Matsuis and there is usually a Kenichio Koizumi the Japanese Prime Minister). In this class one of the students wrote down "Godzilla", but they didn't write "Godzilla". Yes, they wrote Godzira.

  • "Hourly Rates" and "Look the other way", May 14, Andrew - During one of my lessons I had two Explorer level students who ended up talking about love hotels and prostitution. So they asked me if there were a lot of love hotels and prostitutes in Canada. So I explained there are, but they're not called love hotels, and you can usually tell them because they have signs up that say, "Hourly Rates Available". I also had to explain that prostitution is illegal in Canada, but most of the time people just "Look the other way". This class also continued down hill when the girl asked the guy what kinds of movies he likes. At first I thought he said Poland movies, but then after a little more work it turned out he said porno movies. So at this point I finished the lesson. I wasn't going to have that discussion.

  • "Crucifiction", "Lord", "Eskimo roll", May 11, Andrew - I was subbing an advanced level class one night and ended up teaching these two terms. The first one we were looking at idioms and one contained the word, "load". I asked if anyone knew what it was and someone said, "I've seen that before. That's something Christianity has." I was confused at first then I realized she meant, "Lord". So I had to explain "Lord" as well as "load."
    "Crucifiction" came up because two people were talking about The Passion and one girl said 'the execution of Christ'. Because we are here to pass on our cultural knowledge as well I decided to correct her. So I waited until everyone was done and proceeded to explain the difference. By the end I had drawn a diagram on the board, modeled it using my body, explained who Jesus Christ was and explained that the Romans did this regularily as punishment. And, I did this all within two minutes. I don't know if they really understood it or not.
    "Eskimo roll" was actually a term a student brought up. We were talking about skills that we've learned and he was telling his partner about how he learned to kayak. During his training he learned how to do an Eskimo roll - basically get back into a Kayak after you flip over (sorry Gary, I don't think this is a really accurate description). Again because of the whole cultural aspect of our job I went on to explain Eskimo is actually a very offensive term (unless you are talking about KC III). So I explained who they are, where they live, what Eskimo means, where that term came from and that they prefer the term Inuit. And I did this in about two minutes.

  • "Chick Flick", Andrew - this one of the first things I taught someone. I was teaching a guy a web lesson one Saturday night and asked what he was going to do the next day. He said he was going to watch a movie with his girlfriend. So I said the next logical thing, "I hope it's not a chick flick."

Posted by agc_cwm 06:59 Archived in Japan

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