Crime and Punishment lesson for Adults

Adult ESL teaching: Crime and Punishment.

One of my adult classes was studying a chapter about Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Seeing as I’ve purchased Crime and Punishment with every intention of eventually finishing it despite repeated attempts, I decided to bring it along as a prop. I also cooked up another interesting activity that I called “Crime and Punishiment” in honor of the book.

It works like this. On a paper introduce that you have been given the power to make new laws about anything you want. All you have to do is state the crime, the law, and the punishment below and anything you want can be made into a law. Try to have the students think up things that aren’t already illegal, but are more annoyances, and try to have the punishments fit the crimes.

My example in class was that anyone that gets caught messaging or talking on a phone in a movie theater will instantly have their phone service cut for two weeks. I explained why I thought this should be a “law”. I told my students they could either be harsh or fair, but they had to explain why they wanted the law in the first place.

It worked fairly well. One woman called for hard manual labor for anyone caught stealing herbs off a mountainside. Another woman complained about people who park in front of her car when they can’t find a spot and set their emergency break so she can’t push the car out of the way. She suggested that the offender be forced to pay by the minute for wasted time. Another complained about people who cut in line for a parking space in a garage. She called for suspended licenses as punishment. Another woman said she thought people caught speeding should be forced to clean the streets.

I’m not surprised the focus was on car related incidents. Seeing as many annoying things people do while driving in a far safer country such as the United States, the chaotic streets of Korea have to be a potential powder keg for people with short tempers. I had too many things on my list involving cars, and I don’t even drive. It was a fun class activity because I think the students enjoyed thinking of ways to get even with the people that annoy them most.

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