Subversive Teaching – 52

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Month: February, 2012


Tired of the Oscar madness? Want a tongue-in-cheek look at the kinds of film that win academy awards? Check out this trailer with your students. It’s actually quite difficult, so I’d use this with advanced level learners only.

What do your learners make of it? Do you think that the spoof is, itself, potentially offensive? If so, how? What does it say about “Hollywood clichés”?

What would you do with this?



Love is in the air, or is it? If you’re tired of doing the usual valentine’s day lesson maybe this year try an “anti-Valentine’s day” text?

We found a whole website of Anti-Valentine’s Day messages. Many are perhaps a little TOO bitter and cynical for our tastes, but we quite liked these two images.


Teaching idea: This one could be good for reviewing adverb -ly forms. Before showing it, ask students to complete the sentence “I love you…” as many different ways as possible with one word (e.g. truly, madly, crazily etc). Then show the image. What is the artist trying to say? Why is “cliché” written in the heart?


Teaching idea: maybe this one could be used as a flash dictation. Show it quickly, then ask students to write down what they remember. It’s also worth examining the use of “like, er, this one” at the end and what it means. Alternatively, write the following “chunks” up on the board in a random order: nothing says – someone else – “you’re special” – like a mass-produced sentiment – written by . Learners have a go at putting this together to form a sentence. Then show the image.

Finally, ask learners: Do people celebrate Valentine’s Day in your country? Is it a traditional holiday? Is it a worthwhile celebration or is it an excuse for people to buy cards, chocolate and gifts? Are “anti-Valentine Day” messages like these only popular with people who aren’t in love (or worse, bitter about love?)

Incidentally, if you have a copy of 52 you may like to try activity #11 Holiday, which is all about the commercialization of holidays such as Valentine’s Day.