Due to Katakana pronunciation, when Japanese ESL students are learning English, they often revert to saying “cook”(コック) as “cock”. The atmosphere of the classroom can quickly go sour when explaining the differences between the two words.
It goes without saying that this kind of mistake is very serious, and must be avoided. Additionally, explaining the error in detail is also something that should be avoided. However, students rarely see the problem with this mispronunciation, as they learn that “cock” means “rooster”, which is a common misconception. A safer, more gentle way to alert the student of their error must be employed.
To break the student of this dangerous habit, you first must ascertain whether they are familiar with the difference between the two. To do so, purchase a chef’s hat, and create a miniature chef’s hat. The miniature hat can be made of construction paper, but it is a good idea to sew one so that you will be able to use it in future classes. Place the chef’s hat on your head, and the miniature on your finger. For younger students, you can draw a smiley face on your finger. Have the student address you as “Mr. Cook”, and whenever the pronunciation is correct, respond to the student with “Yes, my name is Mr. Cook”. Any incorrect pronunciation will be greeted by your finger with the small chef’s hat, who you should slowly raise from below the edge of the table. In whatever voice you feel suitable, have your finger, which represents “Mr. Cock” greet the student.
For a roleplay activity, have the student want to get in contact with Mr. Cook. If Mr. Cook is unavailable, then the student will ask for Mr. Cock. You will play the role of a secretary whose hearing isn’t very good. During the roleplay, intentionally mix up the names and have the student very clearly enunciate whether they would like “cook” of “cock”. Upon successful completion of the activity, the student will no longer say anything embarrassing.
Participial Adjectives confuse even the best English speakers, so it’s understandable that they are nearly incomprehensible for Japanese learners of English. As a teacher, I still have difficulty understanding the difference between the usage of “bored” and “boring”. A handy trick to remember is that adjectives ending with -ed often represent a feeling.
Additionally, when teaching the -ing forms it is best to avoid the verb meanings, as they confuse the student. A school that I once worked at had a teacher attempt to teach “boring” by using an auger on a piece of wood, which resulted in the student – a carpenter by trade – to associated “boring” with “exciting”.
When teaching the participal adjectives, teach them in pairs. The teacher performs an action that is represented by -ing, and the student explains their emotion in terms of the matching -ed form. For example, the teacher crawls under the desk while they have the student pretend to watch television. Maneuver your head between their legs and the table, and look up at them. The student should exclaim “I am surprised! This situation is surprising!”. Switch and repeat the exercise. For exciting/excited, have the student hold a balloon and dance while you clap. Avoid teaching pleasuring/pleasured.
Let the student know that not all adjectives follow this pattern. There are pairs such as scary/scared, comfortable/comforted, and delightful/delighted that should be learned separately.
Teaching children is no simple task, and is even more complicated when teaching them in a foreign language. Not only do children have different needs than their adult counterparts, but also cry much more frequently than adults. As much as being chosen last or being laughed at by the teacher is enough to reduce the child to tears. Rather than placing the child in the Crybaby Corner and using them as an example of bad behavior, the teacher should realize the different needs and embrace them.
Children should be rewarded for good behavior with stickers, almonds, cashews, and gum. Children who have bad behavior should receive more stickers than the well behaved students to encourage them to be better.
At ages under 6, having winners and losers can be detrimental to the child’s self-esteem. Losers will clam-up and not want to participate, so it is a good idea to always have the teacher be the loser. That way, later in life they have reason to associate foreigners with failure. For children between the ages of 7 and 12, splitting up teams based on gender works well, as the natural hatred of the opposite sex burns brightly at this age. If there are uneven numbers of male and female students in the classroom, move the most effeminate boys to the girls team or butchy girls to the boys team accordingly.
After 13, hormones kick in and the students will not participate well in front of the opposite sex. Alternate having one sex sit in the hallway during the lesson to maximize teaching ability. If any student is too embarrassed to speak, find an embarrassing flaw about them and remind them that their English ability isn’t as bad as the flaw. They will realize that it isn’t what is in their mind that matters, but what can be visibly observed by others.
After 18 the children are no longer children, but in Japan the age of consent is 14. Plan accordingly.
Coughing is a reaction wherein the diaphragm convulses violently in response to bracial irritation. If you didn’t have brachii, you would not cough. Removing your brachii is beyond the scope of this blog, therefore you would need to find the cause of the coughing and do your best to remove it from the environment.
These irritants are often in the form of toxic, microscopic white board pen remains that accumulate in your lungs. Although your body does a good job of removing these toxins, it still can take up to 5 years for them to work their way out.
Other irritants manifest in the form of sunlight poisoning – especially affected teachers in high-rises with large windows, smoker’s musk, arsenic gas released from newly installed carpets, and high static environments. Most respectable ESL schools will have de-tox kits located next to their earthquake kits.
If a coughing fit occurs, and shows no signs of subsiding, do not stop the class. While still coughing, let the student know that you are coughing, but you wish for them to continue learning. Write your directions on a piece of paper, and use this time to have the student read ahead in their book, or listen to a recorded activity.
Students are often more prepared than teachers when it comes to coughing fits. A good number of students wear face masks to prevent these kinds of awkward situations, and for good reason; coughing fits are very distracting.
In Japanese, the words 13 and 30 are identical, and the meaning must be gained through context. The same holds true for the pairs 14 and 40, 15/50, 16/60, 17/70, 18/80, and 19/90. This is one of the reasons Japanese are so good at math.
When speaking English, they often confuse the pairs, as they cannot properly be represented and thus become mixed up.
To practice differentiating these numbers, bring one hundred pennies into the classroom, and a noisemaker. The noisemaker can be in the form of a bell, a bike horn, a musical instrument, or anything able to produce noise. Have the student begin counting the pennies. When the student reaches one of the difficult word pairs, create a noise and say the number. Have the student repeat the number. Repeat the activity several times until the student is able to count to 100 unassisted.
Next, practice speaking by writing the word pairs on a whiteboard or sheet of paper. Point to them and have the student recite the word. This can easily be turned into a game for groups, where each correct answer gets one point, and each incorrect answer gets 0 points. All teams play to 100.