Home > Commentaries on TTC > 68 – Sous les pavés, la plage…

68 – Sous les pavés, la plage…

Now available on t-shirts and mugs. La lutte continue!

A good soldier is not violent.
A good fighter is not angry.
A good winner is not vengeful.
A good employer is humble.”

Complete the following in a like -minded fashion:

a good teacher…

a good student…

a good language class…

I look forward to reading your responses. [NB This is yet another attempt to interact with my readers. All others have failed. We only have another 13 posts until it’s au revoir, mes enfants. Assuming that there is no international campaign to keep me blogging.]

Anyway, Lao goes on to say that all of the above consititute the Virtue of not striving…the ability to deal with others…the ultimate unity with heaven. It strikes me that the negatives are all about suppressing passions and becoming detached and non-emotional. Is this how our teaching should be? I’m sure most/both of you wouldn’t agree.

Categories: Commentaries on TTC
  1. March 18, 2011 at 10:09

    It IS difficult, isn’t it? I have the same problem with interaction – you know people are coming to your site, but no-one says anything, so are they reading it? Doesn’t it make you feel that you’re writing for no-one but yourself? I do. Sometimes.
    Anyway, fret not, my friend. I think what you write is fascinating, but I want to have time to read through it all & mull over it.
    I’d even contemplated ‘stealing’ some of your ideas and give speeches…
    A good teacher should have faith in the WAY things are…
    A good student should have faith in the way their teacher is…
    A good language class is when everyone has faith that the class will be good!

    • dfogarty
      March 22, 2011 at 07:35

      Thanks for the show of solidarity. Feel free to help yourself to any ideas whatsoever and give as many speeches as you wish. I particularly like the suggestion that a good student should have faith in the way their teacher is. How much of the teacher-student relationship is based on faith and trust?

  2. March 18, 2011 at 10:37

    13 posts, eh? Travelling up to 81. Any particular reason?

    Off the top of my head…

    A good teacher is open-minded.
    A good student listens,
    but is also critical.
    A good language class is relaxed.

    Or perhaps…

    A good teacher is a good student

    There’s my effort to keep you in bloggersville.



    • dfogarty
      March 22, 2011 at 07:36

      Only that Chapter 82 of the TTC has yet to be written! A good teacher is a good student is closest to what I was thinking of. Trite aphorisms often contain a wealth of debate and exploration, it seems to me.

  3. March 18, 2011 at 15:32

    Well I was wondering when I’d be deprived of Lao’s wisdom. Space those last thirteen out a bit, would you?

    A good teacher doesn’t control the lesson.

    • dfogarty
      March 22, 2011 at 07:39

      Which, quite delectably (and nefariously), offends nearly any teacher training curriculum. Must be right!

  4. March 19, 2011 at 12:04

    It is already complete: “a good teacher, a good student, a good language lesson.”

    Start again at One.

    • dfogarty
      March 22, 2011 at 07:40

      Lao would have swooned. Of that I have no doubt.

  5. March 20, 2011 at 05:29

    I couldn’t hope to be as poetic as Diarmid, but here’s what I think.

    A good teacher is aware of differing needs and abilities
    A good student is not confined comfort zones but willing to take risks
    A good language class has flow, rhythm and unexpected outcomes

    • dfogarty
      March 22, 2011 at 07:42

      I couldn’t hope to be as poetic as Diarmuid either. It’s just surfing intense caffeine waves. I like a lot what you have to say about students and classes. The teacher one is certainly true, but it doesn’t seem to capture the fullness of it. Perhaps Lao would have added “is aware of their own differing needs and abilities.”

  6. March 20, 2011 at 09:47

    A good teacher believes in his students
    A good student believes in himself
    A good language class believes in the worth of communication

    • dfogarty
      March 22, 2011 at 07:50

      …unless he’s a she! I like the idea of a good teacher believing in their students, but I’m afraid that I don’t think I believe in them! Well…I believe they’re there, but I wouldn’t trust some of them as far as I could throw them! Is unconditional belief and trust a requirement? It may be, I guess.

      A good student must certainly believe in themself. Well said. Because without this belief, there is no study, no motivation, no sense of mission.

      A good language class believes in the worth of communication is an interesting one. And it contains a deep pond in which to explore. Without the worth of communication being recognised, can students ever really communicate? What worth does communication have? What is the purpose of communication? Is the purpose of communication in a language class the same or different than outside a language class? Good one!

      • March 28, 2011 at 18:56

        Hey . . . missed this earlier . . . thanks for the reply! I am a she, so I guess I should leave the age-old everyone’s a he age and start using she!
        As it is, I don’t trust my students either, but rather than trusting them, I think it is important to believe that they can succeed. If I write them off as failures the first week, they will fail. But if I believe in them, I give them reason to believe in themselves, I give them reason to learn.
        With believing in the worth of communication, I think that it is important for the students to believe that their class is actually important. My students don’t believe that right now, so to them, class is just a waste of time, and chance to meet up with their friends. But, the days that I can prove to them that this is language they will use and need, their motivation grows.
        This was an interesting challenge! Thanks!

  7. dfogarty
    March 22, 2011 at 07:45

    For what it’s worth, my take on how Lao would have responded:

    A good teacher is not a teacher
    A good student is not a student.
    A good language class is not a language class.

    How I’d love to see that in an IELTS exam…

  8. March 27, 2011 at 14:57

    This blog is top, if I had to choose only one blog to read that takes Lao’s wisdom to wise up none-the-wiser ELT, this blog would be yours. However, I might not miss it when it reaches 81, I might have started reading at #30 something, so I’ll be busy anyway starting from the beginning.

    A good teacher doesn’t need students
    A good student doesn’t need teachers
    we can stop here, not to get verbeux, loquace ou redondant

    • dfogarty
      March 28, 2011 at 06:42

      Bons mots. I think I might join you at the beginning…see if I can actually learn something!

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