Monday, July 05, 2010

Practicing Refusal

Today I had to do interviews for a couple of students applying to go on a school trip to Canada. I was asked to measure how quickly they could respond to questions and think on their feet. My students have a lot of trouble with that, where instead of answering immediately they first put the entire sentence together in their head while I'm waiting for signs of life.

They didn't give me any other guidelines, so I was on my own. I decided to do this:
[a few minutes into the interview]
Me: What's your favorite animal?
Girl: I like dogs.
Boy: I like cats.
Me: Ah, I see. They are very cute. Today we will be eating cats and dogs. Eating. [I mime it.]
Them: Huh?!
Me: Is that OK? [OK signal with my hand]
Girl: Uh...ok.
Boy: Ok.
Me: Really??

Then I explained that in the West it's not rude to say no.

I asked them about seasons, their school life, etc. Then...

Me: Today we will eat a monkey. Is that ok?
Boy: A monkey? A monkey??! .....No.
Girl: No.
Me: Oh, very good!

Then the Japanese teacher came in to watch, which made me super nervous. I still didn't really have a plan, I was just making small talk with them, mostly. Then I decided to end the interview.

Me: Ok, so while you are in Canada with your host families, they will take you to North Korea. Ok?
Girl: No.
Boy: Maybe...

I was so proud of them.

1 comment:

Vanessa Rogers said...

The other day one of the Russian teachers came and watched my class. I was fumbling all over the place. I don't like being observed.