Friday, July 15, 2005

Something I didn't know

I collected a lot of homework today, and will be busy for the next few days checking it. I had set this homework hoping for some interesting results, and it seems to have worked. What I asked for was some research into customs from other countries. "Tell me something I don't know," I told them, and asked them to follow the format in the textbook, which had explained different greeting customs in several different countries. I told them they could choose any customs they wanted, as long as they were different from the way things are done in Japan.

A glance through the homework tells me that I've certainly been been told some things I didn't know.

Students don't seem to learn how to cite here, at least at the undergraduate level, and teaching them how takes time. They find the concept baffling. But I wish now I'd taken the trouble, even though I am supposed to be teaching spoken rather than written language to these particular classes. I'm really curious to know where they find this stuff.

Here is my favourite so far:

When a baby (male) borned, people (clergyman) cut his "penis" half length in the mosque. This is why protect the baby from the demon! Israel people still believe in their tradition.

How does one respond intelligently to this, I wonder? (Would diagrams help, do you think?) And if they're all like this, or if even half are like this, how will I find the TIME to respond intelligently? I have about 200 of these things to go through, and six days to do it in.

I'm not sure that I'll use this homework idea again. Quite aside from the disturbing results it's far too much work for me.

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Jennifer said...

The responses may be...imaginative. But what an incredible assignment you came up with for this class! I hope you get some answers that blow you away, in a positive sense.

doris said...

What a can of worms you have opened! :-)

Robert said...

Disturbing for You? Imagine that poor baby ;-)

Cheryl said...

Oh dear!
Will you overlook the 'Jew in a Mosque' mistake? Will you explain what really happens? Or simply leave it as a Japanese urban legend that Jewish gentlemen are, erm, stubby?

Emailed you a comedy postcard that just happens to describe the procedure in 4 pictures, in case it helps - maybe you could mark the use of English language and pop the picture in as a by-the-way?