7.20.2006

Bill Murray, TESOL

For those of you that don't know, like I didn't five minutes ago, TESOL belongs to the same family as the ESL or EFL (English as a Second/Foreign Language). TESOL is Teaching(/er[s]) of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
The Wiki Kingdom has everything, and I've now decided it has more than that. On the Wikitravel page, there's a "Travel Topics," link and one of them deals with finding work, especially if you're taking a Gap Year trip (also discussed). One of the most popular jobs for people traveling from U.S., U.K. or Australia is teaching English. Turns out there's a whole page on how to go about this and who does it and how to get accredited and what countries offer the best opportunity to get a job teaching English to the natives, etc.
I want everyone to think for a moment about how awesome it would be to move to a foreign country, and besides doing what I'm doing now here, with the foreign literature and stuff, (but focusing obviously on Russian, or Chinese, or Estonian [icky]) but also teaching the natives English. This would be outstanding.
Also turns out there's an entire page for people to put out lesson plans and such for TESOL. It's called Wikigogy. Very cool page, obviously written by TESOL (that can be singular or plural because otherwise you'd have to write TsESOL and that's stupid) where people share methods and things. Check it out.
What impressed me was a section on using English movies to teach your foreign students English. Not using only movies, of course, but it shows your student dignity, and can make them feel more a part of the culture. They explained all sorts of things about the criteria that a movie should have (obviously appropriate content) such as physical humor as opposed to plays on words or more BBC type stuff, so the student can understand it more readily. They also mentioned that newer movies use far more slang and improper English, and the teachers have found it advantageous to steer away from these and use older movies. There's a list of ones that they've found especially helpful, but one of them was particularly interesting because it makes SO MUCH SENSE, because I really like the movie, and because it's not super new and hip (thus it has somewhat normal, casual English): Groundhog Day!!!
The inherent nature of this movie is perfect for a setting like this (and I think it should be a GSAM feature): it's repetitive (Duh), so gives the student plenty of time to realize what's going on, gives a glimpse into the more average (albeit still Hollywoodized) live of Americans, with their jobs and recreations and weather and stuff, and the humor is also much easier to grasp even if you can't understand any of it. There's room for more difficult words and curriculum, such as the names of the places and towns in Pennsylvania (my point exactly). Anyway, I thought that was interesting, and perfectly reasonable.
(as a small side note, do some research on who was first offered Andie MacDowell's role in that movie... the answer may surprise you. Hint: it wasn't Bill Murray).

10 comments:

The Polyglot said...

Oh yeah: the link if you're interested, to the TESOL movie thing: http://wikigogy.org/Groundhog_day_-_a_movie_lesson

kimmi said...

Very interesting post I must say. I like the whole concept as well, and your enthusiasm is motivating.

Just as a side point, when I saw you wrote "Groundhog's Day" I was thinking, hmm...GSAM. And then you wrote it. Its amusing how we have been programed to filter all movies through the GSAM test.

Horse N. Buggy said...

And when I saw the title of the post, I immediately thought of "Stripes" because Bill Murray was in that and his buddy was a TESOP.

Also, one of my favorite lines from "M*A*S*H" is in a scene where Hawkeye is teaching the native Koreans to speak English. He has them repeating everything he says when Frank walks in to start some silly argument. Hawkeye finishes by saying, "You tell 'em, Ferret Face" and the whole class of Koreans repeat that line. Classic.

Jules said...

I agree; interesting post.

Off-topic, I went to a wine tasting last night, and one of the assistant managers reminded me & my sis sooo much of you. Where were you last night?

The Polyglot said...

I was sitting around at home watching Mythbusters and grovelling about not having ran that afternoon. So he was smart, good-looking and had an unusual interest in the Finnish language, eh?
It took all I have to be that stuck up, but how did he remind y'all of me?

Horse N. Buggy said...

"So he was smart, good-looking and had an unusual interest in the Finnish language, eh?"

Just play that sentence in your head in Derek Zoolander's voice. but add "really, really good-looking". It's hilarious.

The Polyglot said...

So no one's taken a stab at the supposed-to-have-been Andie MacDowell yet.

Jules said...

No stab yet, but I haven't forgotten about it. Off-hand, I don't know, but I was going to look it up.

Yes to all (smart, good-looking and had an unusual interest in the Finnish language) except for last one. He's more partial to Swedish but there's no accounting for taste.

You two have similar builds, coloring, etc. He wore his hair all spiky, but I thought that was just part of your "disguise". Based on a short evening there, I'd say he was quick-witted as well. Isn't that you to a T? except the Swedish part. Next time I go, I'll have to ask how he feels about Apple ear buds---that may be the litmus test.

Affable Olive said...

I'll cheat since I already know. It was Tori Amos.

Affable Olive said...

Oh, I wanted to say that I had an RV that is doing TESOL in Costa Rica now and was telling me all about this.