ESL teacher teaching English class using the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis music video ‘Thrift Shop’ and accompanying materials.

An ESL teacher in Shinjuku yesterday taught an English class for two junior high school girls using the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis music video ‘Thrift Shop’ and accompanying materials.

“The video was very hard…, but I learnt about… America, onesies, having two girlfriends, and poppin’ tags,” said one 13-year-old student.

Long-time ESL teacher, Kevin Hamel, crafted his own ‘Thrift Shop’ worksheets, which included true or false questions, fill-in-the-gaps, and opinion questions about the music video.

“I’ve posted the worksheet online to help other teachers create a bit of zing in the classroom,” said Hamel.

[Download ‘Thrift Shop’ Worksheet Here]

Hamel also spent time researching for the lesson to get the best out of his students.

“I had to check if ‘hella-tight’ was a verb or an adjective,” said Hamel.

After watching the music video three times the students began to understand that one man’s trash is another man’s come-up.


  1. Not only is this brilliantly engaging for students, it does introduce them to American pop culture. If the kids have a motive to learn English, they learn better. In other news, I AM CRYING AT THIS OH MY GOD WHO’S IDEA WAS THIS?????? xDDDDDDD

  2. Just another edutainment “shock” lesson. Where’s the long-term value? What kind of moronic questions are those on the worksheet?

    I’m actually surprised Kevin is a “long-time ESL teacher” and gotten away with wasting hours of valuable class time with lessons like this?

    Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy all kinds of music, partying and the sort. But stop wasting time and create your lessons according to this creed: What if my child was in this class? Would I think it is worth her time?

    For something like this, play in the ESS Club or assign it as a culture lesson with learning objectives like: What is vulgarities in your culture? What happens if you use vulgarities? What are the good points and bad points of being vulgar? Do you think being vulgar is more acceptable in the US? What does it mean to be “cool”? Who do you think is “cool” and why? etc …

    But for a junior high school English lesson? Stick to the business of getting them to master the basics. Find motivating material for a broader audience.

  3. Yeah, I’ve worked in Japan for a long time too. I know who Kevin is pitching this lesson to – to the weakest links in the classroom who also happen to be the coolest (yankis).

    Kevin can’t stand that he can’t get the attention of these kids with “standard” lessons.

    So he has basically given up trying smarter ways to promote active learning and has resorted to baby sitting his students with material which he hopes are cool enough so that students can make the mistaken association that he too is a cool teacher.

    Kevin has a fear that the students see him as NOT cool. So he overcompensates with something like this so that the cool kids can accept him.

    Message to Kevin: Learn to create a better learning environment for learning English. Stop this irresponsible promotion of irrelevant content during English time.

    Blah. Two thumbs down.