Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sex and The English Class

by AJ

Last week I started using "Sex & The City" during the last hour of my English class. Not surprisingly, its a huge hit-- both from a language learning and an enjoyment point of view.

Sex & The City is perfect for English class. Its filled with plenty of high-frequency conversational words, plenty of natural idioms, and a decent dose of "higher level" vocabulary. In addition, the show's format is a perfect discussion generator. In every episode, the main character asks a series of questions about love, dating, and relationships. These questions are provocative & interesting class discussion topics.

Thus, last week we discussed:

Are all men bums?
What are your breakup rules?
Is quickly rebounding with another man/woman a good idea?
How long does it take to get over an ex?
Is there a gender double standard for dating?

All this from just one episode.

Another great thing about using Sex & The City is that these discussion questions don't come out of the blue-- created randomly by me. Rather, they come directly from the episode's themes and stories-- thus its easy for students to talk about these topics even if they can't (or don't want to) relate to them personally. They can always frame their opinions and ideas in terms of the show's characters (of course most are more than eager to talk about these topics on a personal level).

Contrast this kind of interesting and provocative discussion with the normal "ESL class"-- in which the teacher distributes some lame vignette from a commercial textbook, along with a set of stiff & contrived "comprehension and discussion questions". Students yawn, skim through the mini-article, and give the briefest possible answer to the canned questions.

No such problem with Sex & The City-- most students can't stop talking about it.

San Francisco, CA