Friday, February 03, 2012

How to Deal with a Noisy Person

In our class, we are learning how to write paragraphs in the basic forms of English rhetoric.  One such for is "process," where they write a paragraph giving directions on how to do something or other, and I gave them a list of prompts.  I have learned in the past that some of my prompts, first developed over six years ago, are dated and need tweaking, like asking the students to "balance a checkbook."  Do young adults do this anymore?

One of the prompts is writing a paragraph on "dealing with a nosy person" and underneath I'd clarified by adding "someone who wants to know too much."  I have a student who arrived here from Taiwan two years ago and as you might suspect, is overwhelmed by our language.  And idioms.  So he translated this to How to Deal with a Noisy Person, which given our day and age of blasting stereos and excess noise is probably a good thing to write about.

Some of his advice is filtered through the vagaries of strange verbs and phrasing: ". . . it is three ways to deal with a noisy person instead of leave them alone.  First of all, to be patience for a person who began to make noisy, also hold on our temperament which could easily be effect by the person." Actually, this is great advice.

Some of the paragraph is filtered by his heavy use of a dictionary, such as "It is important when we try to calm down an over activity person has a dispassionately mood, or it is simple to lead to other worse consequence."  He suggests treating them politely, with respect which "will allow the person know we are not his or her opponent, but trying to express the person that it have better method to vent emotion."  He follows this by suggesting that we "leave he or she alone quietly and stay in good temperament in rest of day."

He wraps up the paragraph by saying "nobody in the world wants to deal with a noisy person; however, it could happen every moment in our life.  Consequently, we have to have positive attitude to deal with the person and hope the person could change his personality in his or her certain time of life."

I love this student, in a teachery sort of way.  In one simple paragraph, I learned about respectful ways to deal with a noisy person.  I remember traveling in Shanghai and hearing the phrase "hot and noisy" which a guide was using to describe their soup, but I thought it also described that Chinese city I was visiting, with its motorscooters, old cars, people everywhere with loud conversation in that sometimes sharp-edged sound of Asian language.  I also remember the "wall" of politeness that allowed people to live in tightly packed surroundings.  Maybe "nosy" people aren't a problem in the society he came from, whereas "noisy" certainly could have an impact if your neighbor next door is playing their music too loud.  How to live with noise?

And with the advent of our social networks, with Facebook, emails, blogs and the internet, have we lost the concept of a "nosy" person?  Listening in on phone lines and reading letters worked in days gone past; now we freely share all our news right out there in public.

As you can see, he's earnest, sincere and unfailingly polite.  This is his second time through this class, and I can see it's his language that is the barrier.  But I give him kudos for trying to get through not only the foreignness of being far away from his family (he lives with an relative) in a strange place with strange customs, but also the hidden traps of idioms in our language.


Judy said...

I try to imagine writing in Chinese, and it makes me want to reward how much this student has learned with a passing grade. Then I think of having him in my 101 class, and I change my mind.

Great insights about nosiness and noisiness. I think that kids these days view nosiness as only applying to parents.

Donna said...

Doesn't it make you want the other students to write about dealing with a noisy person now, just to compare the answers? Maybe just have them jot down three ways they think they'd handle it. I wonder if we have any other students out there that would be so accommodating?

Julie Fukuda said...

My poor students learn English to pass a test. To them, English is the end to a grade. I tell them that in my class, the goal is communication, that English is nothing but a tool, you get better by using it. I love kids like that who jump in boldly and give it their best shot.
Many years ago I had a student with beautiful perfect English. He was obsessed with studying English but when it came to conversation, there was nothing he could talk about other than the study of English. (He became an English teacher...poor students)