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?
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.
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.