giovedì 17 febbraio 2011

20 questions

A scene from my game of twenty questions with my fourth year students today:
[A boy approaches the front of the classroom, as he has just guessed Bangladesh correctly and now it's his turn to think of something. He chooses jobs.]
E (aside to me): What do you call a man who makes pizza?
R: Let's say, pizza maker.
E (to class): Ok, I've thought of it.
Class: Do you work with other people?
E: Uh, sometimes.
[He sits down at the teacher's desk (I'm always on my feet) and leans back.]
E: I'm tired.
Class: Is it a manual job?
E: Uh, yes, I suppose.
Class: Do you earn a lot of money?
E: Sometimes.
Class (growing indignant): What does it mean, sometimes?
E: Some people who do this job have a big salary but not always.
R: Most of the time no.
[Class grumbles.]
Class: Do you work outside?
E: No.
Class: Can you do this job in Milan?
E: Yes.
Class: Do you work in a hospital?
E: Ehh no. Ok, maybe in a really big hospital. Maybe in the United States hospital.
Class: Are you a lawyer?
E: No.
R to E: Maybe you should give them a hint.
E: Okay, it's someone who gives people happiness.
[Class mumbles.]
Class: Is it a clown?
E: No.
A girl: Un attore comico! Non so chiedere in inglese...
A boy: Is it a comic actor?
Same girl: Sarà il suo spacciatore! Fai soldi un po' si un po' no, qualche volta lavori con altra gente...
Class: Is it a pusher?
R: Drug dealer.
E: No.
[Class grumbles.]
A boy: Do you give massages?
[Some of class makes confused noises and I explain what "massage" means.]
E: Sometimes.
[Class is becoming truly confused.]
R, reminding: He said that you can do the job in Milan. What kinds of jobs are especially Italian?
Class: Do you work in the evening?
E: Yes.
A boy: Is it a prostitute?
E: No.
R: You guys are leaving out a big industry.
[The bell rings.]
Class: What is it?
E: A pizza maker!
[Collective moans and loud complaints. "Makes you happy?! Massages?! Macché!" E trundles back to his desk, a victorious smile on his face.]

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