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  • Me and the old lady

    Posted on January 13th, 2009 Mairo Vergara 3 comments

    old-ladyYesterday I had one of the most terrific experiences in my life. Let me tell you about it; I guarantee it’s worth your time. On the way to my girlfriend’s house at about 12:30 I randomly met an old lady on the streets. She patiently asked me: “Hey son, could you help me cross the street?”. I of course replied “Yes, sure”. I helped the old lady cross the street and while she was talking I noticed she had a strange accent. Where is she from I wondered. “Are you from Londrina?” (Londrina is the city where I live) I asked her. “No, I’m not from Londrina. I live here but in fact I am from Mozambique, Africa. Oh that was nice I thought. Just after that she said: “I’m an English teacher”. The was REALLY nice I thought again! “Well, I just finished University, I am also an English teacher” I said. When I said this the old lady started talking in Enlgish…

    Ohhh so do you speak English?
    Of course I do!
    … and so on…

    We spent one hour chatting on the middle of the streets. I even took a bus with her to the bus terminal here in Londrina. She told me about how she lost her job (she used to teach English in a church, but they had some problems she winded up without a place to teach), how she was looking for a new place to work, about her husband who was sick, about her sun, which has around my same age, etc. The old lady was 74 years old and she was very, very cool! She reminded me of my grandmother.

    She talked about English and how she liked to teach it. How those modern teaching methods are not good and how she liked the old, more traditional methods. I agree with her, even though I don’t know much about methods. The old methods seem really nice. For example, Prof. Arguelles in his videos talks about how the old Assimil methods are better than the new ones. Nowadays it seems professors want to make the methods so comfortable and easy to follow without caring at all about the effectiveness of it. Words like repetition and memorization cause horror in actual language teachers who want every method to be “inter-socio-communicative”.

    My talk with the old lady made think about how simple language learning and teaching should be. You just learn the words, learn how to say the phrases, and use the grammar as a way to polish, to clean points where you have problems. My girlfriends told me that old people learn, after so many years, to separate necessary from unnecessary things. Maybe this is what we language learners and teachers should try to do. Put aside what is unnecessary and stick to what is truly necessary in our studies.

    I hope I can talk to the old lady again. I’m sure you and I can learn so much with her. She said God put me in her path. I, being a really rational person, personally don’t believe in God. But for those who believe in it, maybe it really exists. I would say God put me in her way in the same way coincidence put her in my way. Just to finish it up, her name was Raquel and her accent was awesome!

     

    3 responses to “Me and the old lady” RSS icon

    • What is the world’s oldest method for learning a new language?

    • Actually I have no idea!

    • I would assume it is talking to others, since different ethnicities had to barter and communicate before written languages were invented (which still aren’t part of certain languages yet.)

      And the first sentence should be: “Yesterday I had one of the most terrific experiences *of* my life.”

      In the next paragraph the second sentence should say: “She told me about how she lost her job (she used to teach English in a church, but they had some problems she winded up without a place to teach), how she was looking for a new place to work, about her husband who was sick, about her *son, who is* around my same age, etc.”

      I hope you are still looking for corrections :) I assume sun was a typo since you spelled it correctly earlier, but it is important to have good habits.