One of my man-to-man students is a premed student. In his English class at his university he was required to write his opinion on some difficult topics related to medical ethics. His chosen topic was “End of Life Issues”. He came to class with his draft and we checked it together and made a few corrections and improvements. He was happy to get the assistance. This reminded me that language is not always for discussing happy subjects but we also need it to discus topics which are not pleasant and can often be quite quite sad. So students need to also learn how to discuss such topics in English. Of course this should only be done when the student asks for help related to such a topic. It’s not really something we want to add to the curriculum officially.
Happy times, sad times and everything in between is fair game for helping to improve your students’ English ability. After all, communication is necessary for life and life has many different experiences in store for all of us. So we must make the best of it. I am sure that I am doing that as a Smith’s teacher now. Helping people who want to become better communicators is a certainly a worthwhile endeavor.
Al Bartle (Smith’s School of English – Okamoto)