Monday, January 28, 2008
Using Famous Personalities and Celebrities in Content-Based Language Learning
Evel Knievel Isn’t Dead
Whenever a famous entertainer, celebrity or historic figure becomes newsworthy, don’t let the opportunity to motivate and involve your learners pass you by. Instead, use it to delve more deeply into the cultural elements and language hat spawned that person. Then watch as your learners begin to grow and develop their English or other foreign language skills almost as if by magic. The late motorcycle stuntman extraordinaire Evel Knievel isn’t “dead” and neither are hundreds of other celebrities, personalities, news-makers of our recent and distant past. Let them help you and your learners to develop communicative skills in the English language. Don’t forget, these same principles can be easily applied to the teaching and learning of many other foreign languages as well.
Using Famous Personalities and Celebrities in CBL
Using famous personalities, historic figures and celebrities in Content-based Learning (Richards and Rodgers,1993) is a way to lower the Affective Filter (Krashen Terrell, 1983) of your learners and truly get them highly motivated and involved in English or other foreign language acquisition. Let’s consider the late Evel Knievel as an example then.
Are motorcycles popular and frequently used where you are? What are some well-known makes and models? What kind of bikes did Evel Knievel use? (Can you say Harley-Davidson?) Not only can your learners investigate his life, his stunts and his bikes, but they can look for and watch videos on YouTube and additional video archive sites, read news clippings of his exploits and view photos from the various stages of his life along with related articles and clips online. Have learners explain how to ride a motorcycle too.
To start you all off try the several historic videos of Evel Knievel online at YouTube or his official website at: http://www.evelknievel.com/. And don’t just blindly accept the blasé “book report” type of presentation either. Ask for and demand better for these and future assignments or expositions by your learners.
Try Multi-format or Multi-modal Presentations
Have them try some different or multi-format presentations like:
• time line graphs
• audio-visual presentations
• video clips
• power point slides
• scrap book presentations
Only the imagination and ingenuity that you and your learners apply will limit the English as a foreign language or other foreign language teaching and learning possibilities for you and your learners.
Again, whenever a famous entertainer, celebrity or historic figure becomes newsworthy, don’t let the opportunity to motivate and involve your learners pass you by. Instead, use it to delve more deeply into the cultural elements and language hat spawned that person. Then watch as your learners begin to grow and develop their English or other foreign language skills almost as if by magic. And while they’re at it they’ll a bit of fun too.
Be sure to let me know of any comments, experiences and special results that you may have.
For some great tips, tricks and techniques for quickly and easily learning virtually any of the world’s 6912 living languages just click HERE
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. For more information on entering into or advancing in the fascinating field of ELT send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, send an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail: email@example.com