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An idea for Interviewing the “Mystery Visitor”
Language Arts, Social Studies
Title – The Visitor (Me and Mr. Platt)
By – Joan M. Diez Cliville
Subject – Social Studies, Language Arts
Grade Level – Grades: 2 – 3
If you don’t mind dressing up a bit, try this:
Living in a rural area far from the capital, my students have very few opportunities to meet native English speakers, so one jolly good day I decided to add a pinch of salt to my lessons by announcing the forthcoming visit of a guest. My students were really excited! They kept asking questions about the stranger. (To keep them on their toes, I was quite mysterious about our visitor’s identity; all I told them was that he was a businessman from London, most charming and kind, who was planning to establish his firm among us…and that he spoke English only.) I suggested that they should write a list of questions handy to interview him…and they eagerly did so.
When the big day came, I left the classroom a minute to go and meet our guest and returned…wearing a pair of unusual glasses and a bowler hat. There was no guest at all…just ME. The students laughed their heads off, of course, but accepted the joke …and carried on their interview as well as other tasks that I had planned.
After a few days, the students (how clever they are!) wanted more fun, and they often asked me about Mr. Platt .”Where is he?”, “How’s he doing?” and, of course, “When will he come this way again?” So I decided to “invite” Mr. Platt to come and see us every so often. Needless to say, my alter ego was more welcome than myself, but I was far from jealous. Instead, I let our “friend” deal with part of the syllabus…in disguise. With “him”, the students
– Discussed many interesting subjects: anything from business to traveling, including cooking, music, gambling, urban tribes and religious beliefs.
– Used authentic materials: newspapers, magazines, leaflets, brochures, catalogues, maps, tickets…
– Handled phone calls, cashed cheques, ordered items, replied to letters, sent faxes and telegrams…and searched the www.
As the course was coming to an end, I decided to add some icing to the cake by giving the story an extraordinary turn: in one of his trips in our country, Mr. Platt fell in love with Amparito, a girl belonging to a skinhead gang. After some exciting adventures, they ended up in a Buddhist community, where Mr. Platt lost all interest in business and material wealth. He retired from the madding crowd and devoted his time to charities and meditation. He even sent my students a nice amount so that they could set up their own businesses. You bet they were thankful and happy!
Those students may forget me, but I know Mr. Platt will be in their hearts for good.
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