In my Language Notes series, I like to highlight sets of vocabulary that facilitate understanding and communication on a given topic. In my newest video, I’ve decided to face one particular topic head on — before someone else with observant eyes brings it up: aging. The truth is that we’re all aging, but for those of us who make instructional videos, we’re aging on camera. So why not admit I’m no spring chicken? (That’s one of the expressions I teach in the video!)
The experience of aging and the inevitable signs of growing older can be a topic discussed with sensitivity and respect for all, and if done this way the lesson will be a meaningful and memorable one for adult learners. Shared laughter can be a great way to kick off such a lesson. I found a two-minute video by comedian John Fraser on YouTube. His speech is fast, but students can focus on two tasks in order to take away key points. (1) First, ask students to complete this statement with any adverb: I want to age ___. Then as they listen ( around :20), they can catch some of the adverbs John Fraser uses, like gracefully and joyously. (2) Second, ask students to pay attention to the final joke about hearing loss. See who is able to explain the punch line. (Hint: It’s about not pointing fingers and having more self-awareness about growing older.)
I’ve put together a small set of classroom slides to further engage students and find out what vocabulary they already have to talk about growing older. Please see my Language Notes_12_classroom slides. You may choose to present the vocabulary I teach in my video, from laugh lines to elderly vs. old, and then have students watch the entire video after class to reinforce your own presentation. I also offer an interactive exercise on my website for review and practice. In class, you may invite students to put some of the vocabulary into use with my Getting Up There_handout.
To generate more conversation and writing on this topic you may use my suggestions from the previous post, in which I linked to video on living longer. Also, you could turn to online quotes on aging. (I like BrainyQuote.)
- Have students choose a quote that most closely reflects their own viewpoint. They can explain their understanding of the quote and then provide at least one illustration through a personal example — a relative, a friend, or even themselves.
- Assign quotes to students and have them prepare a short talk for the class. How do they interpret the words and do they agree or disagree with the main idea?