Trained in combat

Published on 1st December, 2011 in Global Bloggers by Evgeniya Zimina

Walking in the city centre is tricky these days. Carrying your handbag, books and shopping, you dodge crowds of people who hand out leaflets, posters, flyers – general elections are coming soon! Well, you can’t say that all this stuff is completely useless – I have been given a small collection of pocket calendars, learned the names of all the candidates and received a postcard with the text of a prayer (an unusual way to promote a member of the local Duma, but there it is). The only disadvantage is that all these promoters are too enthusiastic and sometimes belligerent when they try to attack you with their printed miracles at every corner. Shall I vote for the quietest and least garrulous candidate? Or do I feel this way because I’m less talkative than usual these days?

The reason I speak less at my private lessons is that my students have taken a liking for talking. They are inclined to discuss everything. Ruslan adores football, so when we were doing Unit 5, we spent ages discussing sport. Besides, Unit 5 provided food for thought and discovery. Ruslan searched for capoeira and cricket in the Internet. These sports are exotic here, especially in a small town like Kostroma.

Andrey, being a dentist, looks at all sports from a professional point of view: what are the chances of having all the teeth intact after a capoeira (boxing, American football) training session? But he did a great job with the dictionary, so instead of using sport vocabulary he talked a lot about other things he likes or dislikes.

Now we are doing Part 2 of Unit 6. Both guys, predictably, have problems with do and does under the influence of the mother tongue – there are no auxiliary verbs in the Russian present tense. They liked the additional grammar exercises at the end of the book – the ones where a learner has to find and correct the mistakes, so I have decided to use it and started a grammar competition between my learners. They use my laptop to leave messages to each other. Each message consists of two sentences – one is correct and the other has a grammar mistake. So, Ruslan comes to the lesson, reads Andrey’s sentences, finds and corrects the mistake and leaves two sentences for Andrey. I keep the records. The activity has made them more attentive, but at the same time the guys have become rivals, though they have never seen each other. So, I hope they will not kill each other in my yard if they meet. Learning languages can be dangerous!


  • Hi Zhenia!
    The ability to ‘pair up’ your one-to-ones is exactly what I’m looking at at the moment. Good luck with that and thanks for another great post!

    Michael Grinberg on 3 December, 2011
  • Hi, Michael! Thank you for your comment and your support!

    Evgeniya on 4 December, 2011