When I was in Ito Yokado just recently, I was surprised to see Monopoly on sale, although I oughtn’t to be, living, as I do, in a one-party capitalist state. But that got me thinking about Cluedo because one of the speaking activities in the book I’ve been using with the conversation classes is called Death at the Manor, and is based, obviously, on a murder mystery. As it stands, the scenario is unusable because the class needs to be small and have plenty of space, which is why I’ve been wondering whether it’d be possible to adapt Cluedo for use with large classes or even my usual bunches of lazy idiots. The aim would be to preserve the detective work, but without the complication of constructing multiple sets of the game. Perhaps some sort of card-based game might work.
In turn, this has got me thinking about classroom culture again. There are often times when we think that a particular lesson should be fairly interesting and fun, but instead ends up falling flatter than the surface of an ironing board. Thinking about this situation, I’ve been wondering whether this is an effect of so much work being foisted onto our pupils in other classes. That is, Chinese school children live in a world of minimal effort in which any task is done to the minimum required to complete it and no more. There’s much at any school in any country which is merely something to be done, but every so often, there was always something which was a bit fun to do. I don’t recall school being a constantly dull grind.
I’m not sure that school children in China get to do much in class which might be called fun. I don’t, of course, mean leaving the entertainment industry to take the strain, but rather something they do for themselves which engenders a sense of pleasure and enjoyment. We have the added problem of having classes of kids who are generally either thick, lazy or both in a society where everyone else is a potential source of entertainment, but few people think to entertain themselves through what they do. I learnt to occupy myself a long time ago, but here in China, it seems by and large that someone else has to supply the occupation for others.
Since my previous entry, the day has not only got duller, but it’s been raining as well. Right now it’s just after 3.30pm, but could be 5.30pm or 6.00pm; or even 7.00am.