Saturday, September 3, 2011

Speak no evil.

September can only mean one thing - back to school.
I have been getting in the mood for it by doing some educational reading. There is a big push on now for numberacy and literacy. One proposal for improvement in Phonics is to teach it incidentally throughout the day, rather than have an assigned lesson. So whenever a child makes a mistake in identifying the sound that goes with a letter, you correct it on the spot and in context.

In my third year in Abu Dhabi, I was the Head of the Infant school. One of my many jobs was dealing with discipline.
I was sitting at my desk in my office one day, when the door opened and in came little Mohammed.
Mohammed, although only six, was well known to me and my office!!!
However, on this particular day, he was feeling somewhat moral, and was snitching on a friend of his!
"Miss, Rasheed, he did use the F word!"
Teachers are the best actors in the world.
I put on my psuedo-horrified face and accompanying voice.
"Oh, dear. Did he really? That's very naughty of him!"
Of course, you never take anything at face value, and you have to check that what the child said, is actually what you understood it to mean.
"So Mohammed. Tell me the F word that Rasheed said."
He looked at me aghast.
"I cannot say that word. Only Christians say that word."
Hmm. May have been a little bit prejuidiced even for a six year old. But I have just attended an U12 football match, played by Christians.....and he might just have a point!
"Its okay Mohammed. Allah knows that you are just repeating what Rasheed said to me so that I can stop him from saying it again."
Mohammed thought about this for a moment. Deciding that it was too good an opportunity to get someone else in trouble,  he exclaimed.
"He said.....fagina!"
"Thank you Moh....WHAT? No I mean, don't say it again!"
Mohammed was dismissed and I collasped in tears of laughter.

But now I realise that I should have used it as a phonics lesson.
Alternative ending:
"Thank you Mohammed, but that is incorrect. Repeat after me.....
Well done.
Now, V V V Vagina.

Nah. I would have lost my job........and probably my head!