‘Mind your language’

In the late 1970s I watched a British tv comedy called ‘Mind your language’, which about ‘a motley crew of foreign students’ (Wikipedia’s words) in an  English language class in London, but had almost forgotten it until I started teaching English. I decided not to show it to my students in case they took offence at the blatant racial stereotypes (which would probably not be allowed on tv now). Some time last year I came into the classroom after a break to find one of my students watching an episode on the computer. After I explained the premise to the students, they enthusiastically agreed to watch it and not get offended. The Pakistani students love the Pakistani character and his rivalry with the Indian character, but the Chinese students are perplexed by the now-superseded Mao-quoting Chinese character. I play an episode every now and again as a special treat. We are meant to seriously analyse the language points. (On the recent CELTA course, one of my fellow trainees mentioned watching and loving it. She wasn’t born when it was on tv.)

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