Every (Rain) Cloud Has a Silver Lining

19-Jul-2012

Contrary to popular belief, in Britain we don’t always talk about the weather. But Becca’s post last week about idioms and “raining cats and dogs” inspired me as that has been the story in the UK since…well what seems like forever. Unfortunately for all those students who have travelled here to spend a couple of months learning English while lounging around in London, sunning themselves in Stratford-upon-Avon or at the beach in Brighton, this summer has been a bit of a wash-out.

However, just like the stereotype, we Brits like to keep a stiff upper lip and make the most of it. The UK plays host to a vast number of events and outdoor activities every summer whatever the weather and 2012 has been no exception. Just look at the celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee, for example, when a million people lined the River Thames to watch a boat parade and enormous queues for tickets to watch our very own Andy Murray at Wimbledon, despite the pouring rain.

But it’s at music festivals where people really get stuck in, come rain or shine. And why not? The UK produces some of the best musical talent and is home to some of the world’s most famous festivals like Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight Festival. Rain often forms an integral part of the experience for many festival-goers with getting knee-deep in mud a true rite of passage.

This weekend I found myself at the relatively small but perfectly-formed Traction Festival in London, (my third wet festival of the year) which brought together diverse acts from across Europe. We were also treated to torrential rain and some very attractive ponchos and umbrellas (obligatory embarrassing picture to be found below) – but that dampened nobody’s spirits and, in fact, only served to make everyone all the more determined to have fun.

If a class on weather is a little dull, then why not take some inspiration from the Music area of Culture World to get your students talking about music and festivals. You’ll find some great listening activities, videos and interviews which would be a great introduction to a topic that’s bound to get your students talking – particularly if you teach young adults or teenagers. This could be a stimulating springboard to pairwork discussing favourite types of music or festival experiences. The videos and role play (complete with interviewers with umbrellas) in ‘Talking About Music Choices’ (ID: CWO4215) talk about the advantages and disadvantages of certain ways of listening to music which you could use to start a lively debate.

Peter

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