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There’s no doubt that studying English can be just as taxing as it is rewarding, but sometimes a little motivation from a 90s rock band doesn’t hurt.

Matt Westerberg is a Peace Corps teacher in northern Ethiopia, where the national language is Amharic (one of 86 living languages) but knowing English is crucial to enrollment in universities or career development. Matt teaches 9th grade English and runs the school’s English club. Fortunately for Matt’s students, they have a taste for the grunge rock he loves and incorporates into the classroom.

“After class one day I jokingly wrote the chorus line to Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” on the chalkboard,” Matt writes. “I thought it would be funny to have the kids try and learn it. They laughed their way through it. The next day, they demanded to try it again.”

Matt describes how learning the song “Even Flow” together opened up even the shiest of his students. Eventually they mastered the song and were requesting more lyrics to learn. When class finished on time, Matt would sprinkle in lyrics from Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under the Bridge” and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

“Grunge is so far from anything they normally listen to in Ethiopia, ” Matt says. “However, they love the energy of it and a few students really like the style.”

Next up for Matt’s students? Probably a Foo Fighters song school project, he reports.

You can watch Matt’s video of his students performing “Even Flow” below.


Can’t view the video? Watch here.

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