ESL Diary: Battle with Spanish…

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an ESL diary again. The main aim is to entertain you guys, give you a few giggles, and see if you get up to the same stuff as I do in class. Here’s what I wrote while I was on the way to work today.

The long road to eradicate Spanish in class… Photo by neilalderney

Do they just not get it? That word; English! I’m not sure I can help one particular class of teenage students anymore. They are a great bunch of individuals, but as a group they are hard bloody work. At times I just don’t think they get the whole learning English concept!

So this week’s ‘fun lesson’ was Telling a funny story!

I warmed up with a quick discussion about telling stories. To be fair most hadn’t even realised they tell stories, but they do, all the time. So once we‘d established that some common ground, I told my story.
It’s the one about where I almost got mugged in Ecuador on my first night, but luckily had all my belongings hidden in a travel pouch down my trousers. I was lucky to get away without a severe pasting. They liked the story, told each other what they remembered, then I repeated it and they wrote down verbs in the past and linkers.

So far so good!

Then they had to prepare their own story: yes in English, yes in class, and yes more than 13 words. It was a struggle to help them all and I was flying about like a tennis player using his pen as a racket, but they all wrote a ‘story’, whether it was funny or remarkably interesting I’m not sure.

Then they read it in pairs, in English, and had to write one sentence summarising their partner’s story. All fine.

Then I guess they got bored.

After the 3rd time, a couple just started reading it in Spanish, even though they had it in front of them in English.
I probably took it too personally, but I scraped the activity; telling the class that they had no respect and asked what their parents would say if I told them they were paying 80 odd euros a month to speak in Spanish. I gave them an ultimatum; speak to me after class and apologise, or I call their parents that day and tell them what happened!
Luckily, they owned up. Their excuse for speaking in Spanish was because they couldn’t understand each other, but I wasn’t falling for it. What’s the point in setting up such a task if all they do in speak Spanish?

It really got on my goat, but the next class I turned it round and got the girls to read it out in class, in English, and they did quite well. The battle continues…

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