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Haggles

These days I've been teaching a class of adults.

It’s an evening class. Twice a week at my job with a well-known chain bushiban.

These are a GREAT group of students! Friendly and enthusiastic. Really into English.

Also, a pretty good representation of who you'll see in an evening class of adults: top age of fifty, down to the age of college-seniors. Of the students who are working I'd say about half of these are getting their tuition partially or wholly covered by their various companies.

Each class is an hour and a half long.

It's an even split of English proficiencies: half of the students are at middle level or below, the other half above average. Equal numbers of men and women.

Recently we had a chapter about shopping. Text book was all about a western supermarket.

On the night of the second class we had a dialogue in our book. Cashier and a customer at the supermarket checkout. This led to sidebar conversation about shopping in night markets.

Now, one thing that's special about Taiwan night markets is how CENTRAL haggling is. I mentioned to my students that back in the part of the west where I'm from we rarely haggle. After we all learned the word haggle my students said it essential! “You HAVE to haggle!” they cried!

Since they'd seen the anodyne cashier-shopper dialogue from the textbook that night, which, to its credit, was actually quite good, I thought I ask for a dialogue of a Night market Haggle as a homework assignment. (I know, I know - brave is the teacher who assigns ADULTS homework, but, as I mentioned, these are a passionate group of learners.)

When I collected the work found it instructive on two levels - first, in HOW the haggle is executed: the give and the take. The softening. The pushbacks. Fun to see! Especially how so many students writing independently deployed the same tactics. Seems there's an accepted route.

Second, instructive in illustrating the English abilities well-educated adults arrive with. (I've scanned the pages uncorrected.)

Hope you find it useful on both levels: as to the English abilities you might meet in a class of adults, and as to what strategies are best when it comes time to haggle!!

 
 
 
 
 

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