Feeling shy in social situations
Why do Asians often seem so shy in social situations compared to westerners?
To illustrate how the subject of cultural differences is the best subject, I’ll include a reading passage about this followed by discussion and writing activities related to this.
This “shyness” topic is an effective one for demonstrating the important aspects of this “best” subject:
Slow reading because of translating
The other day, Mari, an ESL student of mine, asked me if I could help her with an article that she had been assigned for one of her courses. I could see that the article would be quite challenging for her. And I couldn’t help but notice that she had covered the article with translations. It was obvious that she had little confidence that she’d be able to understand any of it unless she translated almost every word, even words she actually knew.
As mentioned in a previous posting (November 2nd ), if student know the purpose of a reading assignment, they tend to read faster because they don’t get bogged down in trying to understand unnecessary details and vocabulary. Also, they are more likely to become tolerant of ambiguity. Included in this posting is a unit (an article and study guide) that begins with a focus on the reason students would read the article.
Having a purpose.
One reason that ESL students often take so much time reading a passage is because they think that they need to understand all the information. As a result, many of them tend to cover a text in translation of every word that they are not familiar with. We have often heard of international students staying up until 2 a.m. trying to complete reading assignments in their academic courses.
This can change if they know in advance the purpose of the reading assignment.