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Far Side Technique
I see that most of my students find their exercises in their textbook picture dictionaries boring and contrived. I had difficulty getting them to enthusiatically talk about the campy scenes in the book. Beginners, I've found, respond quite well to humor. If you thumb through a Gary Larson Far Side book, you will find that a large amount of the comics have no caption - their humor is purely visual. There is an added benefit that most Far Side panels feature animal characters, with no suggestion of ethnicity. I've also found Larson's dry nature-based humor is well recieved by virtually every culture I've come in contact with. And when the student laughs upon examing the panel, I find many speak up right away when I ask whats going on. Finally, for more advanced students, I find the strips with captions often visually present English idiomatic expressions, and also frequently rely on a play on words, concepts that are easier to explain with a visual aid.
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