Thursday, December 14, 2006

easy listening, levels 1 and 2

Last night, we finally finished a project we've been working on at HDS for several weeks: recording the audio CD for two English textbooks. The project has been sort of a moral dilemma for me, since the English in it is pretty bad (we corrected as many mistakes as we could, but since they wouldn't give us the scripts in advance, we couldn't do anything about the parts that really needed to be rewritten entirely). I didn't really want to contribute to incorrect English education, but I also didn't want to refuse to help the North Korean refugee school...if we had done that, they would have had to pay someone else to do it and ended up with the same crappy English and less money.

The project was really boring and took forever, frustratingly replacing some of our class time with the HDS kids, and often complicated by extremely strange variables--such as the day our recording room was infested with dozens of ladybugs, whose persistent "ping!"-ing into the fluorescent lights ruined many takes and eventually stopped production entirely (poor Jenny, as the tallest, was forced to murder most of the innocent ladybugs with bugspray and a rolled up script). Our only saving grace was the content of the text itself, which we found extremely interesting. Highlights included Kiki the fat but also cute hamster, young Charlie Chaplin, whose "hands were always black with shoe polish. But his eyes shone with hope," poor Minji whose boyfriend doesn't like her, a camel with humps on his back, and Mr. Advice. The text also tackled more serious and important issues, such as tolerating those who are different. The section on this subject is reproduced below in its entirety (before we edited it):

Listen and Read

Left-handed people often feel uncomfortable in our lives. They are not comfortable using "regular" scissors which are made for right-handed people. What's worse is that they are not allowed to use their left hand.
They say nine out of ten people are right-handed in the world. Many countries have been ruled by right-handed culture, and the right hand has been favored. And almost all things are made for the right-handed. people. Therefore, left-handed people have not been welcomed and have felt uncomfortable in their lives. This is especially strong in Korea where only about 5% of the population is left-handed.

What determines right-handedness or left-handedness? It is only determined by which side of the brain is more in control. A person becomes right-handed if the left side of the brain is more in control and left-handed if the right side of the brain is more in control. As you know, there are more right-handed people than left-handed people.

However, left-handed people are not less intelligent than right-handed people As evidence, many famous people such as Einstein, Beethoven, and Churchill were all left-handed.

Look at your two hands. They are of the same shape. Of the two hands, some people use their right hands more, and some people use their left hands more. I believe it's not important which hand you use.

What's more important is what you do with the hand. Your mother uses her hand to feel your temperature when you have a cold. Your friend uses a hand to hand over a handkerchief when you cry. Your teacher uses a hand to pat you on the back.

Does it matter whether these hands are the left or the right? I don't think so. Left handedness should be accepted as natural. We should be thoughtful of the left-handed on our everyday lives.

As a lefty, I feel very happy that Korean schoolchildren will soon have the capacity to understand and tolerate my people.

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