Saturday, 20 February 2010

Parents' Evening

We had our parents' evening yesterday and it was nice to meet the good people who consider English valuable enough a resource so be worth paying people like me to teach it to their offspring! In general, the Portuguese are good at English (when compared to my experience in Spain, France and Italy), and are keen to learn, spurred on by the internet, Hollywood and music. There was a recurring theme however (well, two actually, but 'he/she could work harder' doesn't really count as I KNOW that's a perennial since teaching began), and that was a complaint about hand-writing. It's hard to get students to write, so I am willing to accept my written work as printouts. All well and good (so long as it's not cut and pasted from Wikipedia... and guys, I DO check), but herein lies the rub, the problem. You don't get to practice writing longhand, in pen or pencil, in English. You all write at school and university in Portuguese, but it isn't the same (especially your m and n which are particularly cursive so that the latter looks like the former and the former looks like a child's drawing of the Loch Ness monster).
Why is this important? Because writing is one fifth (that's twenty percent) of your Cambridge mark! And you'll get a lower mark if the examiner gets bored of your spider scrawl. So, spread your words out, write on every second line and take your time. Try different pens. Do something so that it's legible, otherwise you are losing marks needlessly.