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How to Know You're Making a Difference (2/3)

“Calm Across Cultures”

This one is a bit more subjective because it doesn't directly pertain to teaching. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love Jack Johnson. My students, naturally, like when I play music - especially when they’re writing an essay in class. One day, my M.6 (grade 12) students wanted calm music [I have three playlists that I let them choose from: calm, popular music, and fun, older music]. The calm playlist is like 1/3rd Jack Johnson, and it was the first time they chose this playlist. I started with “Better Together” by Jack Johnson. Within 30 seconds, one of the students asked “Teacher, what is this song? It’s so, so… *waves arm gently* nice. His voice and the melody are so relaxing.” I cannot articulate how excited I was. Right after that, another student said “I have heard this song, but I thought it was by [names some group that’s not Jack Johnson].” I explained that this was the original, and what she heard was a cover.

What’s sweet about this anecdote is that I didn’t tell them how much I love Jack Johnson. I certainly didn’t tell them that they had to like his music. This verbal snapshot of teaching shows how much people can learn through exposure. These students found some authentic English material that they truly like. I can only hope that they pursue it - to expose themselves to similar things on their own time - to gain intrinsic motivation for learning about language through English-speaking culture. Also, I'm just proud that I have good taste in music... ;)

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Thai ceremony for my soon-to-be graduates!

It's the little things...

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