Saturday, April 28, 2012
Several years ago one such student admired an interesting eraser that another student had. It was like a mechanical pencil, except that it had a long eraser in it instead of lead. The conversation went something like this:
Bijal: Where did you get that?
Roza: At the pharmacy.
Bijal: I will go to the pharmacy and get this type of rubber.
Me: (feeling the need to interject) Eraser, Bijal. In the U.S. it's called an eraser.
Bijal: Yes, yes. We call it a rubber. I will ask in the pharmacy for this type of rubber.
Me: (sighing) Maybe you should come out in the hall with me a second, Bijal.
Now, Bijal normally had great big eyes, but when I explained the most likely outcome of asking for a rubber in a pharmacy, her eyes became the size of dinner plates. As we walked back in the room, she repeated several times, “Eraser. Eraser. Eraser. Eraser?”
“Eraser. Eraser. Eraser...”
Monday, April 9, 2012
No. NO. NO!!
I understand how challenging it must be to come up with catchy titles for textbooks. I also think it’s a very bad idea to confuse students at this level with made-up words that the general population would consider incomprehensible. It does the students no favors.
From a student essay:
“There is a big difference between childhood and adultery.”
One of the questions on the revised form was, “Was your teacher fair?”
Well, that had to be changed after we discovered that some of the students thought that “fair” meant “light in color”.
Next we tried, “Did your teacher treat all the students fairly?”
We’ve now learned that (sigh) we’re going to have to change that as well, as we’re getting too many negative responses, and have finally discovered that the students are looking up “fair” and going with the definition of “not very good”. Just too many possible meanings for one word!
Our next instructor meeting is Thursday. I’m sure if the weather’s fair and we get a fair number of instructors who come to the meeting rather than going to the fair, we’ll have a fair chance of coming up with something that’s ... better.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
I was recently on a search committee for a new faculty member in another department. He was attempting to show his use of teaching technology as he said he frequently engaged in “asynchronous CMC” with the students. Well, I wasn’t about to admit in front of my peers that there was some possibly common term I wasn’t aware of, so I was very comforted when one of the faculty members (who is highly tech-savvy) asked, “What’s asynchronous CMC?”
“It’s asynchronous computer-mediated communication,” he replied.
“You mean e-mail?”
I get a number of phone messages for the instructors, some of which I can respond to with no problem. Then there are others.
“This is Mohamed. Call me back.” (He might not be aware that we have an amazing number of people named Mohamed, and not leaving a number doesn’t narrow down the possible field.)
“This is Ahmed. Tell my teacher I can’t be there today.” (Again, no number, and when I mentioned the call in an instructor meeting, one of the teachers said that she had three Ahmeds in just one of her sections.)