In the first meeting with each of my intermediate-and-higher classes, I ask each student to make a list of their favourite English words and bring it back at our next class. I tell them that this is probably the only homework I’ll ever give them. That makes them smile. Hopefully, it helps them like me too.
After they give me their lists, I go to Wordle and create a word cloud that suits the gist of the words and the person they come from. It’s way too fun! The collection on our classroom wall is growing, and I like to see students perusing the random, colorful words. My list is up there too, giving opportunity to enlarge their vocabulary when they ask what “fuchsia” means, and “dazzle” and “magnanimous.”
Finding myself in a new country, surrounded by a new language, I find myself emptier of words than is normal for me. Even my journal entries are tending to be bumpier, more fragmented than before. Not to mention that my blogging has nearly stopped. But this silence, this taking-in and observing, is good. It’s a kind of rest, and words are still alive to me. Even if I can’t string them together so well right now. I am empowering others by handing them basic English words and concepts, one word at time, and that’s ok for now.
I don’t know if I’ll ever understand the significance of Christ being the Word of God. There is something mysteriously powerful about a word, even if they say a picture is worth a thousand words. A person’s words reveals their heart, their character, their dreams and passions. That’s why I like to collect my student’s favourite words. It’s why I like the stories in the Gospels, and hear the words Jesus used for the people in His world.
Words are impractical and practical, beautiful and useful. I love words.