Slapstick is Universal

By: Tyler Sutton and Greg Pinette

On a morning in Ban Nam Hom I woke up, brushed my teeth, and walked down to breakfast. When I got to breakfast I discovered that I had missed breakfast and needed to help teach English in a classroom. Having almost no teaching experience, I starred blankly at a bunch of children. I wondered what they were thinking. We started with a simple song we had learned the day before and then the ABC’s and then numbers. This went on for about an hour. We thought this was going pretty well until the Thai assistant said we had these kids for another two and half hours. We had run out of ideas and once again found ourselves starring blankly at the children.

Justin took control of the situation and began playing Head-Shoulders-Knees-And Toes. He started playing with the volumes, getting the children to whisper and shout the verses. When they whispered, I found myself getting tired. I thought it would be funny to pretend to fall asleep during Justin’s “lecture.” I did and Justin had all the kids scream the lines of the next verse. I dramatically rolled off the chair and went to the floor. The kids were in stitches and suddenly Justin and I had a routine.

The next few hours flew by as Justin chased me around the classroom while having the kids recite English phrases and verses. We achieved something great that day – we created a rich learning environment via slapstick comedy. Who knew slapstick was universal.

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