I try not to say that I know everything. A lot of times, I don't. And there are a lot of times when I really, honestly feel that I will never, ever, know everything.
I have a student who hates grammar. I don't think that "hate" is too strong a word, here. This is a problem in classes, obviously, because grammar forms a big part of commmunication: if you don't have the structure, it's very difficult to communicate well.
I just found out why this person hates grammar. As a kid, this person was taught by priests who would physically abuse the students when the students made mistakes. From what the student told me, humiliation made up a big part of classroom time; students were not given any kind of positive feedback or encouragement while they were in class. They just tried NOT to get beaten up while they were learning. Thirty years later, grammar still means humiliation, still means revealing how stupid you are....
How can you fix something like that?
How much is the teacher RESPONSIBLE for fixing things like that?
We have come to an agreement that we will focus on vocabulary and expressions for the next little while. Vocabulary is safe, it's not risky or dangerous. I know that this is not effective teaching, but there are times when being a teacher is less important than being a facilitator and coach.
Part of me thinks: This is not my problem. But it is my problem. I have an unspoken contract to help this person as much as I can, and if grammar is not helping, well, it'll just have to wait for now.
Oh, Spain...if only you guys had gone through the 1960s and had the benefit of educational psychology...we wouldn't be dealing with the scars, forty years on...
In the meantime: vocabulary, and lots of it. Let's see if that helps.