I teach English at a university in Changsha, Hunan province, China. Well, I say I teach English. I am the first to admit that what I really do is not actual teaching. If my students are lucky they might learn a few new words and expressions from me, but my main purpose here seems to be to facilitate a kind of culture exchange. Chinese culture is so far removed from Western culture that the students in China need some kind of preparation, especially if they plan to go abroad one day or even work closely with westerners.
One of my more popular classes has always been my near-legendary music classes. No, I don’t make them play instruments, that’s for the parents to do. Instead we talk about music a bit, and I show them videos. Music works well as a medium. Especially music videos. A picture tells a thousand words, as they say.
The problem is, how to distil half a century of music into an 80-minute ‘lesson?’
Here, I make no excuses. I play what I want, such is my right as their teacher, haha! I put a lot of thought into it, and try to choose things that are meaningful or significant. Or just… good.
For the record, here is a list of video’s I showed this week:
30 Seconds to Mars – Closer to the Edge (great video)
U2 – Bad at Live Aid (powerful stuff)
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run
Blink 182 – All the Small things
Simple Plan ft Natasha Bedingfield – Jet Lag
Eminem – Lose Yourself (Inspirational)
Linkin Park – Bleed it Out (LP are among the few western bands that Chinese students recognize)
Pink – Blow Me
Lostprophets – Rooftops (have to get a Welsh band in there somewhere!)
Papa Roach – Scars (great song)
Green Day – Time of Your Life
Slipknot – Before I forget (Live at Download)
Enrique Inglesias – Escape (one of my guilty pleasures. It also serves to keep the girls happy!)
On the whole, I don’t think China is at all ready for Slipknot. When they go off it causes shock and awe on a grand scale. Half my students shit themselves in fear. Corey Taylor, be proud.