Remembering Miss Cory-Wright
Thank you Alex for describing your own English learning path, it was really interesting. I totally agree with your point of having a clear goal, even if that goal is a very personal one. I hadn’t realized that you were aiming at taking the IELTS exam. Actually I’m an IELTS Examiner so I agree with you about the value of this particular form of assessment. It really is as you say a test of what you can do rather than knowledge. One thing I can also assure you about is that this is a very secure test, there are a lot of restrictions on confidentiality for Examiners and also a lot of tests of Examiners. I recently had to go through a kind of testing procedure myself in order to keep my status as an examiner up to date. It’s quite a challenging process for examiners and I can tell you I was really relieved to find that I‘d passed!
But back to studying tips; Alex you mentioned the difficulty of sorting out sentences when they contain unknown words and asked for advice. One idea that might help is to really focus on the grammar of the words and notice if the word has a suffix. This can often give us a clue to the type of word involved, for example if it is a noun or verb or adjective or adverb. This then should help you work out the grammar of the sentance.
I noticed that you used the grammatical terms, subject and predicate. I’m not sure if these terms were taught to you at school or more recently? It’s interesting but I first learnt these terms myself when I started to study Latin at school. In fact I learnt how to describe grammar in English by learning Latin. For a very long period in English education there was very little direct teaching of grammar. I’m not sure why that happened but I have always been grateful that I went to a school that taught Latin and Ancient Greek. I loved both subjects, partly because I had the most wonderful and devoted teacher, Miss Cory-Wright, who had a great passion for teaching and made the subjects to me irresistible. In her spare time she used to translate children’s books into Latin. The most memorable were some of the Beatrix Potter books.
Miss Cory -Wright also taught me English literature when I first went to secondary school. One of her favourite poets was Gerald Manley- Hopkins and she used to make us learn a poem by heart every week. I remember lots and lots about her lessons and she taught me for five years. The fact that I can remember so much, so many years later is really testimony to her great skills as a teacher. She wasn’t afraid to depart from the syllabus, nor did she worry about preparing us for exams, she simply used her professional judgement to teach us what she felt we needed when we needed it. On one memorable occasion, whilst teaching us Ancient Greek she made an allusion to the origins of the First World War. She was startled to find out that at 14 years of age we knew nothing about the World Wars that had dominated the history of the Twentieth Century. She then stopped teaching Ancient Greek for a term and took us through the history of the Twentieth Century.
Perhaps Miss Cory-Wright was my inspiration to be a teacher? If I have had the same kind of influence that she had on me, with any of my students, I would be honoured. Miss Cory-Wright, I salute you!
I hope that we all have had the opportunity to be taught by inspired and inspiring teachers. Please tell us about your experience.
Lexis and patterns from today;
a form of assessment ( a type of judgement about ability)
a suffix ( the ending of a word)
predicate (the part of the sentance that gives information about the subject)
irresistable ( very attractive, so impossible to refuse)
to make an allusion to something ( a brief reference to something)
to be startled by something (to be suprised by something)
an inspiration to be something ( leading you to be something)
to salute someone ( to express admiration publicly)
inspired ( giving a good example)
inspiring (making you eager to learn something)
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