Monday, July 04, 2005

Chungking Idol

Many English teachers would die for a class that can engage in independent discussion. I spend a lot of my class time wondering if I should kill the discussion before someone dies.

There are certain topics which you expect to excite people - corruption, colonialism, the importance of the French language and anything involving George Bush.

But we're not limited to those. Infact my class can argue about anything - the number of large towns in northern Togo, the superiority of Congolese mangos, the effect of rice on the digestive system (next to poison according to many of our clients).

After a someone explained the word 'idol' during the last class I decided to do some concept checking and ask each student to name an idol, not necessarily their own because I used to hate having to say personal things like that when I was in school.

With a long list on the board I decided to have a knockout competition to determine our number one idol. Two by two, the idols were put to a whole class vote.

Several joke nominations were easily defeated - Eyadema Gnassingbe, Osama Bin Laden and George Bush.

Then the jumping around and defeaning shouting began, despite the fact that we were voting by a show of hands. Jean Paul II took Pele down. Martin Luther King was declared less worthy than Michael Jackson. Congoloese singer Papa Wemba sat on Craig David and Bruce Lee was taken out by Malcolm X.

After much excitement, Nelson Mandela was declared Chungking Idol, followed by Jean Paul II, Michael Jackson and Papa Wemba. Papa was helped by humour value - everyone remembered that I had named him as my deity of choice in order to stay out of a religious argument the previous week.

At least we all now understand the meaning of the word 'idol'. Meanwhile I was a little disappointed that MLK had gone so early. And curious as to how Craig David made it so far. I had assumed he probably faded out of the music scene since the last time I listened to FM radio?

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