Tag Archives: listening

Lesson Plan: The Hunt for News

It’s been years since  I last discussed the media and its role in our society in my classes. I don’t really think much has changed since the last time I explored this topic in class.

  • I feel we are still being manipulated by the media
  • I still feel we are, in most cases, misinformed
  • I still feel that the press is controlled by the same networks of people that run everything else
  • I still feel the information we receive is biased and based on speculation rather than hard facts.

But this lesson is meant to be focused on the paparazzi and their work chasing celebrities or famous people. We will discuss the very serious damage that the paparazzi and tabloid media can cause when they constantly invade people’s privacy. We will discuss whether the paparazzi are to blame for some unfortunate events and whether stricter laws should be enforced. We will study vocabulary relevant to this topic and read real examples where the right to have a private life will be discussed. Are you ready?

Step 1: a stirrer.
  1. Ask students: Have you ever met someone famous?

Telling an anecdote about yourself never fails to engage students. It’s only fair that if you are asking them to talk about themselves, you do the same.

2. On the board, write the question below and ask students to briefly comment on this.

 Want fame? Kiss your privacy goodbye! 

Step 2 . Introducing vocabulary

Every time I revise or introduce vocabulary in my classes, I make a point of reminding my students that they need to study the vocabulary in chunks. There is no point in studying the verb “apply” if they don’t know the preposition it collocates with.  The next activity is a good one to remind students of this necessity.

  • Give students two minutes to write all the vocabulary they know related to The media.
  • On the board, write a circle with the word The Media inside. Do a mind-map with all the vocabulary students provide.
  • Drill pronunciation and then do a quick translation exercise to consolidate meaning and pronunciation.

Introduce new vocabulary.

  • To follow a lead
  • paparazzo/paparazzi/amateur paps
  • revulsion/respect for their profession
  • a tip-off/to tip off the paparazzi
  • to gather news
  • to spot a celebrity
  • agency/ˈeɪ.dʒən.si/
  • news outlets
  • news coverage
  • exclusive /ɪkˈskluː.sɪv/
  • a major scoop
  • click-bait story
  • photojournalism
  • tabloid journalism and sensasionalism /senˈseɪ.ʃən.əl.ɪ.zəm/
  • to censor/impose strict censorship /ˈsen.sə.ʃɪp/
  • Celebrity scandals
  • sensational news
  • To harass foreign journalists UK /ˈhær.əs/ AmE /həˈræs/
  • to stalk a celebrity /stɔːk/
  • to pursue or chase celebrities /pəˈsjuː/
  • to catch up on the news
  • to leak to the press
  • to tackle misinformation
  • invasion of privacy /ɪnˈveɪ.ʒən/ /ˈprɪv.ə.si/
  • untrustworthy/reliable sources /ʌnˈtrʌstˌwɜː.ði/
  • accuracy of the reports
  • unverified information
  • biased/unbiased
  • to be in the limelight
  • to be highly sought-after /ˈsɔːt ˌɑːf.tər/

You can follow the rest of the lesson plan using the presentation below. I hope you enjoy it!

The Hunt for News

In case you are looking for debatable or persuasive topics about the media, here you have some.

Science and Research: Vocabulary, Listening and Conversation Questions for C1 students

Back to the grind with an engaging lesson on Science and Research.

  • Topic: Science
  • Level: C1
  • Skill and subskills: Vocabulary, Speaking, listening

Warm-up: Scientists and their discoveries and inventions

1. In pairs: In 1 minute, write as many scientists as you can think of together. Do you recall what they are known for?

2. Whole class. Display the exercise and do it as a whole class.  Students should rank the 3 most important discoveries or inventions in pairs, giving reasons for their choices.

Vocabulary. The words you need.
    • a major breakthrough in the fight against
    • to address the underlying cause of autism
    • to extract DNA from
    • to undertake/carry out a survey
    • to test animals in labs
    • to do experiments on sheep
    • the experiment was flawed
    • to do /carry out research
    • the findings show/ the findings highlight the importance…
    • to pave the way for …
    • lack of funding / get funding
    • genetic disorders
    • genetic engineering
    • gene manipulation
    • to invest in space studies
    • cutting-edge technology
    • to benefit or to harm people
    • to be more prevalent than
    • to clone
    • to devise a way to …
    • to carry out examinations
    • to successfully transplant
    • scientific theories 
    • to provide conclusive evidence
    • to be sceptical (UK)/skeptical (US) about…
    • to have growing concerns about
    • to go beyond the edge of ethics
    • a drugs trial
    • unethical research

Listening:Many Clinics Use Genetic Diagnosis to Choose Sex

Step 1. Pre-Listening:

Read the beginning of the news and ask students to discuss what the news is about

Prenatal genetic testing: A growing number of doctors are pushing the ethical limits of the procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

Some say doctors are going beyond the edge of ethics. Some doctors analyze an embryo’s DNA so parents…

Step 2. Listening Comprension.

TRUE or FALSE?

  1. There is not a 100%  guarantee of success when choosing the sex of your baby.
  2. The American Society of Reproduction Medicine approves of this technique.
  3. The Indian couple is afraid of stigmatization.
  4. In Indian culture, having girls is less desirable than having boys.
  5. According to Dr Potter, the desired sex in most cases is male.

Source and transcript: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6654619&t=1641299618264

Step 3. Now, on the board, write the question: “ Is it ethical to choose the sex of your baby?” and ask students to, individually, list some reasons to defend their position. Put them in pairs to discuss their opinions and then do a whole-class debate.

Note: You will also find this question (slightly modified) in the exercise below.

Speaking: Activating vocabulary

Display the first question and have students, as a whole class, come up with the word that best fits in the gap.

Housing Issues. A Lesson Plan for C1 students.

Is there a limit to how long you can spend teaching and talking about a topic? I wonder,  how many subtopics are there to talk about? It’s been one month since the course began and I am still doing lesson One. OMG! At this pace, I am never gonna reach the end of the textbook.

Here is a little something I did with my C1 students. Unit 1 was about cities, but how do we talk about cities and not about Housing? My thoughts exactly, we cannot.

  • Topic: Housing
  • Level: C1
  • Activities: Speaking, Listening, Mediation, Vocabulary. Board Game
  • PDF ( available at the end of the post) 🙂
Optional lead-in:  Speaking

Students get into pairs and talk about these 2 questions.

  • It is said an average person lives in 11 homes in their lifetime. What is your number?
  • If money was not a problem, where would you live and what kind of house would you have?
Revising Vocabulary

It is always a good idea to give students some time to come up with vocabulary they already know. You can do it in different ways.

  1. The traditional way: give students a couple of minutes to come with as many words or expressions they can think of related to housing.  This can be done in pairs with one person writing down the answers. Get group feedback and write the most interesting words/chunks on the board.
  2. Using technology to create a word cloud on the board: you can use Answergarden, Mentimeter or Wooclap for this. (hover over the name of the tool and it will take you to the tool)

Fun extension: ask pairs to write a sentence using as many words as possible from the board. Score pairs a point per word and award a bonus point for the longest.

Introducing Vocabulary
  • affordable home
  • low-income housing
  • budget
  • low -income households
  • mortgage
  • tenants
  • landlords
  • overburdened with housing costs
  • homeowners
  • social housing
  • to make a down payment
  • disposable income
  • average price
  • to evict /eviction
  • homelessness
  • rising home prices
  • overcrowding and under occupations
  • real state bubble
  • subsidized
  • housing issues
  • cohousing
  • utility bills
  • to downsize
  • squatting/squatters
  • to rehabilitate /rehab, rehabilitation

 

Listening and Speaking. Video: Affordable Housing

Time to listen

Before watching the video, ask students to predict the answers to these questions. This will hopefully lead to some discussion where students will be encouraged to use some of the vocabulary above.

Play the video and ask students to check their predictions. Comment on the answers. Were their predictions accurate?

  • Making housing more accessible would help reduce…
  • What share of a household budget do you think is spent on average on housing?
  • Why has the price of housing risen so dramatically in the last decade?
  • What share of a household budget is spent on housing in low-income households?
  • In many countries, a large share of young people is still living with their parents. Predict: is your country one of these countries? Justify your answer

Reading and speaking

Divide students into pairs  for this activity

STUDENT A: cohousing

Cohousing, which is a form of intentional community, originated in Denmark in the 1960s Intended to recreate an “old-fashioned sense of neighbourhood” through resident participation in the design and operation of their communities, this type of community model allows families and individuals to occupy private homes while at the same time contributing both time and money to common facilities that are owned and managed by the larger community.3 Community members pay monthly or yearly membership dues and often help with tasks such as cleaning and repairing shared resources. While residents contribute to the financial responsibilities of acquiring and maintaining common facilities and resources, each member maintains an independent economy and personal income.

Source: https://ala-apa.org/

Summarize what you have just read and give your opinion

STUDENT B: Squatting

Squatting has a long history in Spain, often fuelled by high rates of homelessness. But there is now a darker phenomenon too – squatters who demand a “ransom” before they will leave a property. And this has led to the rise of private eviction companies, some of which use threats to achieve their goal.

Source : https://www.bbc.com/

Summarize what you have just read and give your opinion

Speaking: Conversations questions+ Board game

Driven by my obsession to make students use new vocabulary, I am constantly thinking and trying different ways to “force” new vocabulary into my students’ speeches. In this case, I have created a board game here using the vocabulary above. A dice, some counters and some conversation questions and they are ready to go. Students throw the dice and try to use the word/chunk in the square they have landed on. They can also try to use the word/chunk in the previous and following square. If they do so, they can move forward one square.

  • Is giving homeless people homes more effective and sensible than making them stay in shelters or on the street?
  • How much is Airbnb affecting the housing market in cities where rent is on the rise?
  • What can be done about rising homelessness in big cities?
  • Does it make sense to encourage homeownership through tax policies?
  • Should housing policy be more balanced, supporting rental housing and homeownership on a more equal footing?

Source https://www.nytimes.com/

 

Exam-oriented task using vocabulary

.

In this case, I gave them this task and asked them to discuss the prompts in pairs. Needless to say, encouraging them to use the new vocabulary,

Exam-oriented: Oral Mediation Task

Here and Here

Here’s the PDF for the lesson.I hope you find this lesson useful.

An Outdoors QR-Codes Listening and Speaking lesson about Cities

I need to share this activity. It really has all the ingredients for a perfect lesson.

Things I want you to know about this lesson.

  • It is super engaging and gives your class a touch of modernity
  • It is collaborative
  • It deals with two basic skills, listening and speaking, but a lot of subskills are also at work.
  • It gives students and teachers a good excuse to stand up from their seats and even take the lesson outside, as I did.
  • It helps build rapport in the class, which is sooo important at the beginning of the course

I am not going to lie to you. It needs some initial preparation, but it pays off. Believe me! Besides, I find the whole process of preparing the activity very entertaining. Ok. I know. You don’t have time. The good news is that you can always use mine if you like my choice of cities.

  • Topic: Cities
  • Level: C1
  • Main skills: listening and speaking
  • Time: 50-60 minutes
  • Materials: here
Before the session
  1. Before the session, look for a video that can easily be divided into parts. In my case, we were learning about cities and their problems so I decided on this one 10 of the most overrated cities from one of my favourite channels on Youtube. I chose only 4 cities to form groups of 4 students.
  2. I used Camtasia to make 4 new videos, one for each city: Rome. London, New York and Río de Janeiro. If you don’t have Camtasia, don’t let this put you off, you can easily use the free online https://online-video-cutter.com/es/.
  3. Once you have the videos, you need to upload them to, for example, Google Drive.
  4. Once online, you need to copy the URL and create a QR Code. I create mine here. The Gif below shows how to do it once the video is uploaded to Google drive.

5. Now, you need to print the  4 QR Codes on separate pieces of paper.

6. Before the class, you will also need to tell students to download- I bet they already have it- a QR Code reader (I use QR Scanner) to their mobile phones and bring some earbuds for the next class.

Done!!! See? No big deal!! Now, everything is ready. Ready for the fun part!! 🙄

Tell the students this class will be done outside. Yay!! It could be the aisle or any other place on the premises that has enough room for the students to move. In my case, I used the schoolyard and pasted the QR Codes on the walls, well, not exactly walls as you can see from the picture.

Part 1.Listening and  Retelling
  • Ask students to form groups of 4. Each of them should choose a different city
  • Ask students to scan the code for their city and take notes.
  • Explain they will need to share as many details as they can about the city of their choice with their group. Apart from the main specifics of the city, they will need to explain why the city is overrated.
  • Allow 15 minutes for this part as students will need to watch their video several times to write down as many details as possible.
  • Next, students get back to their groups and start sharing the information gathered about their cities.
Part 2:  Speaking. Critical Thinking

 

In their groups, students talk about the issues the city in their videos has and together they debate whether the city where they live faces these same problems. Ask them to elaborate on their answers and offer possible solutions to tackle the problem.

Hope you have enjoyed my lesson and decide to give it a try!!

Teaching Students the Technique to Ace a Cloze Listening Exercise

Engaging, challenging and highly effective activity to teach students how to do a  Listening Cloze Exercise! This is a must-do activity to help students learn the technique for a fill-in-the-blanks exercise.

If I have to name the activity most of my older students find highly frustrating, it is probably doing a listening comprehension activity and not being able to understand anything. At least, that’s what they tell me. I suspect they are stretching it a tiny bit and they have managed to get the gist of what is being said but, already in a black mood when the audio finishes, they just feel they will never get better. The truth is that getting the gist is not enough when you are unable to answer the questions posed, especially when tested in an exam. That, we both know.

Though I always tell them that they need to work on this and promise that if they make a habit out of listening every single day, they will eventually get it and blah, blah, blah…, the truth is that we, as teachers, also need to find the time to explain how to do this kind of listening exercises.  Because although it doesn’t work magic, there is a technique… and it can help them.

It seems to me the beginning of a course is the right time to do it and so, this past week,  I set out to explain this technique.

But, you know me. With a game. Playing.

Step 1- Choose a Cloze Listening Exercise.

Step 2: Form Groups

Give all students the exercise on paper and ask them to form groups of 3ish people.

Step 3. Explain the Task

Explain that prediction in this kind of listening exercises is key. Stress the importance of trying to predict two things:

  1. The grammatical category of the word(s) that will fit in the gap: is it a noun, a verb…etc?
  2. The challenging part: ask students in their groups to try to guess the word (s) that they think will fill the gap. Ask students to name a secretary in the group that will be in charge of writing down their guesses.

For example in Number 1, one group might write “their teachers” but another group might decide “parents”  is the best option.

Give students some individual time to read the text and start thinking about the options. Then ask them to join their groups and decide on one option for each gap.

Step 4. The Whiteboard

Divide the whiteboard in as many columns as groups- see the picture- and ask the secretaries of each group to come up to the whiteboard and write their options. Comment on any coincidences to build suspense- in the picture, have a look at question Nº 2, they all wrote “culture”-.  Remember you are teaching them the technique, but it is also a game.

Step 5: the Listening

Play the audio (2 or 3 times). At this point, ask students to focus on their exercises and forget about their guesses.

Step 6: The Winners

Correct the listening exercise. Write the correct answers on the board and give 1 point for every coincidence. You know who the winner is, don’t you?

Note: In one class, one group got as many as 4 correct answers without even listening to the audio. Amazing, isn’t it?

Do you want to try? Follow all the steps and then listen to the audio. Check. How many wild guesses did you get right? Surely, you can’t expect to wild guess the exact number for gaps 3,5 and 6 but you know that it is a number and that, is saying a lot. Answers here.