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03

30

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QW 032912 “Farthest from Arrogance”

Today I had a precious opportunity to see Mr. Dae Kyum Kim, a distinguished TOEIC teacher and TOEIC prep book author in Korea. The meeting place was a well-known landmark in Seoul, but it was not easy to get there on foot from the nearest station because we’re tourists visiting Korea for the first time. We managed to be at the meeting place 10 minutes prior to the meeting time, fortunately, and started looking for my other friends who were supposed to join us. In five or six minutes later, I found a guy wearing a brown jacket with a tie and carrying a black briefcase. I soon recognized that was him, Mr. Dae Kyun Kim. I approached the person saying, “Excuse me, you must be Mr. Kim? I’m Aya. Nice to meet you.” Then the person gave a big smile. Yes, that was him.

Soon other friends joined us and six of us got together at the hotel lounge. We talked about our jobs, classes, TOEIC tests, both L/R and S/W, English learners in Korea and Japan. He was exactly what I had expected from our exchanges on Facebook; gentle, kind, generous, and professional. He let me ask so many questions and gave me sincere answer to each. One of the questions that I asked him was about TOEIC test-takers who take the tests for pleasure. There are some people who keep taking the tests simply for the love of the tests while forming a kind of an English learning community here in Japan. His answer was that such demographics are probably 1 to 2 % of the whole TOEIC test-takers in Korea, implying the number is extremely limited or almost zero. Then I asked him whether those who already achieved more than 900 on the TOEIC tests would keep taking the tests or just quit and star doing something else to their English learning. His answer was that most of them would just quit and focus more on productive skills, namely speaking and writing, but some people would keep aiming at higher scores than 900 to apply for a position, such as the security police for the president which requires way more than 900 like 950. He also mentioned that it’s a good thing for English learners to form a group or community to support each other and share joy and hardship among them, saying it’s desirable. Which I’ll never disagree with.

He treated everyone of us a nice bowl of Korean cold needles after having a conversation along with book-signing and a photo session in the hotel lounge. I cannot help being impressed by his hospitality, generosity, and professionalism. He’s the farthest from arrogance; so modest, warm, and kind. I’ve reaffirmed that those accomplished professionals have such personal traits in common. They’re the farthest from arrogance.

(50 minutes / 469 words)

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03

29

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QW 032812 “Always prepared”

Guess where I’m writing this QW piece with my laptop literally on my lap; from the lounge of a hotel in Seoul. This is my first visit to Korea, but it took me just an hour or two to fall in love with this neighboring country. Food is good. People are nice. Anything is affordably priced. I’ll write more on my stay in Korea later, but tonight, I’d like share something funny that happened at the Narita International airport on our departure. It was when we were waiting in line to go through the security check. The guys standing in front of us were westerners who seem to be going back to their country. While chatting, we noticed one of the two guys dropped something like a UBS memory from his pocket. One of my friends picked that up for him and passed it to him, and he thanked us. When they were about to proceed to a metal detector gate, we, again, noticed something different dropped from his pocket. I thought it should be me who would pick up the item and give it back to him this time, but I didn’t. Why? Well, it was something that makes ladies feel awkward to pick up and give to a guy in public (not at all otherwise). Guess what it was: It was TROJAN. I just let them notice the fact by themselves, and they did. It was so funny that I couldn’t resist the temptation to say “I can’t possibly pick that up, sorry.” to the owner of the item. I don’t think we’ll need explanation on why he was carrying around the item. His motto must be “Always prepared.”

(30 minutes / 281 words)

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03

25

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QW 032512 “You’re ambiguous”

My Saturday morning routine was successfully completed. Last time I was 5 minutes late for class, but I’ve learned enough to be able to sit in front of my pc with a headset on and get ready for a Skype session with Eric 5 minutes before the lesson started. My speech during lessons is always recorded and reviewed by the speaker for self-feedback purposes, but the speech of tutors is not. Is there any way to record conversations on Skype? (There might be) If I can review what a tutor said, I can learn a lot form the way he or she talks.

I’m writing this QW piece listening to the recording of the Saturday lesson and trying to remember what Eric said during a lesson. Right now on the recording, I’m telling Eric that I searched his name on Facebook and found several names of his including the fake ones some hackers had created, just as he had said in the previous lesson. He told me he was surprised to know that I did try to find him on Facebook, saying that he couldn’t have interested his student to such an extent that he or she feels like contacting him on Facebook, and finally, a bit awkwardly, asked me if I wanted him to friend me.

I knew that he said so simply out of his "professionalism” as a tutor not to demotivate his student in taking Skype lessons. I wasn’t interested in expanding the circle of my Facebook friend unnecessarily anyway, so I explained to him that I did the search just out of curiosity and he didn’t have to bother to add me on his Facebook friend list, concluding my remark like “So I’ll stop being curious about you.” rather jokingly. Then he, a quite nice guy, replied to me that any of my curiosity toward him would always be welcome. Then I shot back like “You’re ambiguous this morning.” And he said “Oh yes.” with laugh. Nice chat.

(30 minutes / 332 words)

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03

24

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QW 032412 “Etch A Sketch”

While reading several online articles related to the issues on the American presidential election 2012 for the past two days, I kept encountering this word, “Etch A Sketch”. It was when I was watching PBS Newshour Analysis this morning that I finally started researching what that word really means. I should’ve done so when I first knew the word, but I didn’t. One; I tried inferring the meaning from the context (good try, but half-assed job). Two; I just avoided the trouble of looking the word up (same old lazy me). Three: I thought I just can ignore the word guessing the word isn’t commonly used (but it is).

The omnipotent Wikipedia taught me what it was. “Etch A Sketch is a mechanical drawing toy, a thick, flat gray screen in a plastic frame.”

Before running to Wiki, I searched the word in Urban Dictionary and got the following result: A girl you get with when you’re drunk, when you wake up the next day, you shake your head in shame to forget about it; e.g.) "So anything going with you and Stacy?" "No Way. Straight up Etch a Sketch" It’s a funny definition and has an impact vivid enough to learn the word.

Here’s a much more “formal” usage of Etch A Sketch taken from a CNN taken news article. : "If we are going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk in what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate," Santorum said. He was referring to earlier comments from a top Romney adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, who said his campaign will "hit a reset button" to take on Obama in the fall if Romney wins the GOP nomination. He added, "It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again."

From those instances, my understanding for Etch A Etch came to be something like that it is used as a metaphor for something that needs to, or can be, erased or reset very easily to deal with the situation. Then my spin would be, “No matter how I try, I can possibly get the guy out of my mind. It’s nothing like Etch A Sketch. I wish it were, seriously.” … Did I use the word correctly? Does the sentence have a cognitive impact for you to learn the word?

(50 minutes / 405 words)

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03

23

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QW 032312 “You’ll be just like me in 20 years?”

Today marks the finale of the 5-day Spring Intensive Course for TOEFL ITP that I teach. Eleven students signed up for the course. They studied for four and the half hours, equivalent of three regular classes, for five days. The other two intensive courses were for TOEIC with about 20 students registered, so our class was sort of small. At the beginning of Day One, I had them do a speaking activity “Getting to know you” with an attempt to foster intimacy and friendship among students; it seemed to work quite well in fact. The subsequent activities were often times implemented in group settings, pretty much like Task Based Language Teaching (TBLT). Why I opted for the TBLT style is that studying for English proficiency tests such as TOEFL and TOEIC is truly a lonely business. Learning languages, or anything, is inherently a lonely business, but I wanted to make my class something that they can connect themselves to, making them feel less lonely. Also, I wanted to instill the attitude to learn both cooperatively as a group and independently as an individual among students. There was always a mixture of individual work and group/pair work in my class. Grouping was done by drawing cards to make sure that they could work with everyone in class. Towards the end of the course, the students became good at sharing thoughts and ideas for better learning as well as independent and responsible for their own learning, at least to my eyes.

We were like members of a club activity at last. Which I had always wished my class to be. As a traditional ceremony of the classes for English proficiency tests that I teach, I gave them “KitKat” with my hand written message on. We shook hands and exchanged encouragement and gratitude. One of the students told me that my personality was similar to that of hers, and she wanted to be a woman like me. I soon understood what she was talking, and replied, “I’d take your words as compliment. So you’ll be just like me in 20 years. Is that really okay?” Then all the girls there rolled their eyes, saying that they thought I was much younger. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not boasting or anything . I’m just being proud of myself, having my student say she wanted to be just like me. I’m aware that she might have been trying to make me feel better in order to show appreciation of my instruction. That all said, taking such sweet words from my dear student with whatever intention makes me feel rewarded and simply happy.

(50 minutes / 440 words)

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Aya

Author:Aya
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。