Sunday, October 27, 2013

Small Talk

I recently did a lesson on small talk with an English conversation class of three adults. They understood the lesson and practiced with me and each other.  It was great – they totally got the concept and were able to put it into practice.

I modified the lesson to make it a little more structured, and used it with my university class.  When I introduced the topic and asked if anyone knew what small talk was, some thought it was using little words when talking, others thought it was talking quietly.  They had never heard the phrase “small talk” before.  We discussed what it is and when to use it and how it is different from introductions, which we have practiced in the past.  I divided the class into small groups and gave each group a card with a situation and some topics as examples, such as several students get to class a few minutes early, or they see someone they know at the grocery store or a sporting event. I didn’t hear anyone get beyond the topics on the cards during that class period. This week, I had them pair off and I gave them situations verbally without examples, and I was very pleased with what I heard. Not only did they come up with topics, some even used appropriate questions for the individual person they were talking with. I love my university class and the private English students I have (all adults).

My other English teaching job is at a children’s English school. I started working there in April and signed a contract for the school year, through March 2014.  This week I was asked to commit to another year (April 2014 – March 2015).  While I expected this situation to come up, I thought it would happen in January or February, not October.  I didn’t give them an answer, even though I know the answer. I don’t want to be put on the spot to say I don’t want to do this another year. What are the chances that they won’t ask me again this week?

Several people told me they thought the Japanese pumpkin from our garden (that I posted about yesterday) was a weird shape, and I agree, it is weird. This is how it is supposed to be, though. Weird, but true.

Inspired by the Suffolk Puff Christmas tree that Margaret made, and using some of the fabric she had left over, I’ve started making one too.  I want to make it for Ted to hang in his office and I’d love to get it done in time for this year. It’ll be November in a few days! I’m going to try to finish it before December. We'll see how it goes.

1 comment:

Queeniepatch said...

Even the package says it is a UNIQUE shape!
Unfortunately the Japanese have a bad reputation for being unable to do small talk in English at international conferences etc. Thank you for helping this reputation shrink!
It is usually in October that people sign onto jobs that will start half a year later. Employers want to be prepared well in advance, and by January, the job might very well have been given to someone else.
You've made a good start on that office fir tree!