Hot Seat

In our Oral English class we tried an activity that I found on the Internet at Dave's ESL Cafe. Each student volunteered to sit in the hot seat (in the background misspelled as "hotseat") and be subjected to 5 questions by their classmates. Whether or not they had to answer the question I didn't say. As with many activities we do, I don't like to impose too many rules. Waiting to see how far it goes is usually more interesting, and I can always move things past awkward moments or even cancel the activity completely.

It took the students a few questions before they got the idea. When they really got going there was certainly a pattern to their questions.

What I found most interesting about the activity was how much their questions revealed their own culture and the individual who was in the hot seat. Questions that were often repeated:

"When will you get married?" (by far the most common).

"What kind of girls/boys do you find attractive?"

"What do you think of the girls/boys in our class?"

The last question is telling because it shows just how much students who know one another very well can still keep some of their true feelings hidden away. Overall their questions were about relationships - a reflection of a long history of Confucianism (don't tell them, though - they feel that they are far more modern than their parents).

I learned a lot about individuals but, more importantly, how the students in the class felt about certain people. Some of the questions were as follows:

"Do you think you're so cool?" (the class thinks he acts too cool).

"Do you have a bf? What do you like about boys?" etc. (she is very nervous and shy around boys).

"Is your duty to your family or your boyfriend?" (A girl who, in 2 years, will have to decide whether she returns home to her family or to the province from which her boyfriend came). Her answer, by the way, was an incredibly well-spoken balance that led to class applause.

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