June 10, 2012

The Malagasy Truth Bomb

English Class Prep

I’ve been teaching English at the local high school for several months now.  I teach there twice a week, and each class is scheduled for two hours.  Two hours is a long time to stand in front of a classroom.  I prepare my lessons at the beginning of each week and, at this point, I’ve become pretty good at creating substantial and engaging lessons that fill the time allotted.

So, one Monday, I sat down to plan my lesson.  According to my twenty year old textbook, I was supposed to teach my students how to describe objects in detail.  I knew that I had to find something for the class to write descriptions about.  I found some things, but being unsatisfied with them, I decided I had a better idea.

So I went to class with nothing.  I taught the required vocabulary to my students – simple adjectives that they could use to describe things, how to construct descriptive sentences, etc.  We practiced the new vocab and I answered their questions, and then I divided them into groups for an exercise.

“Describe me, and when you’re finished, you’ll present your descriptions to the class,” I told them.  This way, I thought, I could teach them anatomical vocabulary too.  How innovative, I thought at the time.  The students set to work.

June 9, 2012

Full Power Will Own You

My Peace Corps counterpart has many sons.  When I first arrived here, he explained the meanings of the names he had given them.  He translated them for me, pointing each of them out, saying, “That’s Good Growth, that’s Blessing, that’s Heritage, that’s Power, that’s Full Power, and that’s Grandpa Power.”

My first thought was that Full Power was awesome and Grandpa Power was lame.  And what about Power?  Why doesn’t he get some specific kind of power, like Full or Grandpa?  Aren’t there any other kinds of power here?  Does that mean he inherently gets both, since the word “power” categorically refers to those sole two kinds?  Is he really Full Grandpa Power, but just goes by ‘Power’ because the ‘Full Grandpa’ makes his name redundant?