Taken for a master-mug

Friday 15th June 2012

‘WARM-up’ is much friendlier than ‘ice-breaker’, the latter implying that strangers are likely to be frosty towards each other.

Nor do I enjoy meetings ‘led’ by a ‘facilitator’ who wants to ‘go round the table’ asking everyone to ‘share something about themselves’ – even if it does help identify those over-fond of the sound of their own voices.

After a busy week, I’m catching up with the news.

An article on the Guardian website not only caught my eye, but also irked me considerably when I discovered that two (female) elected members were banned from speaking in the Michigan House of Representatives for using the words ‘vagina’ and ‘vasectomy’ during a debate on medical matters. There are a number of (adult male) Americans who still have quite a bit of growing up to do, it seems.

Which reminded me of a conversation in a Southend taxi, in which a dear friend was travelling, having been met at the station by her daughter, who was stage managing a show in the town.

The driver, a talkative fellow, assuming his passengers to be typical holiday-makers, asked if they had anything exciting planned.

“I’m taking my mum to the theatre.”

“Nice. Got tickets for that musical at the Pavilion, have you?”

“No. we’re off to The Vagina Monologues.”

That shut him up.

Which reminds me of a warm-up game I call Mastermug. Participants call out, in turn, a word belonging to a chosen category, within a few seconds and without repeating a word already used.

As a relatively young teacher, I played it once – but only once – with a group of tricksy teenagers.

After a few hesitant rounds with the usual topics – colours, food, outdoor games – I foolishly asked them to suggest a category…

“Parts of the body.”

…even more foolishly agreed to it: the group’s knowledge of (the correct) anatomical terms was most impressive.

But the eagerness with which they all suddenly wanted to participate was, I must confess, largely due to the delight taken in the embarrassment brought upon himself by their naïve teacher.







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