Shengliver’s Note: Digital technology has made language learning “a breeze”. New ways of learning that were unimaginable decades ago are now a day-to-day reality thanks to the achievements in science and technology. I am a staunch supporter of using the technology for learning English. While many teachers in China ban the use of digital players among their students, I encourage my pupils to get one and use it for listening practice. However, a lot of kids abuse their digital player in various ways. The following entry was written in the spring of 2005. My readers will find a soft Shengliver turning hard in this incident. Actually the gadget is just one of the many I have killed over the years. The other day I came across this entry in the archive files and found it readable. I have made a couple of revisions and here it is for my readers.


I destroyed an e-gadget in my class yesterday.


It belonged to one of my lazy students, who is from a super-rich family. His parents got it for him because it is said to be able to assist a learner in learning the English language. Its advertisement is everywhere, on TV, on the air, in the newspaper and on the web. It is a small computer as a matter of fact, with a built-in memory. A dictionary is in it and it contains lots of English exercises, too. And it can speak English in all ways possible – British, American, and Australian. But I am afraid the best advantage of it is that it is also a game player. This additional function pleased the owner most, and it was extremely popular with his friends, too. They played on it after class, in class (secretly and openly) and in bed. I hated this gadget because I could not afford one though I am a teacher of English. It beats me for lots of things. It knows more English vocabulary words than I do. I feel ashamed anytime I think of it. And it entertained some of my students, helping them kill what they called the boring school time.


During the course of my lesson, one of the kids was busily fingering the device in his desk while keeping an eye on me. The game was so absorbing that the player did not notice me getting closer and closer. He got startled when I abruptly said with a grin, "May I have a look?" He hesitated for a moment before he handed it over, thinking I would play on it as well. The moment it was put in my palm, it was sent flying toward the blackboard. By the way, the blackboard in our school is of high quality. First of all, it is made up of four smaller boards. Secondly, it is mobile, enabling the teacher to move the four boards up and down. Thirdly it is made of metal, very hard metal. The last quality was what I desired for this occasion.


"Bang! Bang! Crash!" The gadget hit the board, bounced off it and danced about the floor. A hush fell over the room, for I had killed something worth 1290 yuan, which one of my pets later told me.


Actually, the gadget I killed was loathed by many for various reasons. Some could not afford one, like me. Some wanted to play on it but their request was refused. Others simply thought it distracted the kids’ attention from their learning. Whatever the reason, what I did was applauded by all the students, of course except the owner and the kid who had been playing on it. The owner glared at me, eyes flaming and teeth baring. "Wanna fight?" I said warmly.


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