{October 24, 2009}   Why…

…do adult students always ask us to slow down our reading?
Some days ago, I was doing a listening comprehension exercise, and one of the students wanted me to read each sentence at turtle pace, pausing after every single word so he could get every single word I said.
This is the same student who asked me if we could say “would they like…” after reading “would you like some tea?”

My theory, hope it’s wrong, is that this student has never heard about the word comprehension. Neither has he heard about context or background knowledge.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing him. I just want to see if the problem is that I can’t teach him, or that he doesn’t understand my explanations. It’s the only student with this problem.

The listening exercise I was mentioning, consisted just in saying if 5 sentences were true or false. The text was pretty complex for their level, but with our pre-listening talk about James Bond, and a bit of vocabulary work, most of the students performed excellently.
They had 5 general statements about the short excerpt I was going to read, They had to listen not for details but for a complete understanding of events, and then, try to guess which of the statements were false.

When I saw this student’s answers, I really was not surprised he didn’t get any of them. He is so worried about getting every single word and its meaning (yes, my dear fellows, he interrupts listening activities to ask the meaning of every word he doesn’t know) that he is not able to understand the whole both in reading and listening activities.

Consider this example:

(Teacher reads)

“… Roy shared his flat with his brother, who was also a student. He usually cooked on Sundays, but …”

Sentence in student’s worksheet:

-Roy shared his flat with his brother and two of his friends.

Guess his answer – if you say True, you may understand how I’m feeling.


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