Despite the fact that the band literally has a song about a kid who spoke in class today, it seems there’s a different Pearl Jam track being used in the classroom to help young people learn English. Matt Westerberg, a Peace Corps volunteer in Northern Ethiopia, has been using the band’s song “Even Flow” to help his students learn to speak the language, despite the obvious implication this will also lead to their speaking rapidly and mostly unintelligibly, save for a few words like “butterflies.” Also, lots of emotive growling.
As Westerberg writes in an essay for Alternative Nation, it began as a joke, with the teacher writing the chorus on the chalkboard and having his ninth-grade students learn it as a goof. However, the next day the kids asked to try again. “At first it was all just a joke, but after awhile, the students began to really build confidence through learning the song. Kids that were shy and quiet all year were suddenly more confident speaking up in class and loved participating in the song.” The video below demonstrates the kids’ affinity for the song, although then asking them, “What’s your favorite Pearl Jam song?” is a bit like asking someone which Adele album they like the best. Also, it proves that, whoever these kids’ gymnastics coach is, that person deserves a raise.
Plus, if you want to them to stay fans, maybe don’t let them hear “Hey, Foxymophandlemama, That’s Me.”