Comedy in the classroom

26-Nov-2010

One of the greatest challenges facing any teacher is injecting fun into their lessons and keeping material lively. With this in mind I came up with the following activity which became one of my favorite to teach and a nice way to reward students after completing a particularly difficult activity or exam.
Approx 40 mins.

Lead-in
1) Write ‘Humour’ on the board.

Check meaning is understood (beware it’s a false friend in some languages with mood).

Challenge them to come up with a definition in pairs.

Open-class

Try and agree on one final definition of Humour (example definition – the quality that makes a situation or entertainment funny).

Discussion

Is humor universal? Do different countries have a different sense of homour?

Write quote on board and discuss-

“Comedy = Tragedy + Time” – Woody Allen

2) Brainstorm vocabulary related to comedy.

Person
Comedian/Comedienne
Clown

Types of comedy program

* Stand-up (a series of jokes performed while standing alone on a stage/in front of a camera)
* Sketch show (series of short comic scenes, usually not connected)
* Sitcom (a series that involves a continuing cast of characters & storylines i.e. Friends)
* Slap-stick (very physical comedy in which the humour depends upon violent activity, being silly etc)
* Panel Shows (topical programs talking about the week’s events usually with celebrities)
Activity

Say that you are going to look at clips to demonstrate three of the styles (the first two have limited dialogue and serve just to demonstrate the style).

Sketch show
Smack the Pony

Slap-stick
Mr Bean

Stand-up
Michael Macintyre

Pre-teach
Frisk = To search a person for something concealed.
The use of ‘go’ for ‘say’.

Watch the clip through once-

Put students in pairs and ask them to take a look at the transcript (you could also ask students to spot the grammatical mistake in the transcript) underlining any parts they find difficult.
Go though the text as a class and then rewatch the clip, 3 times on request!

Transcript

Follow-up
Put students into groups of 3.
Give them 5 minutes to think up a joke in their own language and then translate it into English, go around providing correction as they work.
Each group then nominates one person to share the joke with the class.
Does the humour translate?

Nerys

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