The students I’ve had over the past 11 months have generally not been very creative. Mainly that is due to it being hard to be creative in one’s second language.
Today, I was pleasantly surprised by my students’ imagination and creativity.
We were doing an excercise on conditionals, mainly the second conditional (If + past simple, would + v1 (otherwise known as base form or the infinitive)). This is used for four reasons: unreal, unlikely, dreams/wishes and advice. This is the most difficult conditional for students because it is unreal and requires imagination about things that aren’t real.
The first example I always put on the board is “If I were a girl, my name would be Amanda.” This generally gets a laugh or blank stares depending on the class. After explaining each of the different reasons to use this piece of grammar and showing examples, I asked the class to come up with their own examples, what I saw today was unprecedented.
The first girl to volunteer never speaks in class and is in general rather weak, but she walks straight to the board and writes, “If I were Stephanie, I would divorce Andy.” Knowing this statement was meant in good fun and seeing as it was perfect grammar I couldn’t help but laugh.
What followed was even better. Two guys in my class, Cem and Emre are best friends and they like to joke with each other. Here’s what they came up with.
Emre: “If I were a girl, I wouldn’t date Cem.”
Cem: “If Emre were pregnant, his child would not be human.”
Emre: “If I were the boss of Kent English, I would kick Cem out.”
It was truly a lovely class where it was very evident that they understood by their ability to come up with such ridiculous examples, because that’s what the second conditional is, ridiculousness.