Friday, March 13, 2009

Grading can be Fun

By Ruth
I don’t like giving homework very much because then I have to grade it. I still give homework sometimes because it’s marginally useful and then I feel like a good teacher. Sometimes I am rewarded by the funny things they write.

Last week I asked them to keep a sort of learning journal, recording different activities they did to practice English. Several students had this idea of practicing pronunciation by putting a pen in their mouths. I’m not sure where this idea came from. One of my students wrote about her progression through this idea, and by the end I was laughing too hard to read it. It’s been a long, rather discouraging week, so I was really glad for the comic relief. I hope you find it as funny.

Date: March 8th
Activity: I put a pen in my mouth and tried my best to read my lessons clearly and loudly. But it sounds like some animals’ roaring. I think it is terrible. Using this way to improve my pronunciation seemed very uncivilized. But my friends told me it is really useful and his perfect pronunciation was benefit from it. I put the pen in my mouth again. If it is useless for me, just playing.
How helpful was it? I felt I could speak English more fluently and easily when I took the pen out of my mouth.
Next time I would…I plan to go on to do this action and take a pen which is thinner than this one.

Date: March 9th
Activity: I put the thin pen into my mouth and tried to speak loudly. But I couldn’t keep it in my mouth again. I must grip with my teeth to keep the pen. It became more difficult for me to pronounce well.
How helpful was it? I think I should [change] the proper pen to practice. But this time I imagined an excellent idea. I can put some glass balls to practice. This time I felt pain in my mouth.
Next time I would…I imagined I can put a candy in my mouth. I think it will taste very delicious and the effection will not too bad.

Date: March 10th
Activity: This time I put a candy in my mouth. It really tastes very nice but when I read I always want to absorb the candy. Finally, I couldn’t help eating it. Then I put another in. But, unfortunately, the same result occurred.
How helpful was it? From this action I found when we feel comfortable both mental and physical we will work well. The candy helped me to resume the level of my pronunciation and get a little higher.


Hannah said...

This is hilarious! I especially loved the part where she couldn't help but "absorb" the candy. Priceless!

Candy said...

That was hilarious! I can just picture her trying all of those things.
And now we know that we will work better if we eat candy. Somehow I always felt like that was true, but I had never done an experiment to prove it.
I'm glad you had some comic relief in your week!

Katie Bodell said...

This is so funny!! Thanks for sharing Ruth :)

Molly J. said...

how in the world did they come up with an idea like that? maybe her friends were playing a trick on her to see if she'd actually do it?

Ruvin said...

I think it was a legit idea. They come up with some interesting ones. There is also a very popular English program called "Crazy English" that says speaking English as loud as possible will make you improve. I'm not a fan.

Ginger said...

One possible source...last year we showed the freshmen "My Fair Lady." At one point the professor has Eliza putting marbles in her mouth to improve her pronunciation. Maybe the students extrapolated from this? Dunno. Funny still.

I hope she didn't drop that pen on the ground! :-P