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Relations between native speakers and Polish colleagues.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1202
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparks wrote:
Quote:
Is it really asking that much to keep staff rooms all English?

Ever study a language in college? Imagine how ridiculous it would be for your German professor to only speak German while wandering around the quad. or eating lunch in the cafeteria. Walk a mile...
I'm not talking about in the cafeteria, etc., just in the staff room with other German professors. And I'll bet a bunch of German professors would make an all German staff room rule and stick to it, rule-heavy, law-abiding people that they often are.

Scott, it's fine if you want to improve your Polish, but life in Poland is full of opportunities to do that. I don't think people should be forced to learn Polish to take part in staff room conversations.
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delphian-domine



Joined: 11 Mar 2011
Posts: 674

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:51 am    Post subject: Re: Relations between native speakers and Polish colleagues. Reply with quote

Infinite wrote:
That's a sad reality of it. I asked the same questions years ago, but after living here for a while in few different places and meeting the natives... I wouldn't let many of them feed my dog.

Now I'm not saying that every native is a bad apple, but in comparison to their NNS peers... it's slim pickings if you're looking for quality.
I've been saying the same thing for years as well. But schools are also partially to blame, I think - I remember working for one school that wanted me to teach a CPE class. I told them several times - "I don't enjoy it, I don't like it and don't think that I've got the knowledge to do it properly" - but they still sent me there. I threw my hands up at the very beginning and told the students that I was way out of my depth with it, but the clients turned out to be lovely, lovely people who said that they just wanted me to teach to my strengths and to ignore the weak stuff. In the end, a Polish colleague saved the day by proposing a very sensible solution - I would take one of her groups occasionally for specialist classes about doing business with the UK, and she would go to my group and teach the grammar that they needed at that level. It worked, but still - it was idiotic that they sent me in the first place.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1636
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:06 am    Post subject: yup Reply with quote

Can't blame you...CPE, like IELTS is a real shag.
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Rusty77



Joined: 27 Jun 2005
Posts: 53
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, with respect to the English language level of young Poles, CPE-level classes don't seem to meet the standard that they used to. I'm teaching one in Warsaw now, and although my students seem to have a very good range of vocabulary, there are often errors in simple tense forms, common preposition collocations (my students still say things such as "depends from") and sentence structures such as "How is in English...?" Smile Still, you get the odd student who is always trying to prove he/she is more knowledgeable than the native speaker, which is really the most irritating thing. I think this (addressing the former point) may be partly due to the school directors advocating a policy of cramming all of the pre-CPE and CPE students into one large class to maximise revenue, whereas in the past they were two separate smaller classes.
Dragon, I understand your point about the possibility of meeting "under-qualified" natives, but I have to say that for me this has been the exception rather than the norm over 5 or 6 years. The native guys I teach with are all CELTA holders and/or experienced, never drunk on the job (or even off the job, as far as I've seen). When there's a staff party, all of the Polish teachers go to it, get hammered on the free booze; usually the natives do not go, especially if they have to teach the next day. I'm impressed with the quality of Brits especially here in Warsaw and sometimes I can't imagine for the life of me why these guys are actually sticking around here in the cold and darkness.
Laughing
Poles speaking Polish only in the break room--yeah, this is ubiquitous I think! I think it's partly due to their shyness about "exposing" their errors to natives, and partly due to natural comfort level. Also, since they are mostly young women and probably they figure us old natives don't understand any Polish and are partly there just to hit on them, it's a good way for them to avoid interacting with us, can't blame 'em ! Very Happy Personally, I like it though because I can focus on simply preparing for the class and teaching and also build bonds with other native speakers instead of with Poles, who I have virtually nothing in common with.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1636
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:01 pm    Post subject: I agree Rusty Reply with quote

I agree with you re the native speakers but there are a lot of horror stories. Go to the Gulf and you'll find plenty. Let's no forget that many teachers cut their teeth here, so maybe that's why the Polish kieruwniks I've spoken to think like they do.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1202
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty, you've brought up two more good reasons for the all-English staff room:

1) It helps the Polish teachers improve their English.

I know lots of Polish teachers who are similar to the CPE students you describe: good English and can can use high level vocab., but still occasionally make some pretty basic mistakes.

So if they're serious about, and competent at, teaching English, an all-English staff-room is a great chance for additional practice and improvement.

2) An all-English staff room helps bridge the divide between the Polish teachers and native speakers.

I'll bet that if you could understand what the Polish teachers were saying to each other, you'd be surprised at how much you all have in common, and how much better you get on with them.

All teachers talk about pretty much the same things in the staff room anyway: this student's a nightmare, that book is terrible, this week has been horrible, etc..
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1636
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:06 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

Maybe they like bitching about differences in pay Smile
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 899
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@Shake - The thing I never understood about ANY language school was their thought that greeting people in the native language somehow added anything to the marketing process.

If I ever get back in the game I won't be tolerating receptionists who greet or answer the phone in the native language and I'll be expecting my teachers to be talking in the target languages.

I particularly saw this in a well-known chain school based in Poland. If they had any sense they would have been hiring native speakers as sales people or putting the teachers' desks in the lobby. We used to close new students in the front lobby and hand them to "sales reps" to write up the paperwork.


Last edited by ecocks on Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 629

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I'm a bit thick but I really don't get what all of this Holy English Language stuff is about. We offer language lessons, something for people to get out of the house for in the evening or to waste a couple of hours at work. Greeting people in English? Are you kidding me? Who cares? If it's Poland, the receptionist should speak Polish, Armenia--Armenian. We offer a service and an experience, that's really it. Asking Polish receptionists to speak English to other Polish people to sign up for courses, not everyone, especially in Poland, would sign a contract without going over it in their native tongue first. Signing up for language courses is really no different than signing up for karate courses, dance courses or whatever else people do with their extra money and free-time.
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 899
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparks wrote:
Maybe I'm a bit thick but I really don't get what all of this Holy English Language stuff is about. We offer language lessons, something for people to get out of the house for in the evening or to waste a couple of hours at work. Greeting people in English? Are you kidding me? Who cares? If it's Poland, the receptionist should speak Polish, Armenia--Armenian. We offer a service and an experience, that's really it. Asking Polish receptionists to speak English to other Polish people to sign up for courses, not everyone, especially in Poland, would sign a contract without going over it in their native tongue first. Signing up for language courses is really no different than signing up for karate courses, dance courses or whatever else people do with their extra money and free-time.


Yeah, that's exactly what people without any sense of marketing or understanding of customer perception think.

You almost have it right at the end there. If I went to a Karate dojo and was greeted by a guy or gal wearing a karate gi I'd be more impressed than if Angelina was doing her nails while chatting on the phone about world hunger.
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NilSatis82



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 110

PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparks wrote:
Maybe I'm a bit thick but I really don't get what all of this Holy English Language stuff is about. We offer language lessons, something for people to get out of the house for in the evening or to waste a couple of hours at work. Greeting people in English? Are you kidding me? Who cares? If it's Poland, the receptionist should speak Polish, Armenia--Armenian.

Absolutely - I wonder what would happen if a parent phoned up a language school to enquire about lessons for their child and the receptionist answered in English? They'd probably put the phone down right away. You'd probably also get hardly any beginner students as they'd be petrified of phoning the school. Sounds like a fantastic marketing strategy to me Rolling Eyes
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ecocks



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 899
Location: Gdansk, Poland

PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LMAO!
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15330

PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's leave English where it should be - in the classroom !
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scottie1113



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 375
Location: Gdansk

PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. It doesn't belong at reception no matter what country we're talking about, and I've already posted my opinion of it in the teachers room.
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Master Shake



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 1202
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NilSatis82 wrote:
Absolutely - I wonder what would happen if a parent phoned up a language school to enquire about lessons for their child and the receptionist answered in English? They'd probably put the phone down right away. You'd probably also get hardly any beginner students as they'd be petrified of phoning the school. Sounds like a fantastic marketing strategy to me Rolling Eyes
I totally agree. You might as well close the school down, or at least kiss all your beginner students goodbye.

It's great if the placement testing and consultations with potential students about levels/classes takes place in Eng., but only if the student speaks good enough Eng. to understand. I would switch to Polish if if felt I wasn't getting the point across.

But greetings and any discussions about contracts and payment should be done in the student's native language. Otherwise you risk putting people off or expensive misunderstandings.
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