Sunday, 7 April 2013

Going clubbing

The local club has been a huge part of my life in Reims for the last few weeks. As the pressure from lessons builds up, it's great to be able to go somewhere where I can let my hair down a bit, take my mind off registers and lesson objectives, and just relax. Everyone at the club is really friendly, too: they're a lovely bunch of people, all of whom really enjoy having a good time.

Sorry, what was that? Nightclub, you say? Oh, goodness, no. Hang on ... you did know what I was talking about, right? The English club that I've been running at the lycée on Tuesday evenings since January?

Good. Just checking.

The story behind this English club started in about November. I'd been wanting to do something extra-curricular for a while, and to my surprise the nice people at the Vie scolaire agreed with me, calling it 'a great idea'. Because of the particularities of French school terms, we couldn't start till January, but since then it's been a very satisfying experience.

The students are all members of the internat (basically the boarders), and on average I get about ten of them turning up every week. One of the first things we agreed on was that these would not be anything like lessons - in fact, I asked the students to tell me off if they ever heard me use the 'l'-word - and since then this ethos has held up surprisingly well. As a general rule, I try to focus on speaking activities with a fun element to them; in the club, however, I'm not limited to the programme, and so can choose almost anything to work from. A recent favourite was Balderdash, an excellent dictionary game that saw students come up with some incredible definitions for obscure English words. For instance, proposed meanings of the word 'tintinnabulation' included: (1) 'the act of walking strangely after drinking alcohol'; (2) 'using Tintinnab', whatever that is; and (3) 'liking Tintin'. As for 'nincompoop', we had: (1) 'something you eat for dinner'; (2) 'the name of the smiley on Facebook that gives you a picture of poo'; and, inevitably, (3) 'constipation'.

I mention all this because our next session (on Tuesday) will be our last. I'm trying to go out with a bang, so if anyone has some inspired ideas for what to do, please do leave them in the comments section below. (At the moment, plans include an analysis of Rebecca Black's Friday and a game of Countdown, so anything you can suggest would be an improvement ...)

P.S. Psst! Do you like the new favicon?


  1. An analysis of Friday sounds inspired. :P

  2. Maybe ... although I have a feeling it won't take very long!

  3. You could try Taboo? Where you get a word like sun and have to describe it without using the words sky, yellow or light?

  4. Balderdash is perfect, I think. Taboo also. Do you have Boggle there? Can I come?

    Or how about tongue-twisters for some short circuits, increasing in difficulty until reaching the advanced "Gerard Manley Hopkins" level: "Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-built thoroughfare". For bonus points, you could sing those words to "Friday", unless that would cause a supernova?

    There was a mighty new tintinnabulation at Notre-Dame a fortnight ago!