Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trying to Communicate When There's No Common Language

I've blogged that there are quite a few Arabs who shop in Yafiz.  With most I can communicate in either Hebrew or English, plus a bit of pantomime.  Last night, I ended up trying to explain the "half off the second (or less expensive) item" discount with another medium of communication.

I finally grabbed a piece of paper I found and started writing:
100+80 (80X1/2 =40) =140
100+100 (100X1/2 =50) =150
And yes, after that they caught on to what I had been trying to communicate.  I explained to one of my young fellow sales people that I had been a remedial teacher.  I honestly believe that those talents, skills and experience really help me with some of the customers.

When one method doesn't work, I try another.  I did that when teaching EFL to small groups.  As long as there is basic intelligence there will be a method that suits.  Today's teaching, at least here in Israel, is based on the very expensive and rigid workbook.  The "experts" claim that it's good that the children can progress at their own pace, but there is very little real teaching.  Not everyone's mind suits those workbooks.  Some people need to hear the concepts and facts repeated in different ways orally, and workbook learning is not oral.  Workbook teaching isn't flexible either.  I would have been a total failure and trouble-maker in today's classroom.

I learn best with discussion.  I use that when I give my Tanach, Bible classes to my friends.  If any of my grandchildren are like me, they're in trouble.

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