Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Whose Line

Today we played Whose Line Is It Anyway in class. Before the students give their first speech, I play the game, it has become one of my trademarks. First we watch a bunch of segments from the show and then we play.

I remember when I was in High School, if our English teacher wanted to “reward” us, she would show us some videotapes of the Best Of Saturday Night Live (Old Cast) and we all enjoyed it. In part, I show the clips for the entertainment and enjoyment purposes. It is not a reward, but it helps students get a laugh before their first graded assignment.

In addition, it teaches the students how difficult it can be to come up with creative improv stuff. The main purpose, however, is to make the students embarrass themselves a little bit. I am not looking to make this a horrific experience, just a little bit of embarrassment. After everyone has had a chance, I explain that most speakers are nervous when giving a speech because they are afraid of doing something that will embarrass them in front of others (whether that is making a mistake, poor delivery, or something else). Here, they have just embarrassed themselves in front of the rest of the class so they no longer need to worry about that and they can just relax and concentrate on doing well.

This exercise usually seems to help and even if it doesn’t, most of the students enjoy playing the game. And, perhaps as an added treat (or maybe an added bit of displeasure) I play too. They, as a class, can pick which event I participate in.

I would not ask my students to do something that I am unwilling to do.