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  1. #1

    Psychology of a teacher

    Hello All

    I would like to share with you something a bit funny a bit perplexing and bit surprising.

    1- A professor of English syntax has two books on syntax. Obviously, the book should be replete with examples illustrating the use of clauses, phrases, etc.

    What is funny and surprising is that almost all examples in the book are along the following line:

    -He deaprted the twon, never to return
    -That Bill lost the race annoyed his parents.
    -Not knowing what to do, the girl began to cry.
    -Tortured and humiliated, the prisoner committed suicide.
    -His being the manager does not bother me the least.

    Almost all examples in the two books are very very gloomy.

    2-When an Arab teacher in a grammar class gives a lesson on a sentence that consists of a Verb+Subject+Object, surprisingly, he/she would uncounciously choose the following two examples:

    -The boy ate the apple.
    -The boy drank milk.

    3-When an Arab teacher of English gives examples on the present tense, he would most likely choose the following example:

    -Ali drinks milk everyday.

    If not Ali, then it is certainly Ahmad.

    3-An Arab teacher of English would be confined for one reason or another when giving examples to the following proper names:

    Mary, John, Ahamd and Ali.

    4-Other typical sentences focus on France and French. The following examples are also used:

    -He speaks French.
    -She went to France.

    Illustrative examples give a hint about the psychology of the teacher. I had once a funny situation. It might be the funniest situation ever. I was walking along the corridor in the university towards my office when I passed through a classroom in which a female (married) instructor was teaching students a basic course in English. It shocked me when I heard her illustrating the passive voice by citing the following example:

    The man was killed by his wife

    Examples are in fact more than examples. They reflect something of the psychology of their users.

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    Re: Psychology of a teacher

    Perhaps; then again, maybe you are projecting something into this that is not there.

    I have seen people using salt and pepper shakers to illustrate a point. They are just symbols to get across an idea.

  3. #3

    Re: Psychology of a teacher

    So, is it a mere coincidence that almost all Arab teachers of Arabic would say: "The boy ate the apple"?

    And waht about the professor who cites all his examples in a very gloomy way?

    What made the female teacher cite: The man was killed by his wife as an example for the passive voice?

    In my modest opinion, there is something in the psychology of people that make them use such examples.

    Best Regards

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    Re: Psychology of a teacher

    Some English dictionaries used to give sexist examples like:
    The girl cried bitterly.
    The boy played football. (soccer)

    Now the situation is reversed.
    The boy cried bitterly.
    The girl plays football.

    Again some books stopped using he or he/she and switched to she only. It is not only psychology but language often reflects our way of thinking (Sapir–Whorf hypothesis). Maybe some people are not aware of this consciously. But once their awareness is raised they might go to the other extreme. It also reflects the teacher's mood, message and outlook. However, this is not limited to teachers only but everybody uses a kind of idiolect which gives some insight into the way of thinking. We need to be more imaginative in giving examples because they are like spices used in cooking.

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