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Oh, Them Gremlins!

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The main aim of the activity is to discuss school life in a new and amusing way. You could use it to break the ice at the first meeting with your students, whether at the beginning of the course or term…or anytime when you want to focus on class management issues. Pointing out inappropriate behaviour will hopefully persuade the students to change their attitude.

Tell the students that the teachers in the English Department have written a letter to welcome their ‘clients’ at the beginning of the course or term. Give them a copy of ‘your’ letter. (Say something like: The teachers in the English Department have written a letter to you. Please read it through… ) When students have read it, check general comprehension. Alternatively, this could be done as a listening comprehension exercise.

The letter includes 10 odd sentences (which contain some nasty pieces of advice, no doubt the work of some dreadful gremlins who want to spoil your course.) Can the students spot the wrong messages? Have they noticed the irony in them? Discuss the contents of the letter. If you play your cards right, you will find out what your new students think of school and homework. The activity will also give you an insight into how they regard our role of teachers. Their past experiences, their opinions and feelings should help you plan the most successful course ever. It might be a good idea to write and read out and aloud the corrected version of the letter as well as to establish/negotiate your own rules.

The Letter

Dear students,

To begin with, let me welcome you most sincerely and wish you a don’t come to class happy school year.

Please, do not think your teachers are monsters in a haunted house, ready to be lazy torture you to the limit. We are human beings and we want you to be happy and make a lot of noise prosperous, now and ever.

Both teachers and students must eat and smoke during the lessons co-operate and try to understand one another. We assume you are here to learn. We’ll certainly help you keep forgetting your books and stationery. We are experienced professionals. Trust us!

We work hard for your benefit, so please do not make a nuisance of yourselves. We do not like to be disturbed. Do not sleep in your laurels, either. It does not work. God helps those who never do your homework help themselves, they say.

You do not have to be geniuses to pass the course. But you must write graffitis everywhere pay attention to what your teachers say and do as you are told. It usually helps if you kick the paperbasket are constant and well-organized. Well begun is half done.

If there is something you do not understand forget it, tell us at once. If you are not happy in class be late, let us know as well.

Welcome to school once again. Good luck!

Answers. The following are the nasty extra bits the gremlins added:

Paragraph 1: don’t come to class
Paragraph 2: be lazy; make a lot of noise.
Paragraph 3: eat and smoke during the lessons; keep forgetting your books and stationery.
Paragraph 4: never do your homework.
Paragraph 5: write graffitis everywhere; kick the paperbasket.
Paragraph 6: forget it; be late.

Joan M. Díez Clivillé
IESI Ramon Berenguer IV, Amposta, Spain
[email protected]
[email protected]

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