22 Lessons from Blindness (Part II)

Continued from 22 Lessons from Blindness (Part I)

13) Just as the sceptre does not make the king, the certificate doesn’t make the communicator:

‘Just as the habit does not make the monk, the sceptre does not make the king.’

14) Teach situations, not just detached language (TBL):

‘Hell, I’ll never get out of here, she thought, using an expression that formed no part of her usual vocabulary, once more showing that the force and nature of circumstances have considerable influence over language.’

15) Teach nuance in meaning:

‘Just imagine, stairs that I used to be able to go up and down with my eyes clothes, clichés are like that, they are insensitive to the thousand subtleties of meaning, this one, for example, does not know the difference between closing one’s eyes and being blind.’

16) Expression and body language make up approximately 55% of communication (depending on the study you believe):

‘The eyes strictly speaking, have no expression, not even when they have been plucked out, they are two round objects that remain inert, it is the eyelids, the eyelashes and the eyebrows, that have to take on board the different visual eloquences and rhetorics, notwithstanding that this is normally attributed to the eyes.’

17) Clothes – vocabulary? Body – grammar?

‘It is better to have clean clothes on a dirty body, than to have dirty clothes on a clean body.’

18) “Do you have time to do 30 minutes of listening practice every single day?” Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The strength must be found:

‘The question is not whether we have enough strength, the question is whether we can allow ourselves to leave this woman here, Certainly not, said the doctor, Then the strength must be found.’

19) Teach a person, not a coursebook:

‘The difficult thing isn’t living with other people, it’s understanding them.’

20) Attitude is everything:

‘We are already half dead, said the doctor, We are still half alive too, answered his wife.’

21) Silence is golden:

‘None of the others said anything, nobody congratulated them, nobody expressed wishes of eternal happiness, to tell the truth these are not the times for festivities and hopes…Silence is the best applause.’

22) Everybody has potential:

‘You never know beforehand what people are capable of, you have to wait, give it time, it’s time that rules, time is our gambling partner on the other side of the table and it holds all the cards of the deck in its hands.’

Recommended reading if you’re a human being; no need to be an English teacher for this one!

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