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Guns in America

We are going to watch Michael Moore’s documentary Bowling for Columbine in my English class, and that touches upon a very sensitive issue in America: gun control and how the second amendment to the US Constitution should be interpreted. The second amendment has this line:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This means the Constitution protects the rights of individual citizens to carry a gun. The specific laws vary from one state to another: some states (e.g. New Hampshire) allow you to carry a loaded gun, whereas in other states (e.g. California) the gun must be unloaded. In most states you must be 18 years or older – in Vermont you must be 16.

This first video shows interviews with people on the street in the state of California, and the interviewer is carrying a gun (!) while asking people what they think of gun control.

Is the interviewer biased in any way, or is this a balanced presentation?

The second video I’d like to share is an interview by MSNBC journalist Chris Matthews on the show Hardball with William Kostric. Kostric came to a political meeting in New Hampshire on 11 August 2009 where President Obama attended, carrying a loaded gun. After seeing this, you understand why it’s called Hardball.

 

I think this shows something interesting: while a lot of people support the right to carry a gun, many of those will react negatively when that right is exercised. Kostric was protected by law to do what he did, but he still has to suffer questions about it afterwards. Having the right does not automatically make it right.

Berørte kompetansemål:
3a: drøfte sosiale forhold, samfunnsforhold og verdier i ulike kulturer i flere engelskspråklige land
3b: presentere og diskutere internasjonale nyheter og aktuelle hendelser

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An excuse to play around

When I create a blog called EnglishFruit, you’d expect something about English literature and the English language, I suppose, and I’m sure I will address that too, eventually. I particularly look forward to delve into the mysteries of gerunds and comma rules. Yay!

For now, I’d like to share a bit of personal information: I am a board game geek. I even have a user account at boardgamegeek.com.  So is there a way to use board games in the classroom to learn English? Now wouldn’t that be something. I am all for ideas that let me do stuff at work that I would normally spend my precious spare time on.

I actually bought a Shakespeare game a couple of years ago for this purpose.

There is probably an awful lot you could learn about Shakespeare from this game – the only disadvantage is that it is a pretty lame game. It has two very good qualities: it lets you show off to girls who are into Bard stuff, plus the title is really clever. (The Bard Game? Board game? Get it?)

Maybe not very useful for 16-year-olds. Besides, girls who like the Bard only become interesting to 16-year-old boys when they enter university and get rid of their braces and glasses. Then they fall in love with diplomats, guys with PhDs and guys with Roman numerals after their name.

Conclusion: The Bard Game is an ill-suited game for teaching not in spite of its subject matter, but because of it. First rule of thumb for educational games is that they must be good games. Poor games are only played once.