jimandclaire.com

Tuesday 14 March, 2006

whatever works

Filed under: Uncategorized — claire @ 2:45 pm

Yesterday evening as I was preparing to leave the home of one of the children I teach English to, I met with his father. I rarely see the parents as the children are always in the care of a nanny when I am about, both parents work. In fact I have never meet the mother and the father only once when he first interviewed me. As it was a rare occurrence we took the opportunity to talk, he is a very friendly man as well as generous, he seems very disappointed I haven’t billed him for every learning tool, including pens and paper, I use in the lessons. The conversation was fairly normal, we discussed his children’s progress, I also teach his daughter on a different day, and some general chit chat. What was strange about the conversation was initially he spoke in English and I spoke in French, as I assume like me he was wanting to improve his foreign language and as well be polite. But then after awhile he went back to French and eventually I went back to English. When we both spoke in our native tongue the conversation was much more free flowing and in depth, as when you learn a new language your comprehension improves much faster than your verbal skills. For me speaking French past a basic level requires some running of sentences in my head first and a bit of stop starting, it is not effortless. So there we were both happily chatting in our native tongues but completely understanding each other. An unusual means of communication but effective and fun! I will add a caveat, if the person is a very rapid speaker and not fully engaged with me then I’m struggling somewhat again!

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