By: Annie Chen
One day in my Business English lesson, an adult student asked me, “Miss, what’s the difference between a mugger, carjacker, smuggler, burglar, kidnapper, thief, pickpocket and robber?”After what seemed like the longest pause of my career, with an awkward blank grin on my face, I spat out the best answer I could come up with off the top of my head. Afterwards, I couldn’t stop trying to pinpoint the finer distinctions between those, and pondering WHY I didn’t know how to explain it. It was really quite simple – most people don’t have to be so acutely aware of their own language since it is learned passively. For many teachers that I’ve met, a huge challenge in entering the TEFL world was learning the meta-language and rules to English grammar since we picked it up inherently. Language awareness as well as cultural awareness have become the two largest factors in my learning experience abroad.