ESL teachers in Turkey are only too aware of the difficulties we face when we try to teach the Present Perfect tenses to locals. It is unclear as to why it proves to be so difficult to get the time-frame over to Turkish students, but since there is no exact comparative tense structure for the perfect structures in their mother-tongue, it may have something to do with the difficulties we incur every time we try it. However, I feel that I may have come with a shaken-not-stirred part-solution for teachers to get their teeth into with students and make them engaged in the difficult structure: JAMES BOND, 007 and SKYFALL, which was shot in Istanbul.
Although I normally teach fifteen year olds at my school, I have a 40-year old neighbour who I tutor in my spare time. He started at zero English, and it has been a tough job getting him used to everything related to English. He came to the table with "old-school" perceptions of teaching, so those approaches have played a large part in our time together. However, I do like to throw in visual imagery in order to get him to think past the gap-fill exercises and translation methods he always seems so happy with. Although I know they have been proven not to work, I feel in his case they have a part to play. It is what he expects, and so each time I have tried to wean him off it, he has become irritable and frustrated. By, that won't put me off, and tonight I hopefully showed him that by not doing it the way he has preferred for the past year, he can see some real progress.
I started him off with a image of the structure so that he could see the time-frame. I always like to use this with all my students. It makes perfect sense (pun totally intended) to me, and it has had some success over the years. Then a few examples of what a typical sentence looks like in its grammatical form:
I worked through the things he has been doing that day and that week etc...This was the first lesson approach, and he did find it tasking and difficult to grasp. That was why I came up with the excitement of James Bond in Istanbul to see if it would make a difference.
FIRST of All, I gave him around twenty verbs first in their infinitive form and he converted them to their participle form in preparation of using the Present Perfect Simple tense and, of course, the infinitive form would suit the Present Perfect Continuous tense forms.
SECOND, we started watching the first thirteen minutes of SKYFALL, with the intention of stopping every few minutes to record the action he has been watching
THIRD, my 40 year old student started making sentences in the context of the narrative. The first few are basic formations, then he, himself, asked to pause the video so he could report what he had seen. His engagement was infectious! [click on the pic to enlarge]
Finally, after we had a short break, we returned and he started to expand on his one sentence efforts and made mini paragraphs. He was smiling and really enjoying himself. I felt that impressed with his efforts that I asked if he minded whether I took these pics. He was over the moon that I would want to post up a blog based on his work. [click on the pic to enlarge]
The lesson came to an end, and it had rushed by. Both of us had a look of serious FLOW. Now, although I am used to having considerable success with my teen students and video, this was the first time it had really connected with this student. However, I am sure that videos like this will continue to interest him and help him to push his own boundaries and self-confidence. At the end, he asked me to witness his recording of both papers into his IPHONE recorder. I am sure he will be listening to his own sentence constructions on his way to work tomorrow. I only wonder if he will feel like a Bond-styled Martini after this evening; because I know I feel definitely more Shaken-AND-Stirred...