Author Topic: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?  (Read 2960 times)

Taurus

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Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« on: October 23, 2009, 03:46:10 PM »
I'm thinking about doing some sort of team-based quiz, where students have to work out whether actions/phrases are polite or not (or maybe ranking actions/phrases in order of politeness). But before I embark on some actual work, I was wondering if anybody had any better ideas, or if anybody had any ideas for some of these actions/phrases.

For example, in England, it's considered impolite to talk while eating something, even if someone asks you a question. In Japan, it seems to be more impolite to keep someone waiting for an answer, even if you're eating.

Another example, that gets me into a lot of trouble with my wife: if I need to go for a piss, I will say, "I might go to the toilet," instead of saying, "y'know what? I'm gonna go take a piss."

Asking for directions: "Where's the train station?" sounds more abrupt than, "Would you mind telling me where the train station is?"

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Re: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2009, 05:11:35 PM »
Another example, that gets me into a lot of trouble with my wife: if I need to go for a piss, I will say, "I might go to the toilet," instead of saying, "y'know what? I'm gonna go take a piss."

Saying you are going to the toilet rather than going for a piss gets you in trouble?
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Re: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2009, 05:16:48 PM »
I updated and merged some pages over at Englipedia.  You might find some ideas there: http://jhsenglipediaproject.com/jhs_grammar_modalrequests.aspx

One thing I've never understood is how this country is known for being ultra polite, but when J-peeps pay at a restaurant or when the store clerk is nice enough to put your groceries in a bag for them, I rarely hear, "ありがとう."

Khaleesi

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Re: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2009, 06:22:46 PM »
depends if your target is to teach them being polite
or if it's a modals lesson
could/would/should--which is a unit unto itself.


In the first lesson your target could be talking about appropriate gestures and behavior in different countries.  What certain gestures mean in different countries.
At that point your target vocab could be
rude/impolite/polite
In Japan it's polite to eat loudly.  Have the students match rules with countries. (Also make sure you have covered country names and nationalities in a previous lesson)
legal/illegal
allowed
The target language would be "May I..." vs Could I vs Can I which is a form they are already familiar with.
You could write out the casual form and have them practice re-writing the sentence into a polite form.
Can I take a piss?----Could I use the bathroom?-------May I use the bathroom?
Gimme a bite------Could I have a bite?-------May I have a bite?
although that doesn't adhere to modals progression, it's good for practicing polite forms and is easily drilled.


Your second lesson could introduce the modals would / could/ should
Have students suggest rules and laws or suggestions.

Have you made a year-long or semester curriculum?  Where are you taking them after polite forms of English? 
I have a print somewhere of a bunch of gestures from around the world, but I cannot find it now, I'll see if it's at home.


EDIT nice print Patrick!
« Last Edit: October 23, 2009, 06:24:17 PM by Plum cake »
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Re: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2009, 07:18:26 PM »
Saying you are going to the toilet rather than going for a piss gets you in trouble?

Saying I *might* go for a piss makes her uncontrollably angry. I keep trying to tell her that it's just the same as when the Japanese politely ask 'won't you go for a drink with me?' (一緒に飲みませんか).

I think my goal is less modals, and more cultural differences regarding what people consider to be polite.

And, venturing off-topic, I would love to make a curriculum, but at the moment I am trying to fit my lessons in piecemeal to my JTE's schedules, which mostly seem to be based around the textbook. The textbook, as I have mentioned elsewhere, is itself pretty piecemeal. It has no discernable structure, and in any case the kids mostly don't understand it.

I intend to try to work in an actual honest-to-goodness curriculum from the next school year, or, next term if possible, even if it is simply by the stealthy introduction of grammar points that build on each other in my warm-up activities.

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Re: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2009, 12:00:24 AM »
This could easily become a rant but:

- covering mouths for sneezing/coughing
- soup slurping
- mouth's touching plates/bowls and drinking from them directly
- staring (is it rude here or can they just not help it? I don't get it myself)
- holding doors open here is almost shameworthy rather than received with gratitude ("sumimasen you nice gaijin you")

Something to consider is the difference of perception on manners (or lack of) from a person older than you in Japan compared to equalish expectations in the west. i.e There's a ICB post on the forum dealing with an ojiisan almost running people over in a car, which is just solved with an apologetic smile. Whereas in the UK the same grandpa would be shouted down and told to get the hell off the road and retake his driving license.

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Re: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2009, 12:50:26 AM »
-- brushing teeth while holding a conversation.
-- don't forget all the gestures that have a different meaning over here.  (a.k.a. - I almost got ran over by a obachan tonight while i was crossing the street during a green crossing signal.  I gave her the bird...she looked at me, not even looking at my middle finger, and had a look of total blankness like questioning what I was even doing on the street.)

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Re: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2009, 11:10:25 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions. In case it's any use, I have attached the worksheet: I just had the students sit in groups, working out whether certain acts were rude or polite, and then gave points to each team for correct answers. So the kids had to translate the English, and the element of competition encouraged them to work. I didn't get on to the second part of my worksheet with my students, but the class went okay.

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Re: Has anybody done a lesson about politeness?
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2009, 02:04:20 PM »
http://bogglesworldesl.com/requests.htm
is a lesson that takes it to the phones...the print can be saved and be modified based on the levels of your students.
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