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A Nice Cup of Tea for the Teacher

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A Nice Cup of Tea for the Teacher.

Here’s a way to explain about how languages are learned, and an excuse to drink a cup of tea during class!

You need 1 cup boiled water, 1 tea bag, milk, sugar and a teaspoon.

Put the teabag in the cup. Explain to the class that coming to English classes is like putting a teabag into a cup. If you leave it there long enough tea will infuse into the water. Similary, by coming to English lessons, some language will inevitably rub off on the students. Take a sip of the tea and pull a face! Yuk! Something else is needed.

Put some sugar in the tea. This represents the input, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation. Just hearing English around you is not enough. You have to have properly explained input in measured amounts. Taste the tea again. Yuk! Something is missing.

You need to stir the tea. Just listening to the explanations is not enough. Students have to work with it, by remembering, by doing exercises,listening, reading, speaking and writing, just as they need to make an effort to stir the sugar into the tea. Taste the tea again. Not bad, but something is still missing.

Pour some milk into the tea. Just coming to classes and listening to explanations and working with them is not enough. Students need to top up their English with something else: homework!, just as tea needs topping up with milk (for the English at least!)

Finally, enjoy your cup of tea!

Simon Mumford
Izmir, Turkey

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