Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Using philosophy

A couple of years ago I picked up a copy of 101 experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life by Roger - Pol Droit for a couple of pounds in a bargain bin of a bookshop in Bristol. I was fascinated by the titles and the fact that each experiment could be described in just a page or two. Over the last year I have been doing some of them (be warned they can get pretty weird - those wacky French, huh) as lessons either in class or with my private students.

Rant for Ten Minutes

The basic idea is that student chose a subject to rant about, but whatout genuinely getting angry and then vent off steam for a few minutes.

This proved particularly effective in one of my classes as everyone shouted their heads off (in English, I may add) and it proved to be a wonderful way for them to practice and more importantly inject some emotion into their language. It is all too common for students when speaking to sound "robotic", almost like a computer read text, as they are so busy trying to remember the correct word or grammar rule that they forget that they are speaking to fellow human beings and not just "solving an exercise".

I always tell them they have got to put more of themselves into their English, to become as expressive emotionally (which includes anger as well as all the other stuff) as possible. Just because you want to speak English well doesn't mean you have to burden yourself with all the cultural baggage that goes with being English (or American, Irish, Jamaican etc.)

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