Monday, January 11, 2016

6 David Bowie Quotes for ELLs

Rest in Peace, David Bowie.  January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016

Musings about David Bowie and ELLS
Mural in Brixton, England--Bowie's birthplace; source: Sowas142

I remember listening to Space Oddity as a kid and thinking it was such a weird and wonderful song.  My friends and I loved it.  I looked forward to his new albums.  Songs like Fame, Rebel Rebel, Young Americans, Changes and Suffragette City are among my all-time favorites.  I learned the word androgyny because of Bowie.

His legacy as a pop culture icon is assured.  He was an inspiration to me when I was growing up and I'm sure he will continue to influence young people for decades to come.

Here are a few of his quotations that I feel will resonate for English Language Learners and their teachers.  A bulletin board display of these quotes could be a springboard for writing tasks for students.  They could choose one and explain what it means to them.  Or they could pick a singer/songwriter they like and write a short biography of their selected artist.  Students could also listen to a few of Bowie's songs and write their reaction to them, then compare and contrast one of his songs with their current favorite song.

All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it.
ELLs should be proud of their work and not compare themselves to other peopleThey should have confidence in themselves and believe in what they do and who they are.

I've never responded well to entrenched negative thinking.
Don't let other people get you down.  If someone else has a bad attitude, don't let that negativity make you feel bad.

I'm not very articulate.
But you will be!  It may take a while, depending on your personal circumstances, but with motivation, hard work, support, and focus, you will get there!
But I'm pretty good with collaborative thinking. I work well with other people.
Learning how to work with other people is a skill that takes practice to do well.  Brainstorming ideas with others often means the ideas generated are better than those you think of on your own.  Remember the phrase: Two heads are better than one?  :-)
Don't you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything. 
Words have meaning because words have power.  Play with words and you play with ideas.  Learn how to express yourself well and you can do great things.  It doesn't matter whether you read the dictionary or something else -- just read!
You can neither win nor lose if you don't run the race.
If you never try, you'll never know if you can succeed.  You can learn just as much from losing, i.e. from making a mistake, and winning isn't always everything.  All anyone can ask for is that when you run the race, you do your best -- success often comes from the attempt, not from the result.

As Jarvis Cocker said in a tribute to David Bowie on the BBC News website
Bowie made people feel that it was alright to be a bit different and to try things out. 
Isn't that a perfect description of English Language Learners?