Friday, 16 September 2016

Dobra Zabawa

It's Polski Piątek, so what else is new? I may have to quit the Polish Friday feature because most of my leisure time is taken up by Polish seven days a week and I need a break.

This is thanks to Polish Club, which was my own brilliant idea, and little did I know then that taking charge of your learning by organizing fellow obsessives students into a weekly study club is, according to research I have since discovered, one of the best things you can do to learn.

It is definitely one of the best things I can do, since I was born to teach until cruel fate interfered. Naturally I cannot actually teach Polish, but I can facilitate like a pro. But enough about me.

The club has had 12 meetings, and every one has centered on a book about a dog. When we ran out of book, we read a news article about the dog and then a book review. We shall end our dog days of summer next week with a theatre review, for the book about the dog was made into a play.  Little does my club know that I have been employing a Jesuit educational technique called "Ignatian Repetition". Basically you keep applying the same terms over and over again in different contexts. It's how my beloved Canadian Jesuits profs bang Lonerganian concepts into their students' heads. I learned as much about pedagogy as about theology from these wonderful men.

(In case you are fainting at this encomium to the SJ, you should understand that not all Jesuit Provinces, let alone not all Jesuits, are the same. For example, everyone can agree that St. Ignatius of Loyola was a stellar guy, even if you take Thomistic exception to his take on 'thinking with the Church'.)

Needless to say, I approach all meetings with great seriousness and was so devastated when error appeared in my vocab lists that I took to sending them to a Polish proofreader before handing them out. And yesterday when, for the first time, we followed up our vocal Polish readings with our own English translations, I was momentarily confused when, during my turn, fellow club members laughed merrily. I had just given the English as, "I recommend this book for children of five or six years of age."

For a moment I thought I had made an error, but no! Their mirth was (obviously, in retrospect) triggered by the fact that we anglophone adults are well out of the age range. Hey, listen, I challenge any Polish six year old to read this book on his or her own. Forget it. They will need an adult to read it to them. I mean, "wścieklizna"(rabies). No way.

My conclusion is that I am beginning to have serious sense-of-humour failures, and it is a good thing B.A. and I are going on holiday in ten days. Off I go to our linen closet/library to find my Italian cassettes.

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