Number one for English language teachers

Anecdote: The alphabet game

Tara Kenway shares her winning anecdote about an animal-themed mix-up.

The funniest teaching experience I’ve had recently was with a low-level student, who had been grouped with a very shy woman who was actually pretty good. I was obliged to teach the two of them for 40 hours.

One game we played was the Alphabet Game: You write a word for each letter of the alphabet (more if possible), and preferably words you think will be impressive. The shy lady brought out all her engineering vocabulary (yes, I was impressed) while the other lady got stuck at ‘E’.

I tried to choose something which was the same in French, her mother tongue.

“Think of an animal - a long trunk (which I mimed), very big …”

She thought for some time.

“Umm … giraffe?”

Even the incredibly polite and shy woman burst out laughing.

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