One of the many delights of teaching is when your students suddenly start formulating their own theories on learning, particulary if they are notions which you had been trying to get across to them perhaps even months ago.
This happened to me yesterday when one of my students who has always hated anything that approaches “book learning” and is only interested in making himself understood and understanding others. What he said was this; the important thing for him is to learn words which are pertinent to his situation and which can be used frequently. He is of course right. It’s what we all try to teach. Whenever I stray from the straight and narrow and come up with some wild, unusual word, I always tell them that they have a choice about whether or not to learn it.
And although I sincerely believe that in workplace contexts we need to be as “to the point” as possible and to highlight opportunities for multiple use, I also believe that a student should be able to learn something he probably won’t use again for years but which has piqued his curiosity.