portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Friday, July 23, 2010

So...... (oh come on! Ed.) I am minded to say something about Volunteers. Now lots of the social care network, locally at least, has cause to rely on volunteer programmes and this is of course highly laudable and gets boxes ticked and little brownie points everywhere but as a colleague pointed out to me today this can result in …..er, well what shall we say, certain communication difficulties.
Aforementioned colleague told me the tale today of a hostel not too far from the Drop-in I now find myself working in about their taking on a Japanese volunteer who it would seem had absolutely no English, ….well none to speak of [oh very good! Ed.]

Now it came to pass that someone took the enlightened view that a colleague had cause to know a teacher of TEFL [Oxford is full of them! TEFL teachers that is] After a while my colleague asked the teacher how the Japanese volunteer’s lessons were going and how they were progressing as engaging with our clientele can be a bit of a stretch even if we can speak full blown Queen’s English [not that it’s hers really ed.]
The TEFL teacher explained that there was a hitherto unforeseen problem dealing with a Japanese person working in the social care field that involved not so much learning but rather a certain aspect of un-learning.

‘How so?’ my colleague enquired

“Well when asking my Japanese student volunteering for your good offices, what she had learnt in the way of phrases or words she may have heard that day she replied rather proudly, that she had learned the following –

Today I have learned “ I put a fucking bet on a fucking horse down the fucking bookies and the fucking horse fucking lost!