English teachers have been using videos in the classroom for decades and, more recently online video clips from Youtube. A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features characters sharing the same common environment, such as a home or workplace, with often humorous dialogue. Such programs originated in radio, but today, sitcoms are found mostly on television. Sitcoms are an excellent classroom resource for a number of reasons:
- Watching TV shows and films in English is a wonderful way of improving your listening skills and pronunciation.
- Sitcoms provide us with authentic English in all its guises. The situations that the “sit” refers to are often situations that are universal.
- Sitcoms are full of cultural references.
- Students love watching videos that reflect Britishness. They like to see how British people live, what they eat, how they spend their free time. They love seeing typical British homes and institutions, British countryside and British weather. Our students like to confirm their perceptions of British stereotypes and they like to be surprised by aspects of British culture that they didn’t know about before.
- Sitcoms are funny and everybody enjoys laughing. Watching a humorous video clip in class can be rewarding for students and helps to create a positive classroom atmosphere. After all, English is fun especially through films and TV shows.
One of my favourite TV Shows is Friends. I’m sure many of you have heard of and watched the American sitcom. It ran in the US from 1994 until 2004. My favourite characters was Joey Tribbiani played by Matt Le Blanc. He always played the slightly stupid guy, but he also had some fabulous sketches. Here is one of my favourites:
In this sketch, Joey (a native English speaker) follows a beautiful woman into a beginner’s ESL class (English as a Second Language), and tells the teacher he is in the right place. Trying to impress the girl, he competes with beginning English learners to prove that his English is the best. Enjoy!
Funny! Basil gives Manuel a language lesson – Fawlty Towers – BBC. Basil and Manuel have a conversation about how to dress the breakfast trays.
Go to http://uktv.co.uk/gold/homepage/sid/5527 and click on a sitcom
For a comprehensive list of UK sitcoms go to http://www.sitcom.co.uk/list_top.shtml
Extract from: English is Fun Especially with Friends