Tuesday, February 6, 2007

What would you like to eat?

Yesterday we learned about the importance of context in teaching languages. First, we had a lesson entirely in Swahili without any English. This was to introduce the idea that a language can be taught even if the students don't know any of the language. Later on Khaled contrasted it with a traditionally structured course so we could experience the difference between two kinds of teaching English.

Later on, he showed us a variety of cards with pictures of professions on them: dressmaker, news anchor, postman, mechanic, etc. Then he showed us a picture of a teacher, and modeled the following dialogue:
تحب ياكل اي؟

أصب أكل مدرس

We knew that مدرس meant teacher. He then had us repeat the dialogue, repeating lines after him and getting us to ask each other the same line of dialogue. Afterwards, he asked us what we thought the line meant. We all said something along the lines of "What is your profession?" "I am a teacher." He finally told us what the lines actually meant:

What would you like to eat?

I would like to eat a teacher.

A pretty good lesson in how students will use context and communication cues to try to figure out meaning. In this case, we got it completely wrong, but only because he was fooling us on purpose.

I had Kushari again for lunch yesterday.

PS: The cafe was open again for business last night.

Tomorrow I will brave the slow choppy seas of my internet connection and upload some photos of my fellow classmates and the place where I'm staying.

Arabic to follow (trying to type Arabic on a nonfunctional Windows keyboard is not fun).

1 comment:

Aunt A said...

hi jordan,

this is my first experience blogging and i love that it is with my nephew in alexandria egypt.

i look forward to sharing your experiences vicariously. it sounds like you have done a lot already!

love ya