Re: (teach) Mert's commandment
- You can use realia at a low level to introduce vocabulary but it's
also useful at a higher level to bring the world into the classroom.
Our current unit in North Star is quack medicine. I brought in two
little bottles of TCM that a kind friend had given me, assuring me
that it would cure my cancer. These pills from mushroom extracts are
said to cure cancer, liver disease, asthma and most things. I passed
them round and the students looked at the mushroom pictures on the
label with approval. Then I pointed out the quite prominent wording on
the label which they had missed - "No approved therapeutic effect".
They were expensive, too, about $500 each and I was too embarrassed
top tell my friend she'd been fooled.
This bit of realia showed how people are fooled by quack cures in a
way that the article in the book didn't, and promoted a lot of discussion.
Another example is the exercise I learned long ago at a conference in
Malaysia, designed to show trainee teachers that they can write
poetry. You bring in fruit and give each group a fruit. The group
have their eyes shut except for one who records as much as they can of
what the group says. Each member holds the fruit and talks about its
shape, feel and smell and then about the memories and feelings it
brings them. After this they look at what they have said and the
recorder has written and mark interesting words and ideas. From this
they find a theme and write a group poem on a large sheet of paper
which is displayed and read by their peers.
You can see how essential the realia is here. This wouldn't work if
you told a group to think about an orange.
It's pretty obvious when you think about it. Language almost certainly
developed in response to our environment and to remove a large part of
that environment and then teach language in a grey classroom limits
>I've done limericks with 3rd year education students studying to be
> I'm also thinking of getting them to tackle a limerick. Think that's
> possible?. Good juniors, can write 5-600 words easily, accurately.
> Dave Nevin
English teachers. It works but it is difficult. You really have to
beat out the rhythm and mark it on sample limericks because the
learners do not see how important stress time is and how it works.