Enjoy the Silence – Depeche Mode

As I sit on the train writing this post, I’m very much enjoying the silence, noticing, however, that the majority of passengers are concentrating on their screens (me included) while a select few read a book or newspaper. Bliss nonetheless. Until someone’s phone starts ringing, then I have to listen to the entire conversation. Good Swiss German listening practice, I suppose, but it has made me think about how rarely we get a chance to switch off these days due to the increased use of technology and always being available.

Something similar could be said for teachers of EFL, in that we often make our students speak to practise new or previously-taught language, or feel we have to fill the silence by talking to them when they don’t…

How about letting them (and ourselves) enjoy the silence once in a while so that they can process everything, live in the moment and have a well-deserved break from the constant demands of technology, information overload and being available?

This beautiful tune from Depeche Mode may not have been written with this in mind, but I think it can be reinterpreted for the modern world.

After listening, identifying new language and the meaning of the tune, you could set a listening task – in the classroom then in other places around your school – in which students are required to hear what’s going on around them for a couple of minutes by sitting and writing it all down before coming back together and sharing with the class – great for eliciting vocabulary, as well as having a few moments of peace and quiet.

You could also show them a silent movie and see what they understand without having any dialogue to support them. I used a great one by Kieran over at Film English called Head Over Heels for a lesson on idioms and relationships.

For conversation classes, you could discuss how often students use technology and what for, the current use of social media to express opinions by certain politicians… but it is also the chance to chat about the importance of switching off and how to do this, such as Mindfulness and meditation.

Depeche Mode played in Glasgow last night for the BBC 6 Music Festival. You can see footage of their performance here until it is taken down!

Enjoy the Silence

Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Can’t you understand
Oh my little girl


All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm


Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable


All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Have a good week and see you next time for another ELTune!

 

 

 

 

 

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