Wednesday, August 12, 2009
In refugee camp English class. I ask them to pair up. I give them role-play exercises.
Okay listen up. Here’s the scenario. One of you is a psychologist, the other is the client. You are at the clinic and the client is feeling very sad. Come up with a conversation about this.
They start working. They pair themselves up but the third group has one strong student in it with good vocabulary and the other with weak vocabulary.
I watch them as they practice: group one is loud and proud with drama, already devising a scene on acute sadness, whatever that is.
Group two is busy coming up with “big words” to beat group one. I sit there and watch while group three is kinda quiet in the corner there.
So. I start with group three.
“okay guys let’s get this show on the roadddd! Take one, scene one aaaaaaaand Action!!”
Client (she’s the stronger student in language skills): hello
Psychologist (the weaker student in language skills): hello
Client: I am feeling sad because I can’t make friends in school. I moved to a new town and my neighbors are not friendly either. I’m only 13 and I feel so different both in school and in my neighborhood. These kids, they don’t act like kids. All they want to do is talk politics. I’m like why not talk about music.
Psychologist: ummmm .... (pause)
Client: and I want to try to make friends. I like those that talk about normal kid stuff. Like sports, and make up and ...
Client: and then I want to go shopping but I have no-one to go with that’s sad and
Me: Okay. Let’s hear more from the psychologist, come on doctor.
We wait for him patiently and encouragingly so he can say something ... he looks around the class …looks at me. Then he looks at the client and says:
“clinic close now. Come tomorrow”.