Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Student and Teacher

Once more in the position of student at the junior high school in Hadžići, I can now teach my own young students in a more sensitive manner. I know the value of slow and exagerative conversation and the communicative clues of hand and body language. I think most importantly that I realize that the teacher and learned material must be presented as a friend and ally and not as a military outpost to be taken. For, as you are learning a foreign language, you are weak and humble and laughter is the best tutor.
In our first class on Friday and again last night, I made it clear through dramatic explanation that learning a new language, with it's new sounds and persona, will cause the most unnatural contortions of the lips, tongue, cheeks and eyes and we all must have fun and laugh at each other, together. And so, I begin teaching English to a small group of neighborhood kids in Blažuj three times a week. For me this is a way to give back to these new friends and say thanks to all the folks around me who have been so patient and guiding in my own language study.

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