Saturday, 19 October 2013


Yogurting, so they say, is what the French call singing along to a song that you don't know the lyrics for, and that's what my blog is all about today.

As a young child I remember singing along to Pocahontas in Spanish, not real Spanish of course, but well enough to convince my cousin that I could speak Spanish. So as an experienced yogurter myself I'm always very impressed by my students ability to pick up songs in the classroom or otherwise. Thursday class in particular were very good at turning up singing Abba songs in almost English. Others are less able and successfully muddle heads, shoulders, knees and toes, but I let them off as it wasn't so long ago that I used to sing Frere Jacques with no notion of individual words. My mother also confesses that she spent a very long time reciting the Lord's Prayer without ever realising it had any particular meaning.

However I was particularly astounded yesterday when I found myself surrounded by three eight year old boys singing Rihanna's Rude Boy. Of course they don't know what it means, but it was a bit surreal to hear them singing "Come on rude boy, boy, can you get it up?"

Or do they? They certainly understand some English, as I discovered when we moved on from Rihanna to discuss Beyonce and Lady Gaga in their latest video together.
"Beyonce is a better singer than Lady Gaga isn't she?" they asked.
"Definitely," I said, clear to establish a little bit of discerning musical taste in my pupils.
"Beyonce tells Lady Gaga she's a very naughty girl!" they agreed triumphantly.

So evidently me disciplining them in English is not as problematic as I had previously thought it might be. I'm not their only source of authentic material, (which also makes me wonder if it's particularly responsible of Lady Gaga to wear sunglasses encrusted with smoking cigarettes on prime time TV - but that's another story).

"But who's a better singer, Lady Gaga or Madonna?" was the boys' next question.

Lady Gaga?! Beyonce?! Rihanna?! Madonna?! They are going to be so embarrassed when they are older. At that age, the only bands I knew were the Beatles, the Hollies and Queen! Mind you, it's not like they have any Italian artists to copy either. Italy seems a bit devoid of musical talent suitable for eight year old boys. I can't really imagine them singing Figaro.

Fortunately it's not a complete talentless void. I decided to spice up a 1:1 grammar lesson with a bit of Haiku. I wasn't really expecting such an enthusiastic reponse from a 13 year old for poetry, but incredibly she'd just read a book on Samurai.

I leave you with what she wrote.

It's just stopped raining.
I don't know why it has stopped.
Maybe there's no water.

I quite like it. Perhaps I'll have my students composing songs next lesson.

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