Thursday, October 22, 2009


I was sitting in on a Spanish class recently. It's neat to experience the teaching styles of locals and the learning styles for that matter. Anyway, the teacher was covering verb conjugation. She wrote some sentences on the board with blanks where the verbs should go and the students were to fill in the blanks with the proper form of the verb. As I was reading and beginning to understand the sentences, I was shocked. The first sentence said something like, "He drinks Bounty." (Bounty is a Lucian rum) The second sentence said, "Peter drinks beer." And the third set of sentences is what really got me, "My mom is boring. She drinks water." I watched as the teacher helped the 13-14 year old students insert the right verb and then translate these sentences. Then the boy 2 seats over said, "Oh I get it, you're boring if you don't drink alcohol."

Whoa! Immediately I started thinking about this in my own American context. If this were to happen in the States people would go nuts; somebody would get sued. I mean, parents and schools are fighting over whether Obama's video should be played to their children and that carries a positive message! The teacher smiled as if this was completely normal. And I was internally devastated. Children, from the time they are young, are not only observing but being told that it is socially acceptable to drink alcohol and boring to choose not to. It's like they are being taught peer pressure. I am still shaking my head…. It is just hard to wrap my brain around it.

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