Benchmarking to David Letterman

This was showing for a few years in Hong Kong and we received Hong Kong TV here in Guangzhou. Every night David has to get and hold everyone’s attention. He has developed a routine for holding attention. He does the same things every night but changes the content of those things. First he stands in front of the audience and tells some jokes. Second he sits down and tell a funny story. Third he plays a game with the audience like “Name that meat!” Fourth he introduces Guest number 1 and they chat. Fifth he introduces Guest number 2 and they chat. Sixth a band comes out and performs. He does the same thing night after night but he changes the content of the routine.

How I use it:

Students hate just doing the book day after day. I often have to use a coursebook and have found some fun and interesting ways to use it which I will discuss later. But I have followed David’s example by dividing my class time up into sections and following a “routine of variety”. I often open with a short story of something funny that happened to me or my family.

I’ll then do a warm-up activity that not only involves their mind but also their bodies. (I believe that it is vitally important to really wake them up before beginning any kind of lesson and I won’t usually start until they are wide awake and their minds are churning.) Then we’ll dive into our book for a while. During the break I’ll show ten minutes of an English-English movie, stopping at the most exciting part and inviting the students to get a copy of the movie from me. After the break I may wrest a highly interactive groupwork activity out of the book or may make a speaking activity out of a commercial or film clip. Then wrap up the lesson with a summary of what we did and the magic question, “Did this help your English?”


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