Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Yay for google

I don't know how I would teach without the internet. In particular, I have become completely dependent on google for sourcing material for my classes.

Since February, when I began in this job, I have been teaching English classes for asylum seekers. For the last six months I have split the learners into two levels.

For the basic class I prepare a lot of the materials myself. After a lot of resistance, I've given in to student pressure and begun to include a high amount of grammatical content.

For the advanced class, I've recently decided that we will focus on current affairs. It's something that keeps all the students (and me!) interested. Plus, it's super easy to source a huge range of texts on the internet.

Currently, we're studying Hong Kong politics. Elections were held here a month ago for LegCo (the legislative council) and one of the most interesting results was the election of "Long Hair", a radical democracy protester, as a legislator.

For my last class it took all of five minutes to find numberous different images of protests using google image search. I used these as prompts for a discussion activity to start the class.

It then took just a little longer to search articles giving a range of viewpoints on Long Hair, ranging from mainland newspapers that condemned his actions to overseas newspapers that found them comical.

So, so easy!

Along with a number of other activities, we used the articles to make a list of all the things that Long Hair has done since being elected to LegCo. They include:

- Protesting on the street on China National Day carrying a mock coffin in reference to the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
- Wanting to be sworn in as a legislator using an oath that he had written himself.
- Shaking his fist and yelling "Long live democracy, long live the people" after being forced to use the official oath.
- Insisting on wearing t-shirts for LegCo sittings. Usually t-shirts with pictures of Che Guevara and assorted slogans.
- Refusing to shake the hand of the HK Chief Executive and demanding his resignation.
- Getting into a scuffle with the Chief Executive's bodyguards.
- Showing up at the anniversary celebration of Mao Zedong's seizure of power yelling pro-democracy slogans.

I don't think Hong Kong politics has ever been so entertaining!

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