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Dr-David-Banner

TEFL (some thoughts)

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Nesf
15 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

Here's a test for you, Nesf. Maybe if you learned Romanian, you might be able to understand a bit of the text below

I'm afraid that I'm going to disappoint you here. I have never studied Latin. I can indeed understand some phrases or words. or at least make an educated guess at their meanings, something about enebriated friends, various unarmed animals, silent night, which are not animated, not having life, lifeless? And luce = light? But it's like reading Ancient Greek, I can't understand enough to extract any real meaning or context from it without looking up words.

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Dr-David-Banner
11 hours ago, Nesf said:

I'm afraid that I'm going to disappoint you here. I have never studied Latin. I can indeed understand some phrases or words. or at least make an educated guess at their meanings, something about enebriated friends, various unarmed animals, silent night, which are not animated, not having life, lifeless? And luce = light? But it's like reading Ancient Greek, I can't understand enough to extract any real meaning or context from it without looking up words.

It's close enough. Yes, the drunken friends were subjected to a prank. Wild animals were set loose into their rooms but had blunt teeth and not wild. They are said to have kicked the bucket in shock (the drunken guests). So, some Latin is interesting to read with descriptions of gladiators and so on. I found the forums tended to attract really interesting people with ancient languages being such a minority interest. I bet you could learn it pretty quickly and enjoy doing it. Fascinating as it is though the only employment possibilities would be tour guides/lecturers around Pompei or Rome and Greece. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Just read today in the local rag my old uni is shedding 150 staff jobs. The ancient lang and history dep shifted decades ago to Manchester. Even there it has struggled as most education gears to business and I.T. I recall a lecturer though who was the dep head and knew ancient Greek and Latin plus about 12 modern languages. He wrote several books on Athenian pottery. He had this party at his house that was on the campus as I recall. Looking at the house he must have made pretty decent wages as an academic. His lectures were livened up with lots of jokes and stories of Thales of Miletus and Anaxemines. I now wonder if such academics are a thing of the past.

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Nesf
12 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

It's close enough. Yes, the drunken friends were subjected to a prank. Wild animals were set loose into their rooms but had blunt teeth and not wild. They are said to have kicked the bucket in shock (the drunken guests). So, some Latin is interesting to read with descriptions of gladiators and so on. I found the forums tended to attract really interesting people with ancient languages being such a minority interest. I bet you could learn it pretty quickly and enjoy doing it. Fascinating as it is though the only employment possibilities would be tour guides/lecturers around Pompei or Rome and Greece. 

Ah, I didn't get that it was a prank and so it didn't make much sense to me.

Studying the classics doesn't have much application in the modern world beyond being a hobby, or to study history, it's rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

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Dr-David-Banner
7 hours ago, Nesf said:

Ah, I didn't get that it was a prank and so it didn't make much sense to me.

Studying the classics doesn't have much application in the modern world beyond being a hobby, or to study history, it's rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

I think the culture back then was well ahead of ours in certain areas. More so in ancient Greece. We tend to think of these ancient civilizations as "backward" and yet the concepts of democracy and law we use today are all derived from those civilizations. You could also argue that democracy in Athens really was genuine democracy as opposed to the superficial image taken as "democracy" today. As you will know too, ancient Greece was alive with the study of philosophy and maths. Something really worth thinking about is the irony that slaves allowed the Athenians to spend more time doing philosophy instead of manual labour.

As to what you say about it all becoming a thing of the past, I can see we're now on a slippery slope to a nation of "wage slaves". The only way I've been able to make any money lately is through manual work, painting, cleaning, wiring and woodwork at a basic level. That is if someone is willing to pay me. All my friends (pretty much all female) get by doing shop-work and seem to make enough money to take the odd holiday and socialise. They could learn foreign languages if they wished but I guess they lack the time after work.

Regarding Greek, so far as I'm aware, students studied Koine which is supposed to be New Testament Greek and a later version. Presumably, the Classical period had a lot of dialects of Greek which may possibly only be translated by archeologists.

 

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Nesf
15 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

As to what you say about it all becoming a thing of the past, I can see we're now on a slippery slope to a nation of "wage slaves". The only way I've been able to make any money lately is through manual work, painting, cleaning, wiring and woodwork at a basic level. That is if someone is willing to pay me. All my friends (pretty much all female) get by doing shop-work and seem to make enough money to take the odd holiday and socialise. They could learn foreign languages if they wished but I guess they lack the time after work.

I would say that the majority or people these says are 'debt slaves', all working to pay off their mortgage or other forms of debt. Modern day feudalism. That's one pitfall that I've thankfully managed to avoid. In recent years, in Britain, there has been a shift from heavy, traditional industries to digital and service industries. More social problems, and the divide between the very rich and the very poor just gets bigger.

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Dr-David-Banner
On ‎3‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 9:57 AM, Nesf said:

I would say that the majority or people these says are 'debt slaves', all working to pay off their mortgage or other forms of debt. Modern day feudalism. That's one pitfall that I've thankfully managed to avoid. In recent years, in Britain, there has been a shift from heavy, traditional industries to digital and service industries. More social problems, and the divide between the very rich and the very poor just gets bigger.

Valentin Falin wrote a very interesting chapter on Stalinism that I found useful. The article was very anti Stalin but the comments on incentives to labour I found useful. Under Stalin the motive to work was based on targets, ideology, fear of being charged with sabotage.

With capitalism the motive to labour has always been personal gain, wages, wealth. The snag, as you can see, is this tends to erode science and education. Sure, there was a state system of class based schools from the 1950s to the early 1970s but, as Sanctuary pointed out, access to all of this was rooted in class, privilege, family name and "strings pulled". So, even when times were better this system was flawed. Einstein repeatedly stated science is "science" and is motivated by the desire to explore and understand and not profit. Now, we see things have taken a turn for the worse too, since education is hugely declining. Not only that but the incentives to work have shifted from wages and wealth to survival on minimum wage.

I still think the big turning point in history was Gorbachev's failure to reform communism. This is what needed to be done. I mean, Gorbachev's whole idea was to allow marketing and trade and create a more liberal, socialist society. When it all went in the wrong direction, the world turned to capitalism. Yet, whether the penny will drop now or in another decade, it seems to me capitalism is leading us all to a one-way path to ecological ruin, over-population, inequality, chaos and lack of democracy. The weird thing is capitalism is in the same crisis as communism with similar causes of decline.

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Dr-David-Banner

Probably about the best language to learn I think is Spanish. I can't really think of anywhere else where I tried to teach TEFL that was comparable. I did try Estonia, Latvia as well as Russia but, all in all, the money was awful and I felt my language skills were not appreciated.

Spanish is really pretty easy to learn except (1) in the South it's spoken jet-fast due to the syllables. Compare two sentences, for example: "Pancha plancha con cuatro planchas.
 ¿Con cuántas planchas plancha Pancha?"

The first sentence has 9 syllables but "irons with four irons" has less syllables.

(2) The "rr" has always been impossible for me to roll.

(3) Some people would find subjunctives difficult. They don't exist in Russian. O.K. in Russian you can say "I want that she will go to the market" but there is no special subjunctive verb to go with it. In Latin, the subjunctives are richer than in Spanish which is maybe why many of the ancient languages are more difficult.

Other than that, Spanish is fairly easy to pick up. It's also spoken slower in South America. For EFL it offers not just mainland Spain but also the Andes, Mexico, Argentina, A pretty massive area to seek out a small school or academy. The students tend to be not particularly brilliant at English but they tend to be friendly and (above all) appreciate a teacher having learned their language. This is a relief as it always gets up my nose when my efforts to speak a language are met with chauvinism or rivalry.


 

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Nesf

I know some Spanish as I did GCSE Spanish at school.

14 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

(2) The "rr" has always been impossible for me to roll.

I managed to do this with practice, but it takes a conscious effort.

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