Wednesday, March 7, 2012

She's nice but...

Today was exam day which is one of my favourite days of all! Two hours of review in the morning which means I get to sit at my desk and catch up on emails and do a little reading while panicked students attempt to cram mountains of vocabulary into somewhat underdeveloped brains.
Exam day also brings a great deal of mirth in terms of student mistakes in their 'creative' answers. For example a student was asked to complete the sentence I live they wrote I live water we also got I don't like to father in the car  as well as Jeddah butter good Riyadh. However, these students do create magic sometimes and one of them wrote something that really made me think, this Socratic fellow came up with this when completing the sentence She's nice but:
She's nice but, she isn't
This young man whose experience with the opposite sex is quite limited by the culture in which he lives still managed to get at the essence of the fairer sex She's nice but she isn't.
I think most of us would have answered the question differently and approached the whole task with a different frame of mind perhaps She's nice but she smells funny, She's nice but a bit overweight, perhaps a comparison She's nice but her friend is nicer, She's nice but I like her sister more. An almost infinite list of possibilities emerges and therein lies the problem with teaching a language. All the best laid plans of us teachers to force students to say what we want them to say are thrown off by the immensity of options open to speakers of the language. How were we teachers and exam crafters to know that this young man would have, in his short time on this planet, been hoodwinked by a cunning vixen who convinced this unsuspecting lad that she was nice when she wasn't.
She's nice but she isn't
A difficult lesson to be learned by one so young I hope the check mark I placed on his exam is some small consolation for the hurt that woman in fact is not nice inflicted upon him.

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