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10 Reasons English Is Hard To Teach Abroad

Posted by Randy LeGrant | Jul 10, 2013, 10:05:00 AM

Teach English AbroadAs if we needed to list out reasons ... we all know, even those of us who are native speakers, English is tough.  How many times have you heard your friends at school say, "I don't know where I put it at."  Or, "I don't know where it's at."  And of course, the proper way to say that is, "I don't know where it is."

But there are homonyms that drive new speakers of English right up the wall.  homonym is, in the strict sense, one of a group of words that share the same spelling and the same pronunciation but have different meanings.  A good example would be, "When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes."

If you're on our Teach in Thailand program or our Teach in Myanmar program and you begin this lesson, it isn't going to last an hour.  If you can get through homonyms in a week, you'll be lucky.

I thought it might be fun in this post to list out my favorite homonyms that gave me the most trouble when I was a teacher.  And that was so long ago, I think God was a baby at the time.

  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • He could lead, if only he would get the lead out.
  • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen on how to row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  • After a number of injections, my jaw got number.
  • Upon seeing a tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
And then there is my all time favorite:
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
There is no real easy way to teach someone homonyms ... and that goes for native speakers as well.  Since our teachers do read our Blog, and use some of the posts in their lesson plans, can someone take a minute and tell us in the Comment section below how they teach homonyms?

Written by Randy LeGrant

Randy is the Executive Director of the GeoVisions Foundation. He has spent the last 44 years managing organizations that send people abroad on cultural and educational exchanges.

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