366 unusual things: days 339 – 343

4th Dec – My 40-year-old Chinese student doesn’t know where Israel is, and has never heard of it.

5th Dec – My 12-year-old Cambodian student prefers to write left-handed but in Cambodia it wasn’t allowed.

6th Dec – I tutor a primary school student who asked me if tutor is spelt like shooter.  She formed her hand into a gun and shot.  I assured her they are spelt quite differently.

7th Dec – Sitting in the new café at the National Archives, I listened to public servants placing orders:  double-shot small latte, normal small latte, soy flat white, weak cappuccino, double-shot cappuccino.  No one actually ordered coffee.  Not even me.  I had tea.

8th Dec – On a hot road, I saw reflections of passing cars in mirages.

6 Replies to “366 unusual things: days 339 – 343”

  1. Yes, it is strange. I’ve never really understood why she doesn’t have any geographical knowledge. After two years learning English with me, she only now is realising she should also learn something about other countries. At least their names and locations.

  2. My 23-year-old Chinese student had no idea who John F Kennedy was, or Martin Luther King Junior, or Mahatma Ghandi (who held her interest). Winston Churchill, she had heard of. . She was fascinated by an article on Elizabeth Taylor’s many jewels, but had never heard of Richard Burton, or “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf”, let alone Virginia Woolf. I introduced her to Audrey Hepburn via Youtube (“the rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain” – this diphthong remains unconquered after over a year of tuition), and she voluntarily read several articles about her. This is someone who will be a fully qualified doctor in Chinese medicine next year, who has had a privileged life. Her mother is a Buddhist, but I seem to know more about Buddhism than my student (although confessed Christian myself). Apparently, her generation equate religion with superstition, and she received a fact-based education which concentrated on the material world. I could go on, but then my comment will be longer than your post!

  3. Your comment is very interesting, Allison. I’ve seen this same limited knowledge in other intelligent Asians in other tutoring experiences, but assumed they were just struggling to find the words when I asked them about, say, England or France or Africa (my current student still confuses Africa and America when shown a world map). They would look blank. I now know they knew nothing about the topic. It has taken me a couple of years to accept that this is true.

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