The Rools

Yes, yes, I know I spelled 'rools' incorrectly. It should be Rules, but I am playing with English here, as I am wont to do at times. That's the beauty of the English language. More on aspects of that 'beauty' later. But, not today.

Now, I want to share with you another post from the Wix app. You'll recall that I enjoyed lying back on my reclining chair...hmm that's a tautology. What else do you do on a reclining chair but recline/lay back? That's a rhetorical question by the way and does not require an answer.

Anyway, now I am forced to sit up straight on a hard backed chair: so uncomfortable!, and hoping that I am relaxed enough to write easily, making my words flow. Am I succeeding?

That's a question. <wink wink to the buyers of My 'Simply Better' Method: Module A. Did you see what I did there? I inserted a blatant promotion of one of my amazing Modules.

OK, all that was new. It wasn't on the original post.

Let me return to that post now.

The title was "Some Rules" and I will simply write what I wrote then verbatim. It's just too tiresome/tedious to rewrite in the past tense.

Here goes.

Are you comfortable?

"When I taught English in China, many, many moons ago, at the start of each semester with a new class of fresh faced students, all eager to begin their journey with me, I'd lay down the Classroom Rules.

Having done it so many times before, I had my routine down pat/learned by heart.

I used the same words, like an actor in a long-running stage play. I knew, from experience, when to pause for effect, and wait for the laugh that followed my ' guaranteed joke'. I had learned to include only those jokes that worked and omit the ones that had fallen flat.

My rules began with a series of "No's" which I wrote on the board; a set of 4 easily remembered rules.

They were:

  1. No Phones.

  2. No eating.

  3. No late. (Ok that's a little ' Chinglishy' - but it communicated the point effectively.)

The last one: 4, was ' No-te book' (a playful one, designed to show how English can be played with). Of course, it meant that students had to bring a notebook to each and every class. I pointed out that, one day, and they would not know the exact day, I would collect their notebooks as a part of the assessment of their participation level in class.

After each of the first two rules, I'd explain that, for example not turning off their phones, or not eating in class, would not make them die because they missed a text or a call; or that they'd die of hunger from not eating; they could check their phones in the break. But I followed them up with the threat that if they were to break any of those rules, I promised I'd kill them. <shock, horror on their faces>

Not literally of course!

But it served to reinforce the rules in their minds.

I treated the process of explaining the rule as a lesson: to practice their listening and reading comprehension skills.

By the fourth rule, they knew what was coming (I believe most of them did) and the class as a whole would be able to call out at the appropriate time "I will kill you!" - and giggle.

Then I knew they had understood and had predicted (through repetition) what I was going to say.

A perfect CC (Concept Checking) moment.

Rule one in CC is never to ask a class or an individual student " Do you understand?"

I observed many teachers do this and I would shake my head in disbelief. Many teachers however were less experienced, and many schools in China cared less about things like that, glad that the teacher was a foreigner teaching their students and pleased if the teacher was entertaining them along the way. So-called ' edu-tainment'.

A better, more useful, thing to do, to find out if the student/s understood, is to ask e.g.

"What did I just say?"

So, story over.

Now the rules for this blog space, particularly as people begin participating by writing comments on the posts.

Just as I did in China, I'll keep them few and succinct.

  1. No phones! oh wait, you'll need your phone.

Sorry! <expecting laughter>

Let's begin again.

  1. No politics.

  2. No swearing.

  3. No disrespecting other opinions.

  4. No trolling.

And 5. No-te book. Good students always carry notebooks to make notes.

Oh and it goes without saying that only English spoken here please.

I shall pin them to the top of the blog as soon as I can work out how to do that.

So, they are the rules.

I expect you to follow them. If you don't I will kill you.

No, no, no, of course I won't. I couldn't if I tried.

But I hope you 'get the plot'.

As I used to say to my students: "Get it?"

Student: "Got it!"

Me: "Good!"

By the way, I have the supreme power to enforce the rules and will not hesitate to block any transgressors. Do not force me to do that. No second warnings will be given.

Enjoy your stay here and I hope you learn something.

....and that's where I shall stop.