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Péter Medgyes: Try to make your lessons as fun as possible.

Péter Medgyes: Try to make your lessons as fun as possible.

My name is Péter Medgyes. During my long career I’ve tried my hand in all sorts of things but the profession closest to my heart has always been teaching.

I’ve been a plenary speaker in over fifty countries and written numerous articles and books mostly concerned with issues of language policy, teacher education and humour. And it is this last area, humour, that I am going to dwell on in my plenary talk. The central message I wish to convey is that without humour the language classroom is dead. While it goes without saying that humour plays a key role in generating and maintaining learning motivation, the thorny question is how to bring it into the classroom. If only I knew how…

Anyway, I recall old coursebooks and supplementary materials I was using as a young teacher. Full of entertaining stories and fun activities, they all left a lasting impact on my development as a teacher. C. E. Eckersley, Frank Candlin, Geoffrey Broughton, Louis Alexander, Robert O’Neill, Andrew Wright – these names may sound unfamiliar to most of you but when you have a bit of free time it’s well worth taking a look at the materials they produced. And I shouldn’t fail to mention the name of the author who greatly helped me colour my classes with his witty and highly creative materials – Alan Maley, who we have the honour to welcome at this conference.

As a veteran language teacher, all I want to pass on to my younger colleagues is this: Strive to imbue your classes with as much fun as you possibly can. For me, humour is the sine qua non for being a successful teacher. Wouldn’t you agree?

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