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What Are The Best (& Worst) Scenes From “Mind Your Language”?


I guess I’ve been living under a rock, since, until last week, I had never heard of the late 70’s British situation comedy show called “Mind Your Language,” which is about an ESL teacher and his class. There are tons of clips on YouTube, and I’ve watched a few.

Some seem to me to be pretty insulting, and great examples of what NOT to do when teaching English. Others seem pretty funny, and are good examples of what you SHOULD do.

Do you have any recommendations of scenes that are either particularly good in showing what NOT to do, or ones that are good at showing what you SHOULD do?

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Larry,
    I’m just very curious to know whíchscenes you find VERY appropriate and which scenes you consider “NOT to do”.
    I know you’re speaking about a class situation with younger kids; I’m voluntary teaching older Brazilians. That’s quite a difference, although, I must admit: British humor is quite different from Brazilian!. I’m Dutch and I simply love the harder type of British humor but I can understand my Northern-and Southern American friends…;-)

    • Willem,

      I’m not thrilled about the scenes that ridicule students trying to pronounce words correctly. And I think there are a lot of scenes that don’t model good teaching technique — for example, when there’s not much teacher scaffolding. I’d just like to find some scenes that could be useful for teacher training.


  2. Hi Larry,
    With all due respect Larry, but these series were created in the 70’s and -as far as I know, honestly not with any ESL teaching in mind. I even think the acronym ESL wasn’t there yet. In those days I was working with refugees in the Netherlands (in a decade they were still welcome …) and I know of some very hilarious moments as well in my classes, trying to teach them the Dutch basics. I found myself back as a teacher repeating these hilarious errors again and again to make them contrast strongly with the correct language. It worked. Besides this, when I read your first comment what immediately popped up in my mind was a line from your countries known quote-machine: T. A. Edison: ““I haven’t failed, I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work” What I try to say is: sometimes the real, correct thing can be boring and not inciting to learn or remember whilst errors sometimes are quite instructive.
    But, above all keep in mind that these series were there to entertain!

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