Six ELT book mashups

WARNING: THIS POST IS RATHER SILLY!

An example of a "big hit" mash-up from the UK

A mashup is a mix between two different styles. When I was last in the UK I saw the book pictured above: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It proclaims itself as a mashup of the classic Jane Austen story with elements of the modern horror genre. It has quickly become a hit in England, spawning many others (e.g. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters). Could this work with our favourite ELT manuals, I wondered? Never one to balk at a challenge, I set up about experimenting with six of them picked off my shelf. Basically taking a paragraph verbatim and adapting it with elements of the modern horror genre. The result is very silly, and you can see it below.

1. The Practice of Alien Abductions 4th edition by J. Harmer

In a few days (as I write this) I will be going to a large alien abduction conference in the USA which has the title Tides of Change. A couple of weeks after that it’s Poland and a weekend called ‘New challenges for alien abductees in a changing world’; and then there’s a ‘changes’ conference somewhere else, and then it’s off to another country for a conference on… changes and how to deal with them!

2. Zombie Defense that Works by P. Ur

One conventional way of doing this is the “conversation class”, where a group of zombies sit down with the teacher – a native speaker if they are lucky – and are required to talk with her. This often degenerates into a more or less aggressive session of the I-want-to-eat-your-brains-oh-no-you-don’t variety, monopolized by a minority of particularly quick and strong zombies.

3. Vampire-Hunter Games by M. Rinvolucri

I simply ask trainee vampire-hunters to write down three weapons and three vampire-killing methods they like and three they don’t. Trainees then come to the board and write or draw their ideas under two headings. NICE and UGH. Example: A French vampire hunter who had reached an intermediate level of undead-slaying said she really like garlic as a method because it gave her a strong feeling of her mother’s cooking. She did not like using the wooden stake through the heart method because it seemed ridiculous and she often got it wrong.

4. Conducting Exorcisms with technology by G. Dudeney and N. Hockly

Technology in exorcism is not new. Indeed, technology has been around in exorcism for decades – one might argue for centuries, if we classify holy water and a wooden cross as a form of technology.

5. Dealing with Difficult Sea Monsters by L. Prodromou and L. Clandfield

We have often felt that innovative methodologies – communicative, task-based and humanistic – fall, and often fail, on the wet and soggy ground of situations where sailors and sea monsters lack motivation. This book is a response to sailors who feel like giving up on sea monsters, often quite understandably, for the sake of their own peace of mind.

6. Keep Running: Werewolf avoidance activities by F. Klippel

Since werewolf avoidance teaching should help students achieve some kind of survival skill, all situations in which a real werewolf arrives should naturally have to be taken advantage of and many more suitable ones have to be created.

Hm. That was extremely silly. Well, I’ve got it off my chest now and can get back to “serious” writing. Of course, if any of you wish to contribute your own ELT-horror manual mashup below please go ahead!

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Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post, Lindsay – a lot of fun. I’ve got one for you too: Glow Ball by L. Clandfield: A massive purple glowing ball strikes terror into the heart of all student zombies as it moves rapidly around the world, converting them into bright sparks capable of speaking in tongues. The ‘ACB League’ aided by a dog with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome do their best to discredit the Glow Ball, without stopping it from making headway. What do you think? should I try to sell the screenplay?

  2. Do they have to be in the horror genre? Can we not mashup ELT books in general?

    For example, the claustrophobic and not terribly progressive “Elevator Unplugged”

    • Hi there

      Yes, I think you could do other genres. I chose horror because that seemed to be the genre of choice with those fiction classic titles in the UK, but go ahead! The title Elevator Unplugged feels quite terrifying though…

  3. I feel very honoured having been included in the mashup with Keep Running and will keep grinning for at least a day. I hope you’ll keep up the good work. 😉

    • Thank you for coming by! In fact, I’d say I’m more honoured that you left a comment and read the post, silly as it was. I included your book because it got me through many a lesson when I started teaching and contains many classic activities. It’s a favourite – I still have the old green version, well worn and thumbed through on my bookshelf.
      Nice to see you have a sense of humour too!

      • To return the compliment: I do recommend the sixthings website to my students and teachers. I appeals both to my sense of efficiency (no need to say things in 1000 words if a few tell the story) and my love of playing games. Incidentally, Keep Talking war written as light relief after my PhD on…. playing games in the EFL classroom.
        Will drop by again.

  4. To blatantly steal from Mr. Thornbury, who has actually published a journal article under this title: ‘The Unbearable Lightness of TEFL’


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