Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator
My Blog

International Students: The Problem of Cues

I teach basic college writing to international students. At times, a student whose English is still weak will come to ask me a question, and I can't understand what the student is asking; or the student will propose an idea, and I can't perceive what the idea is. 
     The communication problem is not grammar. By the time the students reach the classes I teach, their grammar, while not perfect, is sufficient. The problem is finding the right words that will cue corresponding information in my mind.
     For example, today an Asian student wrote this phrase into a paragraph "generate people." Gently I told the student, "I don't understand that phrase." After several minutes of the student talking and me listening, I typed, "a community of people who are united in their beliefs." The student smiled and said, "Yes, that is what I was trying to express."
     How did I derive my phrase from "generate people"? By listening, and listening,again, and then again. These students are quite intelligent. Being the type to adventurously undertake a college or graduate degree in a language system utterly different from their own, in a location between 4,000 and 10,000 miles away from home, they are also the type to have quick insights and many original ideas. But which are the most efficient English words for cueing their ideas to arise in an English-speaking reader's mind? I have the privilege of helping them discover those cues and put them to use. My reward is to glimpse the colorful and varied thoughts in the minds of my colorful, varied students. 

3 Comments to International Students: The Problem of Cues:

Comments RSS
poeticpops on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 11:14 PM
At times, a student whose English is still weak will come to ask me a question, and I can't understand what the student is asking; or the student will propose an idea, and I can't perceive what the idea is.
Reply to comment


asmakhatun on Thursday, May 11, 2017 12:06 AM
Today cosmologists tell us we are 40% star dust, our origins having emerged out of a cosmological stew some 14 billion years ago. And based on recent geneticists' findings, we now know we're more closely related to animals, insects, plants, and fungi than our world view has led us to believe.
Reply to comment


http://www.coalfreemass.org/how-to-make-sure-that-custom-writers-i-hire-are-professionals.htm on Friday, May 12, 2017 5:45 AM
Reine, the writing is really helpful. I have a learned a lot of reading through the post. I think the student should follow your writing. I will share your post on social media page to see my friends and followers. Thank you so much.
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Website:
Comment:
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint