Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gripes with EFL Phonics Series

I'm in Taiwan for my summer vacation and whilst I'm over here, I'm volunteering (as part of a student organisation called AIESEC) for an elementary school as an English teacher. So far it's quite a fun and interesting job, however there are at times, some parts that get me down. Today I'll just quickly talk about the EFL phonics series as I have little spare time to write about my time here in Taiwan and the other aspects of the job in detailed fashion.

I've only realised how long it has been since I had finished Elementary school (way back in 1999)when one of the teachers asked me to create an answer guide for the EFL Phonics series of books. These books introduce the sounds of the English language through the presentation of sometimes utterly nonsensical and whimsical sentences. I assume this is done to hold the interest of the students. It brought back fond memories, but then when I started work on the books, I had begun to be thoroughly irritated.

This was through no fault of the books or it's authors, they're just doing their jobs of educating children. I'm just the type of person who has this irritating trait of curiousity and for asking too many questions. Also, the trait of delving too deeply into things to possibly find hidden meanings and implicatons, as you have witnessed previously with my rant against the Cheng and Tsui Integrated Chinese series (on which I have gradually mellowed my position).

I lament the fact that I must abandon all logic when I'm creating answer guides for the exercises of the EFL Phonics series. Again it comes down to those ridiculous sentences. Such as,

"The ram has a ham"

Why does the ram (a herbivore) have a ham? Is it just playing with the ham or is it some mutant carnivorous ram which has developed an appetite? Should we be worrying about mutant carnivorous rams, is there a danger that they might eventually develop a taste for human flesh?

or "The ham is on the dam"

Why is the ham on the dam, what purpose does it serve being there? In the picture, the ham is almost as wide as the dam itself, this huge ham could feed a lot people but instead it is sitting on a dam rotting away. What a shame.

or even "The bugs cut the bun"

How are the bugs able to cut a bun? Most bugs that I know of have neither the dexterity or strength to use a knife properly. Again should we worry about these obviously genetically or otherwise engineered insects that are able to handle utensils and neatly slice a bun in half.

Anyway, I'm probably just thinking way too much about this. I just felt like another rant :-D When I find the time, I'll write about my time in Taiwan and my experiences until and maybe even another World Music entry.

Until then, that's for me now. Comments are much appreciated, well I give you much thanks if you even decided to spend your time reading this blog much less comment on it.

Regards, 思捷.

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