My next thought was that it is a wonder that anyone becomes fluent in a second language. I guess I was rationalizing my poor French (which nonetheless has served me well these last two weeks - thank you Madame Bowman). But after class I asked some students to do brief video interviews. I gave them a choice of languages. Once again I was blown away by their skills. Some chose Spanish, some English, some French. The best was a girl who spoke amazingly fluent English with an American accent. When I asked her where she learned she said, “Oh I haven’t taken any lessons, but I like to watch American movies.” That’s it, just watch some movies, no problem.
That being said, I have observed that this same class does not do as well when given out-of-the-blue questions, which are my favorite. There is a lot more memorization in Moroccan education, but less emphasis on problem solving and synthesizing ideas. You need both skills really. If you could blend the best of American and Moroccan education you’d have some pretty formidable students.
And now I am in Rabat awaiting the arrival of my American colleagues. It is time to find a café for some serious relaxation. Until tomorrow…