There’s one moment in a teaching class I took in college more than ten years ago that forever remains in my memory. Our professor, one of my favorites of all my education years, told a story of how he watched one of his students die of cancer. He ended the lecture that day with a comment I have never forgotten: “Always remember, the students in your class are people, and they have bigger problems than a bad hair day.”
Like sad moments, experiences that include any kind of emotion, including humor, are written into our memories faster and more permanently than the mundane ones.
With that in mind, how about using some truly humorous photos to jump-start or illustrate your discussions on proficiency? Use this Flickr group, Bad Translations, to help students talk about what communicates and what doesn’t, how much perfection is necessary, and how all that translates (haha) into proficiency levels.
Keep in mind many of these photos have all rights reserved. If I’m not mistaken, showing them in your class is no violation of copyright, but don’t publish them anywhere unless they’re available under a Creative Commons license (like the one in this post).
For more on illustrating proficiency, check out a very popular idea I stole for illustrating proficiency in the first days of school.
Have a laugh, and create some memories.