the Okay Syndrome

okayOccasionally I teach English at college, and one of the things I love to do is walk into class on a Monday morning with this sprightly question, “So how was your weekend?”.

I love challenging my students to a tough question first thing Monday morning to get their brain juices going, right 😉 ? Even though I know the standard one-word answer I get every time will be a fairly lifeless “Okay”.

I’m not talking about students who are new to the English language. These are kids who’ve recently graduated from high/secondary school, some of whom are in the habit of scoring strings of A’s even.

So how was your weekend? – Okay!

Uh-ha, so what’s ‘okay’ mean – exactly? Is that ‘okay’ as in borderline boring but tolerable? Or ‘okay’ as in lots of fun but the rain drenched your spirits somewhat? For some strange reason, everything here is ‘okay’, a word that doesn’t really say much at all.

You want some pizza? – Okay!

How was your English test? – Okay!

What do you think of the new boy/girl in your class? – Okay!

Well, it’s time to shake that Okay Syndrome. You can help your kids improve their vocab by pointing out new things to them. Get them reading. Make it fun to learn new words. Take it from me, having a wider English vocab would really help them express themselves better when they get to college 😉 .

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