Saturday, 25 January 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Teach Your (Bloggers) Well

We all know how to do something well — write a post that teaches readers how to do something you know and/or love to do. 

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TEACHING.

Painting on Building Bahnhofplatz, Solothurn

This photo is of a painting on the wall of an ordinary apartment house in our local town of Solothurn. At the top you can see our cathedral with its surrounding baroque style towers and the figures are walking towards the bottom down the moat walls until they arrive at a green meadow. All the people in the design seem to be doing something, connected with their trade or just enjoying theirselves.

So now for the theme of the prompt. Anyone here want to learn fluent Swiss German, how to write the Cyrillic alphabet, or perhaps find out what html is all about on the computer and not just copy paste, but go into the details and do it all in computer language? No-one? I do not blame you, at my age I would not want to do that again.

Of course I could write a post all about the secrets of training felines. I have three and since twelve years, but the only thing I have learnt that I can pass on is that you cannot train felines, they train you and humans are just here to obey and not command in this respect.

Most of the things I can do were more or less self-taught. You do not speak to a Swiss German in his own language by going to school and learning. You can learn German, which is difficult enough at school, but Swiss German – no. Just listen to what the others say and do it the same, on the basis that you stay in the same town and do not wander around to other towns. Living in Bern where the words of the language are about 10 words per hour, is different to living in Zürich where the words arrive 100 words per hour (the time difference is only figuratively speaking). What I mean is that the Bernese take their time, no rush and you arrive comfortably at your target. Zürich is a business centre and so decisions are made quicker. Not wanting to either criticise or praise, but being originally an Anglo that grew up speaking cockney, things can become complicated in Switzerland. There is a Swiss dialect to suit each Kanton/State, even towns: after living here almost fifty years I have now got the hang of it, although I would not like to spend time in the Kanton of Valais. I have the feeling it is only the Valliser that understand their dialiect. The Bernese Overland can also get very complicated, but thanks to the ski tourism from other countries, most people speak or at least understand English.

I could give a few cooking lessons but every housewife has her own favourites and specialities. My ratatouille is quite favoured at home; I also manage quite a good chilli con carne, not to mention my homemade pizza. I make spaghetti Bolognese, al sugo, al pesto, arrabiata, carbonara etc. etc., but who am I to tell you how to do it.

I brought up four children, but that was learning by doing and still is, although I now only have one at home. I have been married for 45 years this February and that was definitely learning by doing on both sides of the fence. We began married life speaking English but after a year I was slipping into the local lingo and English only now exists at home if we have visitors from English speaking countries.

As far as being a teacher is concerned. I taught English in a Swiss evening school, but it is not my thing. I am not an expert in pedagogy. Just knowing the language is not enough, you have to bring it across to your victims and not show them how well you can speak it, so I gave that up.

And now for some Tai Chi practice, which I am still learning and practicing daily. You are never too old.

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  1. I am very much in favour of the 'learn by doing' method. In particular with languages, for me, but also other things. I had quite a traumatic time at school and I think it affected me into adulthood. Put me in a classroom and I just switch off, don't take anything in. I learned more Swedish by being in Sweden, among the population, watching TV, reading newspapers, than I did studying it from a book.

    1. Marcel was often in Sweden at various meetings, Gotheburg, when he worked for Volvo. He picked up a few words and told me how it worked. It is the only way to learn a language thoroughly, to live in the country.

  2. BTW...if you follow Neil's (Nomadtravelling) blog here on Blogger, his post 'Season Well' might interest you. It's about traditional Japanese flower-arranging. Have a look at the third photo. Does that look like someone in a Tai Chi stance? It's what I thought when I saw it, anyway :-))

    1. It does a bit, but Tai Chi is not just Tai Chi. I could imagine the Tao system havng such a stance, but I do Sung style an that is more a gentle movement.