I was watching a documentary after dinner. It was about restoration of an ancient brigde. It was the Bridge of Mostar. The “old” bridge is a single arch bridge built by Turkish Ottoman Empire. It was an architecture with a history and has certain unique characteristc. It is located in Bosnia-Hercegovina, then Yugoslavia. I will not dwell too much on the history of the bridge, there is too much to say and I do not have that much knowledge to talk about it. However, the uniqueness which I want to talk about is that the brigde straddles over a river separate a muslim settlement and a christian settlement. The Bridge is a connection and a linkage between two different settlement. It provides a chance of interaction between different people. According to the documentary, the two settlements are very closely knitted. I will get to the point why I talk about this Bridge in the following paragraph.
I had a lesson today. My classmate is teaching a class but the “students” enacted a scenario where “cross fires” are carried out in a language totally alien to the teacher. The language barrier makes it difficult for the teacher to understand what exact words were exchanged.
This sets me thinking. Singapore is a multi-cultural and multiracial society. Teachers are one of the bridges that straddles across the various ethnic groups. Teachers are one of the linkages among the students. Will language barrier affect our role as “bridge”? Even though translation can be used, to fully translate the words, underlying meaning of the conversation and feelings cannot be accomplished easily just converting the words from one language to another language. This is one of the issues that surfaces when there is aim to train students or professionals to be master of two languages.
Language is deeply rooted into a culture. To be master of the language, one has to learn and master the culture as well. I would not say that I can be master of a language but I would try my very best to learn about other culture. Learning will lead to knowing which in turn would lead to understanding. I do hope this can aid my interaction with the peopel I will meet in the future.
**The “old” Bridge of Mostar was destroyed in the civil war within then Yugoslavia. But people treasured it and recognized its historical and cultural value. Thus a “new” Bridge of Mostar is rebuilt in the exact spot where the “old” had once stood up high against the onslaught of time.
A while back, I had a group discussion on my field study package with my fellow groupmates, weili, yunbing and zhichun. It is amazing that at some momments I totally had no idea what idea weili is saying. Weili also had problem understanding the point i wanted to put across.I feel it is funny as both of us are speaking fairly well pronounced English. At times, we also use our Mother Tongue to explain. Imagine as adults with only a small age gap ( would not tell you all the age gap, but I confess I am rather old, hee hee hee) both of us had difficulties to understand each other’ idea. I really want to pray for the students who cannot understand what their teachers said in class. Sometimes, we take for granted that whatever that is clear and straightfoward for ourselves would be clear and straightforward for others as well. That is an assumption that could fetch a high price that we do not want to pay, i.e a breakdown in communication.
Communication breakdown every now and then. It is the speaker’s responsibility to ensure that listeners understand their words and not the other way round. But we tend to stand on the wrong side of the road and still think that we are right and others are at fault for not being able to understand. Have you ever experienced misunderstanding just because the speakers irresponsibly assume that that listeners will and must understand. If listeners do not understand, it is fault on the listeners’ side and got nothing to do with the speakers.
New lessons are learnt every momment. The lesson from the group discussion is very useful to me. I hope my listeners would not lose direction as if they are in a mist when they are listening to me in the future.
I have to keep telling my self that my targeted students are lower secondary thus I should not use too much terms that they may not know. I have to remind myself to go slow on certain concept. But this seems to be very difficult. The notion that that the lesson I have planned may be too difficult just did not occur in my mind. I want to dump or fill as much flesh as I can into the lesson. I just forgot the times when I was a student and I hope my teachers will go slow and not throw us all content within a lesson. But I think I just seems to forget those times easily.
Have been slashing the content and changing many words to simple layman terms where everyone can understand. Have to keep on reminding myself that my target students are lower secondary and I do not want to stress them unnecessarily. One of the plausible reason why I seems to give too much content or use some difficult key terms is beacuse my classmates who are role playing as my students are graduates. The students’ image blur and they become genius who I assumed will understand whatever content or concept that I show to them just like my friends in class.
Letting students construct and fill in graphics organizers is good way to collate what they learn. I should let my “students” do it as this can be a student activity as well. Now the question is. should I make it a pair or group work.
It is not that easy for me to slash and cut away the content, now it seems that my lesson is too easy. Let me see what is the response tomorrow.