The administration has finally unblocked YouTube at my school, and although it can result in pedagogical mishaps like this one, I think I'm cognizant enough to use it as a tool, and not squander valuable class time watching videos of terroristic Brazilian reality shows . . . and I certainly use a lot of video clips in class already, but there's nothing like making a great connection in your brain and then being able to immediately share it with the class . . . here are two recent examples:
1) during Shakespeare's 12th Night, Sebastian -- the twin brother of Viola, the lead, who is in disguise as a man -- is seduced by the lovely Olivia . . . but Olivia has actually never met Sebastian, she has fallen in love with Viola, and the love is unrequited . . . so it is a complete case of mistaken identity; Sebastian has never met Olivia until this very moment, and she approaches him and asks, "Would thou'dst be ruled by me?" and Sebastian takes a look at her . . . and she is attractive . . . and he takes a look at her house . . . and it is magnificent . . . and he sees her ordering around servants . . . and so he says, "Madam, I will" and then she comes back with a priest and he agrees to marry her, and the guys in my class usually understand this wild and spontaneous decision perfectly-- because they are waiting for some beautiful girl to do the same to them-- while the girls think it's a bit insane and impulsive (as one girl said: "What if they don't like the same Netflix shows?") so it leads to a good discussion of gender roles and double standards and what would you do if someone pulled up in a really nice car and they were beautiful and beckoned you to get in . . . and of course the boys say they would get in the convertible with the beautiful woman and the girls say they would think twice about getting in the BMW with the tall, dark, and handsome man, and then -- to further explain this to anyone who doesn't get Sebastian's behavior -- I showed them this clip:
2) and then the very next day, a young lady in my Composition class had the misfortune to be first person of the year to use the word "plethora" in an essay -- and since I teach advanced English classes, this event happens like clockwork, sometime every September, even though I do a lesson inspired by the great William Zinsser about "clutter" -- and there is no word more bombastic and absurd than plethora (other than the word "myriad") . . . and this student used it to describe a bunch of papers, and so I suggested either "pile" or "stack" and then -- after telling her it was "an intelligent person's error" and that someone uses the word every year and not to feel bad, I showed the class this clip -- which always echoes in my mind when I hear the word (and I haven't seen it since college) and, miraculously, the clip holds up . . . the litmus test being that it made a roomful (a plethora?) of serious and smart teenagers laugh out loud.