09 mei 2012

Dear teacher

Af en toe krijg ik mailtjes binnen die me een brede grijns op m'n gezicht doen trekken:-)

Dear teacher,

My apologies for all the e-mails, but I need some clarification on our homework assignments. I have encountered several problems while trying to create wordfiles. First of all, many of the articles on The Economist / BBC / New York Times (etc) are not much longer than one or two pages. This means that if I have to write down a minimum of twenty words I will have to read a large quantity of articles, as usually there are only one or two words which are completely new to me.
Secondly, the articles on the news pages I previously mentioned are purposely written to appeal to a large amount of readers, so the chance of finding new difficult words isn't very high. Finally, even if certain words or phrases are new to me they can easily be understood from the context of the articles. I have yet to find an article which is intellectually challenging.
During the first module I was told to write down words which I consider difficult enough for classmates. As a result the weekly search of difficult words was simply time-consuming as I screened articles again and again for words I consider difficult.

I would like to know the methodology behind this assignment. I have the feeling that the wordfiles do not increase my level of reading comprehension nor my active or passive vocabulary. At this point I simply consider the work detrimental to my study because I could have used the time more productively for other school related work. Besides, I already read many (English) news articles on a daily basis, including business-related news.

Admittedly my English is far from perfect, but I do not believe the word files have so far helped me to enhance my English. I could read in-depth articles which use a lot of specific terminology, but high-quality articles packed with jargon are rarely available for free and it seems like the regular news sites do not offer any.

I'm not asking to be exempted from any work (I'm anything but a slacker) but I felt compelled to address my poor experience with these word files.

Friendly greetings,
XXXXXX (mij wel bekend. De appel valt niet ver...)

En dan het mooie antwoord:

Dear XXXXXX,

Let me first compliment you on your English! It makes a great change to receive email like this every now and then.

Regarding your question about the word files, I do see your point, so if it is indeed such a struggle then I would suggest you reduce the amount of work by submitting only one article that you found challenging enough to read.

I promise I will not count the number of words, but I hope you will find some really interesting ones.

Kind regards,
Your teacher

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