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Friday, April 3, 2009

Common sense from an 8-year-old

It takes a child to make you realize how common sense some things really are.

We had one team of Japanese students this week in addition to our usual 25-odd Korean teams. By week's end, only two Japanese students were left, an adorable and impish set of brothers (8 and 11).

So this morning when I taught Economy, it was just me and the two boys. Easy class. They both have fairly high English levels for their ages and are incredibly funny and well-behaved. Made me question why I chose to teach in Korea over Japan.

One of the questions I always ask is, "If you had $100, what would you buy?" It's a way to break the ice and get kids talking about income and expense. The list of what students usually want to buy is varied, everything from hamburgers and ice cream to airplanes and an army.

After throwing out a few suggestions, the brothers started drawing pictures on the board of things they didn't know the English names for.

First thing? A tank.

Second? A catapult.

I heard the older boy say "shooting," and asked if he wanted a gun.

Immediately, he responded, "No! No gun! Guns are bad!" Turns out, he was saying "shield."

The younger brother then drew a fairly realistic picture of a gun and placed a huge X through it. "No gun! Bad, very bad!"

If two young Japanese boys can understand this, why are the majority of Americans still confused?

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Jeopardy class

Question: What is the largest mammal in the world?

Student answer: American.