china · in the classroom · teaching

In the Classroom #1


It is Christmas Eve here, and I thought it would be nice to interrupt the monotony of lessons with a movie: Christmas-themed, of course. The smog had almost denied me (and the students) the pleasure, but it lightened towards the end of yesterday, and I had enough time to download two movies.

Elf and the Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas-themed movies, but I realized rather quickly that the lower level students would be unable to follow it. The songs were, well, songs. We take it for granted, but music is far harder to understand than idle conversation.

The class ran as normal for an hour (each lesson being two), but after the halfway break I went around and turned off all the lights. Rather quickly, it became clear to the room something was going to happen. I could not help but smirk when one student went, “movie?” as soon as the lights dimmed.

The volume was rather low, and it infuriates me that I only realized the problem after the lesson had finished. It worked out for the best, however, because the volume was low enough to be heard, but too low to allow for conversation.

While much of the humor was lost on the students, their English (and the volume) being too low, there was enough physical humor to leave the students laughing regularly.

I had far less success with the other class. Their level being higher, and my love for the Nightmare Before Christmas being too great, I decided against showing them Elf as well. I knew they would enjoy it more, but I really wanted to share Tim Burton’s work with the class.

It started out well, a number of gasps and exclamations. For a few brief moments I thought, “Frozen is so popular; why shouldn’t this be? They’re both musicals. They’re both animated.”

As the movie continued, much of the class put their heads down and slept. I thought about switching over to Elf, but, forget the students, I was enjoying it.

The class had to suffer up to Kidnap Mister Sandy Claws before the bell freed them. Offhandedly, I asked the class what they thought as they packed up.

Horrible, was one of the comments.



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