Monday, 25 June 2012
This year in C101 I really enjoyed organising the ‘English Culture Classes’ on a Friday afternoon. The format was to have a short TV show made in the UK, and to then have a discussion afterwards about what were the differences and similarities with TV in other countries. The picture above is from ‘Wallace and Gromit – The Wrong Trousers’, which many of the international students had never heard of, although some had seen the movie ‘Chicken Run’, which was made by the same people. I was surprised when, after the short TV show, I was asked by one of the Korean students whether the programme was supposed to be a comedy or not. She had been confused at the English students laughing at scenes she considered quite dark. Upon reflection, many students agreed, they felt the humour was very different from their own cultures. I had wondered later on when I showed them ‘Only Fools and Horses’, a very famous UK comedy, if this same issue would occur. In this instance, however, something quite different baffled the international students – this time from China. They were struck with the disrespect with which the main character treated his grandfather. They stated that this would not be showed on a Chinese TV show, even for comedic effect. Whilst the comedy of Wallace and Gromit had baffled some, once they had discussed it with others, it became a popular request for further showings. It became entertainment in itself seeing the English students struggle to explain why the laughed when they laughed. Overall, it was a positive experience to help build understanding between UK and international students.