Let Hasan Minhaj Tell You a Story

Do yourself a favor and allow this master storyteller to tell you about his senior prom. Hasan Minhaj, you may know him from The Daily Show, takes us back to 2003, when he was a Muslim teen growing up in mostly white Davis, California. No spoilers here, but I promise his story is one that’ll get your kids talking.

Note: The language of Minhaj’s charming podcast is clean, but one curse word is bleeped and he does say “Jesus” once in an exasperated voice. The story is appropriate for high school students, but you should listen to the podcast before using in class to make sure the content is a good match for your students. Obviously.

Click here to listen.

I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll use this 15-minute podcast as a supplement to my Romeo & Juliet unit or as a model of show-not-tell details in personal narrative, but Minhaj has definitely earned a home somewhere on my class calendar.

Feel free to create your own discussion questions to help your students dig deeper into Minhaj’s story or grab my set of handouts here. A bundle of all five of my Listen & Learn lessons, including this one, is also available here at a 20% discount. Hope you like ‘em!

Teach on, everyone.

8 thoughts on “Let Hasan Minhaj Tell You a Story

  1. Totally love this, but my teens, for the most part, don’t have enough level to handle it. If I got lucky and got a really good, hard working group, I’d have them there, and beyond, by the end of the year!

    On the other hand, my adults tend to have this level and more; soooo, I am dying to try this, and the other Listen & Learn lessons. 🙂

  2. Absolutely, I understand, Carolyn. The language is fast and for your kids, English as a Foreign Lang. students in Spain, it’d definitely be a lot to absorb. My kids here in Idaho, regular ol’ English/Language Arts classes, have fallen in love with the Listen & Learn series, mostly because it’s something different and it’s a day I let them use their phones/earbuds to listen at their own pace. I wonder if your adult learners in Spain would connect to the prom story. Dumb question, but do they even have senior proms in Spain? Hmm…

  3. hahaha Actually, they don’t have dances or proms here, although they’ve seen enough movies to know what they’re about. Most adult students here are in their 20’s or early 30’s and few go over that except a rare +40.

    Although the subject matter may not be something they can directly relate to, it’s the new and different subject they enjoy. If I’m lucky, they’ll ask questions about proms and how it all happens, which is great to get them talking. In this case, there’s also the underlying matter of racism, which all of them will discuss. How much of a debate will depend on the students, age and level, but I will definitely give them the challenge to talk – if they can get a general understanding of the recording.

    One question: how many times do you let them listen to the recording? Do you let them use it while answering questions? In other words, how much use of the recording do you let them have?

    On shorter recordings I usually let them listen 3 times if necessary. I don’t tend to let them use the recording while they answer questions. Keeps them on their toes. Usually, on the first one they’ll call my bluff, but when they see I was serious, they start listening. At the end of the exercise, I usually give them a written copy and have them read it (out loud), so we work on fluency, vocab, pronunciation, etc. If I want to be really cruel, I’ll bring up whatever grammar we’re working on as well.

    Lol, as you can see, I tend to juice my material out well! 😀

  4. Indeed, Carolyn! I actually let my kids listen on their own phones/earbuds so they can pause and rewind as much as they want. Some of my kids definitely finish faster than others, but that’s fine. The “after” listening questions usually keep everyone going till the bell rings, anyway. So glad your kids (adult students?) in Spain will get to enjoy Minhaj’s story, too. It’s a fantastic storytelling example! 🙂

  5. After listening, do you have a classroom discussion? What are your next steps with this? I listened and found a lot of relevance to it.

  6. Oh definitely, Sarah! I have a set of questions for kids to answer independently while they listen to the podcast and then a second deeper-thinking set to reflect on/answer once the program is over. After they’ve had time to write their responses, I choose a few of the deeper-thinking questions to pose to the class to open a full-class discussion. By that time, my kids are eager to discuss and hear what others have to say about this meaty content and the discussion usually takes us to the bell. Hope this’ll work for your kids, too!

  7. Hi Laura, do you have somewhere on Teachers Pay Teachers to see the set of questions you use to flesh this out? I listened and loved it, but feel stuck as where to start with questioning.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: