Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Teaching small children

The new school year has begun, bringing with it a whole crop of new children. In addition to my formal teaching at Gran Capitán, I have a number of new private students. These include a group of seven-year-olds and a group of ten-to-thirteen-year-olds. I’ve been getting unexpected enjoyment out of teaching the small children; up until now, I’ve mostly taught adults and older teenagers. Of course, the private groups are much smaller, with five or six kids. That seems to be an ideal class size.

There are also unexpected pitfalls. The other day, I was reading “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” to them (a considerably tamer version than we read in The Thousand and One Nights). The kids were getting serious cases of the giggles whenever I’d mention Ali Baba’s name. My mind was in English mode, so it took a little time for me to catch on. “Baba” in Spanish means….drool, or slobber. Sigh. You’d think that after a year in Spain, I’d be more sensitized to these sorts of things.

1 comment:

Dimple said...

You might check what 'baba' means in Arabic. I think it might be daddy...I know 'abba' in Hebrew is daddy.
It's funny how that happens when going from one language to another. I read a blog post by a Jewish lady who commented on the same phenomenon.