I Left My Head and Heart on the Dance Floor

Nope. This is still no tell-all of my secret romances, and definitely not a revelation of my non-existent life of partying and clubbing either…

Confused? Then do catch up by reading the first two posts about my wonderful Advanced class:

MLearning, Mini Whiteboards, and Emergent Stuff


Only in a Dogme Class

In yesterday’s blogpost, I described another lesson with this class.

To recap…(I can hear Kiefer Sutherland‘s deep voice resonating in my head, ‘Previously, in Chia’s class…‘)

  • My students re-arranged the lyrics of Tom Waits’s I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You‘ while listening to the song.
  • A discussion about pub etiquette in different countries and chat up lines ensued.
  • Students listened again and visualise the lead character of the song.
  • Student made drew sketches of the lead character accompanied by descriptions of him and his history.
  • Students looked at each other’s work.
  • Students wrote a dialogue based on the two characters meeting again, and performed it to the class.

(For more details, see Part Three yesterday : All Because I Hoped I Didn’t Fall in Love with You. )

As homework, students had to print out the lyrics of their favourite English song and bring it to class the next day.

This is (Part Four) what happened the next day…

The following day, after a thorough recall of what they did the day before, the students animatedly told their partners about the songs they have picked. The conversations went from the use of metaphor in Elton John’s Rocket Man, to the syncing of Pink Floyd’s album The Dark Side Of The Moon to The Wizard Of Oz, to how commercialization of singers like Adele could turn listeners off. We then talked about the concerts that we had been to and somehow the conversation led to Lady Gaga and how some of the students felt that she was being dramatic and shocking for the sake of album sales.

I asked students if they had seen the music video of Lady Gaga’s Telephone, and when all of them replied in the negative, a brainwave struck.

I put the students in groups of three and had one of the three with their back facing the IWB. As I played the music video, the other two students had to describe what they were seeing to their partner, who would then furiously take notes. A third of the way into the video, I paused it and got them to swap seats so that a different student was now unable to see the screen.

Straight after screening the music video, I conducted open class feedback and got the students who did not see the relevant sections to try and explain to the class with the help of their notes what they had ‘seen’ in the video.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise, but the groups that consisted of girls seemed to have only described the clothes and accessories that Lady Gaga was wearing, while the group with all the boys consistently said things like, ‘Then a helicopter flew by, and she got into a car. A car with red and yellow flames.’ Perhaps we are reverting back to gender stereotypes a little here, but it certainly got us all laughing as we realized the differences in what the different groups were describing to their group mates!

Meanwhile, there was a lot of opportunity for feeding in language students needed, e.g. barb wire fence, surveillance camera, police tape, prison warden, fancy dress party, safety pins, a fight broke out, etc.

As we watched the video a second (this time with no one back facing the screen), students had to note the number of product placements and brand names that were featured in the video, and had to answer the question ‘What is the message behind this video?’

(Why don’t you try this with the Youtube video link above? Answers in Part Five, to be published tomorrow…)

In feedback, some of the students pointed out the references to ‘Thelma & Louise‘ and ‘Kill Bill’ at the end of the video, but our three hours were up, and so I instructed students to do some online research on the pop artist ‘Roy Lichenstein’ as homework, and to draw relations between his work and the music video.

Sorry for making y’all wait for the continuation of the blogpost. But as Lady Gaga says, ‘I’m k-kinda busy’…

Part Five, Concluding Part : To be continued tomorrow…

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