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-glais (Thursday, 2010 November 4)

November 7th, 2010

Today’s post is titled after the third and probably least significant part of the word Camfranglais, which was coined to describe the mélange of languages that one speaks here. ("Il va die", "he is going to die".) It happens to be the part I know best, which is why Parfait and Bonheur have been coming with a certain frequency to study English. My approach to teaching English at this level has been a little more fruitful than my approach to teaching computer science — I can correct pronounciation in English, which I don’t do in informatique. Mostly I think they just want to make sure they’re understanding correctly — English classes are taught only in English, so it’s easy for them to get lost, misunderstand a word, etc.

I also happened to use my langue maternelle today to chew out a couple of students. Losing your temper and blowing up in another language has a number of compelling advantages as composed with other techniques. One is that your students are not just culturally discouraged from responding, but completely and totally incapable of it. Another is that you can tell them exactly how you feel, not having to settle for what you know how to express. Anyhow, I felt a lot better afterwards. Highly recommended for any volunteers reading this.

The students in question were some of my 3m4 class who wouldn’t stop joueing, and after I had told them once (in French) to shut it off, that he knew the rules, I felt no qualms about shouting at him to get out of my class, especially the little annoying one who is always making noise. After they moved to go, and then hung out a while, I shouted "Do you think I’m stupid? Get out of my class! Get out! Get out! Get out!" And then when the little annoying one didn’t move fast enough, I took a few menacing steps towards him. It’s illegal to hit students, but the implied threat worked wonders. He still kept trying to sneak back in, though.

There’s an old story among my group back home about a teacher who flipped out at a class once and ranted something that started with "Fuck! Fuck! You putrid bastards!" Let’s say I understand him a lot better now. (Even if the story goes that he was actually a substance addict.)

But other than that classes have been fine, I’m feeling way more on top of things this week than I have in a while. Sure wish I had Internet, though..

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