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, July 18, 2008

Aristophanes... ... ... Ridiculous

I am a fan of the old Odd Couple television show. I have been known to quote lines from shows while teaching and with friends as we start doing bits of episodes. One of my favorites is when Oscar and Felix go on Password. At one point, the word is “Bird” and Felix gives Oscar the clue, “Aristophanes”.

Oscar does not get the word and after the other team wins the round every looks at Felix and questions, “Aristophanes”?

Felix explains that everyone knows Aristophanes wrote a play called “The Birds”.

During the commercial break, Felix and Oscar argue as to whether or not “Aristophanes” was a good clue, with Oscar saying just before they come back from break, “No more Greek clues. Aristophanes is ridiculous”.

The next password is “Ridiculous” and Oscar starts the round by saying in a disgusted voice, “Aristophanes”. Felix, of course guess the word.

As a result, for years a couple of my friends and I would do this bit where one individual would say “Aristophanes” and the other would answer, “Ridiculous”. I even taught my son to do this when he was two or three years old.

Recently I got a DVD of the episode and I was watching it with my son, now 10. When he first heard the clue “Aristophanes” for the word “Bird,” he did not understand. All these years, he simply assumed that “Aristophanes” was a synonym for “Ridiculous”.

This instance reinforced a valuable lesson that I already know, one that I can use when teaching. I need to be sure that the students understand what I am saying. Just because they laugh and repeat back, it does not mean they understand. I have tried to keep this in mind as I teach but every so often it is good to have a situation occur where the lesson gets reinforced. So, thank you to my son for his help.