Monday, 15 June 2009

Down Memory Lane

My son is nine and his school year finished on Friday. To celebrate, we took him out to dinner yesterday. So there I was, sitting in that beautiful garden, looking at the faces of the people I love, when I was suddenly overwhelmed by sadness. It came out of nowhere and it brought tears to my eyes. I was transported way, way back in time. I was sitting at a similar table, looking at the faces I love, only now I was nine and the faces were those of my parents.

Life passes so quickly, doesn't it?

I was still sad when I came home, so I decided to do something creative with that feeling. It usually helps. I remembered I had seen this little film in TheEngTeacher's blog:

I grew up in Belgrade, so the names of the products and the TV shows didn't speak to me. Instead I started remembering the things we used to eat and the shows we used to watch. Yes, I grew up in the 70s too. And it all came back to me. So, I went and searched You Tube for the pieces of my own childhood. That place is like a time capsule. I found a huge collection of old Yugoslav commercials and children's TV shows. However, I have decided to share this little gem:

I don't know when exactly this video was made (might have been much later than the time when I was this old). Still, I can feel the rough material of the blue school uniform against my skin and I can feel my mother pulling back my hair every morning as she was tying a ribbon similar to that the girl is wearing (ah, the torture).

Naturally, I started thinking how this could be used in class and I came up with a couple of ideas:

1. If your students are children or teenagers, find a video that reminds you of your childhood and share it with them. Ask them to compare your childhood to theirs. Be brave, as they will probably laugh at the clothes and the hairstyles.

2. If your students are adults and if they are good with computers, ask them to find videos and pictures that remind them of their own childhood. Have them organise those in a wiki format or put them in their blogs.

3. If your students are not very good with computers, you can make a surprise wiki for them. Find out how old they are and search the Web for the things that might have a special meaning for them.

This is a good starting point for a discussion or a writing task. And, since the topics of childhood and school days often appear in textbooks, this is a good way to make them more vivid and meaningful for the students.


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