the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Monday, November 29, 2010

I can't really get mad at you, I'm the same kind of student

About four weeks ago, I got a new tutoring student. She's very
self-motivated and definitely seeks perfection. The first two weeks she
brought me pages of notes, asking me what is correct and incorrect.
She's also a hard worker, she works full-time and goes to school
part-time so that some of the only free time she has is when our lesson
is scheduled.

Last week we talked about details about how she wants to study
pronunciation and writing. So this week I came prepared with
pronunciation and writing activities. These activities will take some
time. They go step by step through both pronunciation practice and the
writing process.

But she quickly vetoed both! She claimed the first pronunciation
exercise was too easy (of course I'm not going to start her off on
something overly difficult). She said "everyone knows that!" But from
my other students, I know they don't. How can I be sure unless we try?
She then self-selected a more difficult pronunciation exercise for herself.

With writing, the same thing. We were going through a reading,
identifying topic sentences and details when she stopped the activity
and told me "everyone knows that!" and that she wanted to write now
(which was actually the next step). She had been raising her voice the
whole time, so I raised my voice as well and explained to her that I do
not know her exact ability and wanted to be sure she was prepared for
the task.

I think she thought I was actually mad at her because she immediately
apologized. And I've never raised my voice with her before, although
she tends to raise her voice at me at least once a lesson.

But I can hardly be angry at her. She's the same kind of student I am.
If I'm spending time learning something, I want to be SURE it is
actually effective and worth studying! Conversely, I'm very glad that
she's tells me her opinion so often, and I told her so. I just wish
she'd be a little more patient sometimes.

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