|Julian, You wrote:
"Last night I was remembering your account of Lesson 1 and
thinking your drilling of the hours and the time sounded a bit dry
(unless it's made into a game), but for Sergei, it might have been the
high point--the least 'different'--so far."
This will sound like a defence - which it is :-) . I reasoned that since S knew no English at all,
and since this was our very first meeting numbers, time, days, months (up to April!) were
easily understandable (and communiciatively useful) and would allow us to confirm the next
meeting in English. It also threw up our first pronunciation points in need of attention.
You also wrote:
"Maybe you can teach Sergei in the conventional way with a textbook,
Dennis. And balance that with some time actually using what you
learn--which is another way of saying recycling it--to give him the
best chance of learning it."
I've been thinking as hard as I can about this one. In the end, of course, Sergei has to
decide. He who pays the piper...... I need to be more informed about what he wants his
English for, but I know it is not for examination purposes - he wants to be able to understand
and take part in discussions about his subject that take place, apparently, quite frequently in
English. He himself has said the technical vocabulary "is not the point. I can learn that later.
It's the rest I need to understand." I'd be sad on his behalf if we went for a method, textbook-
based, that, I believe, would be almost certain, by definition, to leave him with less real skill
in English than one based on his specific needs, with the emphasis on oral and aural skills.
// This discussion, of which the current exchange between Julian and myself is just a
hiccough, is a moument to my loquaciousness. I've taught ONE lesson and engaged in a
few thousand words discussing it, mostly before it was taught! //