III.  Analyze the meaning

The first place to look in is the dictionary.   I want to be sure of some of the embedded strands of meaning or concepts contained within my bit of target language.

The first use of the word professional does not match the set of core concepts that I would like to present to my students.  

The second entry seems closer to the first than to my target.  I can see that Oxford suggests the same OPPOSITE as in the first entry.  

The core concepts of the word that I am conveying describes the quality of an individual or something closer to that in the context of jobs and work   While these additional definitions and examples may be useful to students, it is not going to help them if I include this in my context of my Watch Me Teach video or Gap Fill.  Thus, I will not look carefully at definition and use #1.and #2.

The third use of the word professional does not match the set of core concepts that I would like to convey. This usage is mainly concerned with the level of education and training of an individual.  Important but extraneous at this point.  However, I do find the mention of the topic of jobs to be useful.  I will set the main topic of my PFT Activity around this and/or People in Jobs.  Or something like that.   

The fifth entry seems to match up with the set of core concepts that I would like to present to my students.

In fact, one of the sentences is very similar to my target language sentence.  Here are the two dictionary meanings that I write down on some scrap paper as I go along.  However, I will continue right to the end of the list of entries to make sure something doesn't intersect and trigger something from my own knowledge and experience. 

---showing that somebody is well trained and extremely skilled 

---suitable or appropriate for somebody working in a particular profession 

I will come back to these in a moment.  But first, I look at the rest of the entries in the dictionary. I can imagine using some descriptive sentences about the individual's conduct that met with the standards of the school and the forestry company I worked at respectively, so I will hold these definitions together with the others. 

Now I need to do some more homework. I check other dictionaries and narrow in on the entry that highlights the core set of concepts that I wish to convey to my students through my context.  Here is what I gathered.

---following a line of conduct as though it were a profession (Merriam Webster)

---having the qualities that you connect with trained and skilled people, such as effectiveness, skill, organization, and seriousness of manner (Cambridge)

---conforming to the standards of a profession (Your dictionary)

I now have some dictionary entries to help me work key concepts into my video context.  My target language sentence is:

She was very professional.  

According to my research, this sentence really means a combination of the following in the context of her conduct and level of competence at work.

  • She was skilled at what she did and well trained for the job.
  • She did the job to expectation.
  • She was effective, organized and serious at work.
  • She presented appropriately and talked appropriately at work.

I must think about a way to work these concepts into the context that I create for my students.  But I will do this after I think ahead to the final task on the Watch Me Teach page, which is the live class PFT Activity at Stage FOUR of this construction guide.

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