Adult Class Level 1, Lesson 3: Things that go bump in the night !

Wednesday 2nd January 2019

A typical cliche commentators use about football is that it is a game of two halves. This means that the second half is totally different to what happened in the first. For example, maybe Real Madrid score two goals and dominate the first half, but after the break, Barcelona score three goals and are in control. It is like watching two different games. This was a lesson of two halves !

Before the class, I was talking to one of the students about smoking. He wants to quit, but all his colleagues are smokers. even if he stops, he will still be breathing their smoke. This is known as passive smoking.

Some activities involve the student producing – either speaking or writing. These are active, while reading and listening are passive. Tonight’s lesson, even though I thought the subject would be interesting, was too passive. At break I knew I had to change, had to turn it around, get them active.

The subject, as the heading may suggest, was about ghosts, hauntings and old spooky buildings in the UK.

As a warm up, I showed the following pictures to see if they knew them. Three were fictional (from a book or film, not real people) but one was a famous or rather infamous historical figure:

‘Nosferatu’ silent German film from 1922. Max Schreck is the actor playing Count Orlok, a vampire

Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula in a 1931 film
Christopher Lee as Dracula

Vlad III or Vlad the Impalor or Vlad Dracula (1431 – 1476). Born in Romania, east Europe.

I also showed some buildings, this time three were real, one was a film-set:

Bran Castle in Romania – the ‘Dracula’ castle
Orava Castle in Slovakia. This was used in the ‘Nosferatu’ film. See how it is carved out of the mountain.
This is the fake haunted house. Notice the tombstones and graveyard, with the eerie mist and fog.

The reading focused on two accounts of haunted houses in the UK, one in Dumfries, Scotland, the other in Cumbria, north England. I showed a map so the students could locate the places, and also showed a clip from a program about ghost-hunting, called ‘Most Haunted’.

And then … the computer crashed !

Spooky ? Eerie ? Mysterious ? A ghost ?

I checked the other classes, and they all had perfect wifi – just my class, watching a ghost video – had a crashed computer.

Despite this appropriate non-scripted event, I could tell the students were getting restless. After the reading, there was listening practice and some grammar. More than one student had the heavy-eye syndrome (i.e. was sleeping) which another, younger, student found somewhat hilarious. Time for action.

After break, I boarded four scenarios. What would you do if:

You invited friends out for a meal … then realised you had no money ?

You found a snake under your bed

Your friend was very drunk but wanted to drive home

You were sleeping then woke up in the middle of the night when you heard a strange sound and strange moaning …. ?

This lead to some good, animated discussions. Solutions were to leave a phone with the restaurant manager (as a deposit) then go home and get the money, taking your friend’s keys, phoning a taxi for him or punching him ! A young lady said that any snake found in her room would end up in a cooking pot ! Meanwhile, nobody seemed scarred about strange noises in the night.

Afterwards there was grammar and speaking practice, in small groups or pairs and soon the lesson was over.

I wished them all Happy New Year … and a quiet, peaceful night without ghosts, ghouls or vampires.

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