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Monday, 7 March 2022

English

A few weeks ago, Mr. YP mentioned that as an English teacher he looked for innovative and creative ways to engage children and develop their language skills.

It brought to mind my own English teacher who, when we were about fourteen, hit upon the idea of using the school’s brand new reel-to-reel tape recorder to stimulate our creativity. Each of the two classes he taught in our year group would prepare and record a tape for the other to listen to. It would be like a radio programme. Each person or small group was allowed a slot in which to present something: perhaps read a poem or piece of writing, perform a short sketch or sing a song. Almost anything went. The content was not necessarily original.  

Ron and I said we would read the news – Two Ronnies Style (in fact I swear they stole the idea from us).

We began with the latest news about The Great Train Robbery – according to our latest reports the Great Train is still missing. Fighting off a small amount of corpsing we just about managed to keep going.  

We struggled on to the second item, about the winner of the Isle of Wight cattle show which was owned by a Mrs Hird of Cowes.

That did it. I am no longer sure who started it but the rest of our slot was filled entirely by painful, uncontrollable giggling, both from us and the rest of the class.  

43 comments:

  1. I think that teacher walked right into that one! Zeal overcoming common sense.

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    1. I don't know whether he ever repeated the exercise. I suspect not because there was a similar episode in the tape by the other class.

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  2. I love that, Tasker - and thank you for a good laugh at this times.

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    1. A least when they are written down I get to the end of them.

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  3. I love it! Thank you for lightening my day!

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    1. I made me smile just remembering the incident, even after all this time.

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  4. Talking about reel to reel tape recorders brings back a few memories, lol
    As for English, I'm sort of afraid to say that I'm still not quite sure where the dots and commas go but I'm sure my posts are still readable. lol
    Briony
    x

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    1. I written one or two other posts about reel to reel recorders. I doubt my use of dots and commas is standard, especially not dashes, colons and semi-colons.

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  5. Fun in school is a great way to learn.

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    1. Not sure what we learnt from this, though, except that we'd never get far as comedians.

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  6. Laughing is infectious, and I can imagine how a whole class of kids is in stitches - probably the teacher, too!
    Our English teacher started out by making us pretend we were a class of British kids at a British school. We all drew English names and were to be called by those during his lessons. He spoke English and only English to us from the 1st lesson on. We loved it, and our learning curve was steep without overwhelming us. At 9 to 10 years old, the brain is still very receptive, especially when learning is made fun.

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    1. I think I felt an overwhelming sense of failure and embarrassment from this, so in that sense it wasn't good, but yes the laughter was infectious, as it also was when we heard it on the tape by the other class.

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  7. You lost your way Tasker. I wonder if they ever found that train?

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    1. I'd never have made much of a performer but to be a comedy writer would have been great.

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  8. Brilliant!
    Cheered up my morning

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    1. Thanks. Glad it has been so well received.

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  9. Was the broadcast preserved in an archive?

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    1. I've no idea what the teacher did wth the tape. I suppose he wiped and reused it.

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  10. Ha! That is a fun idea. Kids and tape recorders (nowadays digital audio recorders, I suppose) always lead to lots of laughter! I made a cassette with a friend of mine as a kid and it was similarly full of guffaws and probably quite incoherent. (I wish I still had it!)

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    1. We treat these things as temporary and only much later realise they were priceless.

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  11. Mrs. Hird of Cowes! Har-har. Well done you two. :D

    Makes me think of naming one's teddy: Ted. E. Bear.

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    1. It would be a great name for a business - Hirds of Cowes.

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  12. It was a good idea. A writer needs an audience and if that audience is always simply the English teacher and perhaps an unseen examiner, scholars' enthusiasm for writing may be undernourished. Perhaps your English teacher could have set up the project in a more structured manner.

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    1. I vaguely remember that some slots were better performed than others, but he didn't give us much direction. It's a good point that we were doing it for the other class and not just him. I don't remember that being mentioned.

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    2. *A writer needs an audience* as The Guv'nor from Sheffield said.

      Does he need Girlyfans too, that is what I wonder?
      Girlyfan: A new term which I picked up from a funny interview:

      *Emilia Clarke Takes a Lie Detector Test/ Vanity Fair.*
      YouTube.

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    3. Sounds like someone has a blokeyfan.

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    4. As a younger Scotchman I was a blokeyfan of Rachel Riley in Channel 4's *Eight Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown*.

      Then Rachel got a wee bit too skanky for me, and I thought:
      Goldie Hawn would not talk like that and Goldie is still as daffy as they come.
      I am using *come* in the old-fashioned sense of the word.

      Goldie is now in her 76th year and still makes me laugh.

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    5. Standards of decorum have sunk very low. A lot of stuff on television is distasteful.

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    6. There is a pivotal scene in *The Trials of Oscar Wilde* (1960).

      Wilde (Peter Finch) makes a very risque joke which has the court room laughing out loud.
      Sir Edward Carson the prosecutor (James Mason) can see at that moment that Wilde has gone too far, and that he will lose the case.
      This actually happened. Carson later said that Wilde at that moment was finished.

      There is always a point at which popular culture goes too far.
      The decadent types who run television misread the cultural moment as Wilde miscalculated his own invincibility.
      The Scottish BBC comedy *Chewin' the Fat* had some very funny sketches then it went dirty and degrading.

      *The Trials of Oscar Wilde* can be seen on YouTube.

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    7. Lytton Strachey was much cleverer.

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    8. Lytton could be creepy in ways I won't go into.

      *Eminent Victorians* is a well-polished gentleman's boot, letting the Great and the Good have it, in the neck.

      His portrait of Cardinal Manning is painted in crimson but Lytton wanted to extract blood. Manning's blood.
      Spilled all across Westminster Cathedral.

      The poor of London thronged the roads at Manning's funeral.

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  13. Made me laugh just reading about it. Ta much. (Mrs. Hird of Cowes - brilliant.)

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    1. It might work for other place names that sound like things or animals. Forrests of Aspen? Acres of Anchorage? But it's hard to find one as funny.

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  14. Brilliant. That really tickled my humour buds. I don't recall a single thing of any interest whatsoever being done or told to us by any of our teachers at grammar school.

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    1. No doubt I'll use it again at the first opportunity. Pleased to see you back in circulation.

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