Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Mona Stiles is My Nemesis

I'm not the best English teacher in the world, but at least I'm not this woman:

Her name is Mona Stiles, and she's a theater instructor at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. And, for some reason, she has her own educational show on Japanese TV in which she teaches English as a second language. The show is called Terebi De Ryugaku, which means "What In God's Name Is That Woman Blathering About?"

Don't misunderstand my frustration; there are plenty of English instruction TV shows in which people from various walks of life pose as teachers, and I'm fine with that. But Ms. Stiles is, in particular, a pebble in my shoe by virtue of her awful teaching techniques. This woman talks throughout the entire lesson while her students stare at her, apparently bored and/or completely unaware of what she's talking about. And how could they possibly know what she's talking about? Half the time, I don't know what she's talking about. Consider this example:

Mona: Who knows what "tongue-in-cheek" means? That means something is kind of like, "er-er!" You know what "er-er" means?


In the same episode, Mona gives one of her students a special assignment: Walk up to a complete stranger in Central Park and tell them a joke of your own design. Now before you call me "harsh," witness this joke my kid brother made up when he was three years old:

Knock-knock. Who's there? Camera power. Camera power who? Camera power wower.

Truth be told, Mona Stiles is just the most recent in a series of horrible teachers to host Terebi De Ryugaku. If this theater teacher can have her own English show, then I want my own show called So You Want to Build a Harpsichord.

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