(Here’s a joke that’s all about ESL, but also makes a point about the “listen and repeat” passive learning that happens where students just learn common conversational phrases and don’t learn how to express themselves. I typed it out for a friend’s email and then thought I might as well post it here…It’s a great joke to tell when teaching Koreans and they say,”I’m fine thank you, and you?” everytime you ask them “How are you?” even when they look tired, sick as hell, or whatever… Even if it depends on a little awkward use of English, it’s still amusing. Sort of. The first time you hear it.)
A Korean man went on holiday to America and rented a car. Now, you know, people in America don’t drive the same as people in Korea, so this man was pretty scared sometimes. Especially because he was in California. People are crazy in California, as you know.
Finally, when he was driving on the highway, his car got hit by another car. It happened very fast, but the accident was very bad. The Korean man had forgotten to put on his seat belt, and went out the passenger window. He landed on his head, and felt like his leg was also broken. He was bleeding all over and felt horrible.
The driver of the other car was not hurt, but he was very worried. He ran over to the Korean tourist and asked him: “Is anything broken?”
The Korean didn’t understand him. He was bleeding all over.
The man asked, “Are you hurt badly?”
The Korean man still didn’t understand him. He couldn’t move because his arm was also broken.
The man asked, “How are you feeling?”
The Korean finally recognized those words, and very quickly smiled and said, [and when you tell this you should use your best schoolkid-repeating-teacher’s-words voice] “I’m fine, thank you. And you?”