A wonderful story for class discussion

NYPC – Hard Knocks from laurie lynch on Vimeo.

This is a fun video to do with class, in part because the story it tells is so open to interpretation. And anything that gives rise to lots of discussion has got to be good for a language class.

The following is approximately what I did with a small group of Upper Intermediate learners…

  • Watched the first 90 seconds, simultaneously in pairs discussing the ages of the two main protagonists of the story; their characters; the relationship between them; and whether or not she likes him;
  • Watched the next 90 seconds, seeking particularly to determine which of us was "right" on the points we disagreed most on;
  • At 3'00" discussed that and how it was going to end;
  • Stopped at 3'35" to have second opinion on that…
  • Stopped again on 4'00" to discuss what had just happened;
  • And then watched it through to the end… Did we like the ending?

As a follow-up, you could exploit the lyrics in some way, such as attempting to transcribe them (though they're quite hard) and/or set some form of collaborative writing task that would enable the learners to recycle the new vocabulary.

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  1. Not sure, but I think I got that one via Twitter (yay!), by "following" Vimeo (@Vimeo), which Kieran Donaghy recommended to me.

    Kieran has a wonderful blog with clips and lesson plans.

  2. Liked some of the ideas suggested by trainees on the CELTA course who I showed this to yesterday.

    Getting them to create their own video (Anna?) I particularly liked. Requires a certain amount of creativity and imagination (a good thing!!!), but it's now so easy to do with mobile phones (quality, particular sound, tends to be low) or tablets.

  3. Having had a little longer to try this one out with learners and with CELTA course trainees, I'd add that in the second 90 seconds you might want people to talk as they watch about:

    -Whether their thoughts on ages (etc) are confirmed?
    -What is happening?
    -What the significance of the flower is (if any)?
    -What the object in the cubicle (around 2'40") is?

    You want your learners to be active, not merely passively watch, so do encourage them to talk!

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