Happy 09-09-09! At 09.09pm on 09.09.09 I was eating dinner with two friends and we actually noticed the clock in time. Salud! We were celebrating the completion of another day of lesson planning and teaching. I was celebrating with a copa de vino blanco… except they brought it warm, with ice. That’s a first for me. But we are all excited to be wrapping this class up since we have very little to do tomorrow except teach our last lesson and then just party on Friday.
I have to mention how awesome my “high intermediate” class was last night. These students are pretty close to fluency, so you can talk at a normal pace with natural language and we dispense with the endless repetition that’s so key to lower-level learning. They mostly need help with confusing phrases, idiomatic expressions, connotations, etc. The lesson was prostitution so I started my class by doing a “word web” eliciting words they’d expect to hear in a discussion:
Which may be true, but I was more looking for “red light district.” I think the only phrase that was totally new was “curb crawler,” which I think is a pretty archaic expression for someone who prowls along looking for “street walkers.”
But then we also talked about how prostitution is a “complex” issue, also known as “tricky,” “muddy,” complicated,” “thorny,” or “gray” issues. As opposed to “straightforward” (this was a new word, surprisingly), “simple,” “black-and-white.” We then went over a sheet asking, “Should we legalize brothels?” with a pro/con perspective. I pulled out trouble words/expressions like “consensual,” “condone,” “plain fact,” “devil’s advocate,” and “abysmal” (which I had a lot of fun explaining). For a word nerd, getting to talk about connotations and natural usage was really interesting. Both the pro/con view approached the issue differently, so we discussed various angles on an issue: political, scientific, moral, practical, experiential, etc. With almost all the other classes we try to only teach such a limited number of words — tomorrow I’m introducing just four new vocab — so it was very refreshing to work with a very wide lexical set.
Oh, for what’s worth: 8/9 students — including all the old women — were fully in favor of legalizing brothels & prostitution. The last lady was a bit on the fence and just wanted to remind us to “keep the moral argument in mind too.”