So what does it take to express yourself in another language? I mean REALLY express yourself.
It’s not an easy thing to do.
When I was a foreign exchange student a jillion years ago, I knew I was there when my host brother and I got in a knock-down-drag-out argument in which we were both screaming at each other. I just kind of stopped and laughed. I was screaming in German.
Before that, everything had been a race to translate everything in my brain before it came out my mouth as something completely different, something I’d be embarrassed about, something I’d be afraid for someone else to hear. Being a teenager sometimes does that to you. Being a teen who speaks another language often does that to you.
So on Friday, we learned to take new risks with our Flynn artist Susan Palmer. We were letting others in the class be our puppeteers. We introduced the idea of a marionette to students and worked first on playing at being a marionette, then at letting someone else control us.
Then we pretended we were lumps of clay and let others mold us.
These are such strange ideas to students. They don’t get why we would want to put ourselves in that situation, why we would want to give up control.
But they are good sports.
And they try really hard.
I don’t know that we were 100% successful, but we were getting there.
The last thing we tried is what is keeping me up at night. We asked them to read three lines that Susan had written, in their native language, with the appropriate emotion. And that just seemed like too much to do at one time.
Maybe if they were a little more proficient in English.
Maybe if they were a little more proficient at taking risks in general.
We’re going to have to experiment with this a bit, and figure out how to make expressing ourselves in English a little more of an emotional affair.
The class is just about 90 minutes, but it still feels like we need another half hour to get even close…