At last – Russia has given up the idea of adjusting clocks! This is something I am really happy about. My own biological clock is not screaming in protest. The problem was that adjusting the clock coincided with the gloomiest season here, with clouds hanging low and fogs rising from the Volga. And it was unbearable, at least to me. There may be people who don’t mind tampering with clocks, but it used to be my personal nightmare. Now the thing to look forward to is snow – real snow, covering the ground with a thick blanket and making everything around bright, clean and shining.
My students’ performance (both at university and at private classes) at this time of year is usually a bit worse than usual, due to the weather. Andrey, however, is very enthusiastic, because Unit 4 from Global Beginner is about shopping, and Andrey is crazy about shopping. Besides, bright pictures stimulate imagination and mood.
Both Andrey and Ruslan got especially interested in the task on page 26 (Beginner), where the learner is supposed to compare prices. They have been abroad several times, but on package tours, and tourists normally don’t buy bread and milk. Ruslan contacted his new friends (learners of English, too) from Finland and Taiwan he had found on Facebook and asked them about prices in their countries. Honestly, I didn’t expect such enthusiasm from him, he is usually more reserved than Andrey. But he explained that his company, a local dairy plant, might be taken over by an international dairy manufacturer. Actually, somebody from the European office is arriving next week. Although this person will be accompanied by an interpreter, Ruslan hopes to demonstrate his ability to say: ‘This yoghurt is €1’. The necessity to do something real is the best motivator. Ruslan is also learning names of dairy products – a tricky thing, because some typically Russian dairy stuff doesn’t have analogies anywhere else in the world, and Ruslan’s English is not advanced enough to enable him to give a description.
Predictably, both Andrey and Ruslan have problems with writing tasks from the eWorkbook and printable worksheets. They are both at the stage of recognition, i.e., they recognise the word ‘daughter’ when they see it and read it correctly. But when they start writing, the mother tongue interferes badly. In Russian (with a few exceptions), a sound corresponds to a letter. So, they tend to write ‘dote’ or ‘dota’ – and then say: ‘I know it is wrong’. I believe it’s normal, but as Ruslan keeps saying he might need to write emails to his company’s partners abroad in the future (very distant future, judging by the company’s promotion scheme), I insist on the correct spelling. It is great that Global provides such exercises both in the e-form and on paper, so that learners can practise both writing and typing skills.
Obama’s photo on page 26 has prompted Ruslan to adopt a new motto for our classes: ‘Yes, we can!’