52 – A year of subversive activity for the ELT classroom

FINAL-52-Cover-for-KindleThe authors of 52 – Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings – kindly made available six of their awesome actives to be displayed on our website. We are going to publish one of them each month, starting today. Enjoy! And if you like these samples, head over to The Round and buy the full book. By doing so you get all 52 activities and support a group of creative ELT writers so they can keep producing great stuff for teachers to use all over the world.

7

Subversive

The following are characteristics of the ‘subversive’ teacher, according to the authors Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner in their book, Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1971). The convention at this time was to refer to an unnamed person as ‘he’; today we would write ‘he or she’, or ‘they’.

1. The teacher rarely tells students what he thinks.

2. Generally, he does not accept a single statement as an answer to a question.

3. He encourages student–student interaction as opposed to student–teacher interaction, and generally avoids acting as a mediator, or judging the quality of ideas expressed.

4. He rarely summarizes the positions taken by students on the learnings that occur. He recognizes that the act of summary or “closure” tends to have the effect of ending further thought.

5. Generally, each of his lessons poses a problem for students.

6. His lessons develop from the responses of students and not from a previously determined “logical” structure.

What do you think? Do you think this how a teacher should be?

How many of these things do you feel are characteristic of your lessons?

What do your learners think?

This activity comes from 52: A year of subversive activity for the language teacher, written by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings. The whole book is available for €5.00 at the round (http://the-round.com/resource/52/). This activity is reproduced here with permission from the authors.

10

Swap

Look through a newspaper or magazine and cut out any ads that feature a man and a woman. They might be the kind of scenes where a couple sit at a cafe table, or people are in a bar.

Ask learners to describe the image.

Then ask them to imagine the same scene with:

A same-sex couple instead of a man and woman

People with disabilities

People of different races to the ones depicted

People who are very old

Ask these questions:

– In the imagined scene, does the ad still work? Why or why not?

– Do you think we need more images of these alternative couples in advertising?

Acknowledgment: John Berger suggests an exercise along these lines when looking at the female nude in Western art in his book, Ways of Seeing (1972)

This activity comes from 52: A year of subversive activity for the language teacher, written by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings. The whole book is available for €5.00 at the round (http://the-round.com/resource/52/). This activity is reproduced here with permission from the authors.

23

Police

Essential information for any learners travelling to the US would be what their rights are if they are stopped by the police. Make a copy of the following text.

If you are stopped by the police, immigration officers or the FBI:

You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.

You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.

If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.

You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.

Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights.

Use each of these ‘rights’ to roleplay a situation. One learner plays the police officer, stopping learner B, who is walking past a demonstration. Learner B has to communicate their ‘right’.

Depending on where you are teaching, it may be worth asking learners if they know their rights regarding being stopped by the police in their country.

The rights shown above come from The American Civil Liberties Union (http://www.aclu.org/).

If you want to use a UK instead of a US example, see the Association of Police Authorities’ ‘Know your Rights’ campaign (http://www.apa.police.uk).

This activity comes from 52: A year of subversive activity for the language teacher, written by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings. The whole book is available for €5.00 at the round (http://the-round.com/resource/52/). This activity is reproduced here with permission from the authors.

26

Free market

Give the learners the following situation:

Imagine a very good school in a small town. The school can accommodate 300 students, but it has recently become very popular. There are now 2,000 people who wish to become students at this school. There is no way to make the school site any bigger.

What solutions can you offer?

How can the school decide which students to accept?

Let learners brainstorm ideas, and write some of these on the board. If there are any suggestions about making the school bigger, remind them that is not possible.

Once learners have run out of ideas, tell them to imagine the following:

The school begins charging 500 dollars per student per year. The number of people wishing to come in drops to 1,500. Next, the school charges 1,000 dollars. The number of people drops to 700. At 2,000 dollars per student per year, there are only 315 people left who are still signing up to come to the school because the others cannot afford it.

Ask learners:

– Can you think of situations where this sort of thing happens in real life?

– Do you think this is a fair solution?

This activity comes from 52: A year of subversive activity for the language teacher, written by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings. The whole book is available for €5.00 at the round (http://the-round.com/resource/52/). This activity is reproduced here with permission from the authors.

34

Life (1 & 2)

Write the life stages in list 1 on cards and jumble them up. Do the same with list 2. (Don’t mix cards from list 1 with cards from list 2 at this stage.)

Divide the class into two groups; give one group the cards from list 1, and the other group the cards from list 2. Ask each group to put the cards in order. Tell them they can leave out or repeat some stages if they like.

When they have finished, tell them to display their cards, in order. Each group looks at the other group’s life.

As a whole class, talk about what factors might have influenced the way these lives turned out.

Now mix the cards and give each group half. Tell them to make a life story for someone based on these cards.

Invite learners to think about and discuss the following questions:

– How do we get into trouble in life?

– How can we get out of it?

This activity comes from 52: A year of subversive activity for the language teacher, written by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings. The whole book is available for €5.00 at the round (http://the-round.com/resource/52/). This activity is reproduced here with permission from the authors.

41

Protest

No matter where it may be, from the streets of Chicago to those of Cairo, when people are out demonstrating you will see signs in English. Used to attract the attention of the international media, English has become the international language of protest.

Here are some popular protest sentence stems and chunks, with examples.

[name of person] time to go! / [name of person] out now!

(e.g. Mr President time to go!)

[-ing form + to-infinitive] is like putting out fire with gasoline.

(e.g. Waging war to stop terrorism is like putting out fire with gasoline.)

[plural name of profession] against [whatever you’re against]

(e.g. Librarians against budget cuts!)

They’re selling [whatever you’re against]. We’re not buying.

(e.g. They’re selling war. We’re not buying.)

[thing you want] not [thing you are against]

(e.g. Conversation, not confrontation. / Brains not bombs).

See what your learners can come up with themselves!

This activity comes from 52: A year of subversive activity for the language teacher, written by Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings. The whole book is available for €5.00 at the round (http://the-round.com/resource/52/). This activity is reproduced here with permission from the authors.

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