Number one for English language teachers

Anecdote: Cheating

Type: Anecdote

Margaret Bell's students come a cropper with the sh and ch sounds.

In one of my first teaching jobs, I taught at a school in the South of France as an assistant teacher, trying to motivate young pupils and encourage them to speak.

After a few weeks, I tried a role play game, which involved the students buying and selling products from each other, trying to make the most money. I had prepared pretend money, things to sell, and they were really enjoying it until one of them decided that another boy was cheating.

'Tricheur,' he said, and they got into an argument in French.

After sorting out the problem, I taught the class a new word, 'Cheat', which they repeated and wrote down in their vocabulary books. The following week, a horrified English teacher asked me not to teach the class swear words. I had no idea what she was talking about until she explained that after she caught one of the girls copying from another in the class test, the whole class turned round to her (no doubt trying to impress their teacher) and said,

'You are a cheat!'

Unfortunately, as noisy twelve year old beginners, who can't quite differentiate between 'sh' and 'ch', the sentence didn't quite come out like that....

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