This is a reading and speaking activity based around an article from the New York Times about possible changes to the Spanish working say timetable. The original article is quite long so I have edited it down a bit, it should be suitable for B2/FCE upwards. Here is a link to the edited version and the discussion questions:
Start by asking students to tell the class about their average day with specific focus on the times at which they get up, eat, go to work, go to bed etc. Ask them if they follow the typical Spanish timetable outlined in the introduction to the article. Do they eat late? Do they have a siesta?
Once they have shared their different schedules set the class a time limit depending on their level to quickly read the article and underline any unfamiliar vocabulary. This could include:
To hunker down – to meet up/get together
a boon – a bonus
a lag – a delay
Go over the new vocabulary on the board, then either split the class into small groups and give out the discussion questions or hold a whole-class discussion. Below are the discussion questions from the hand out:
What’s your initial reaction to the article?
Do you agree with any of the opinions stated? Which ones?
Describe your daily routine; does it follow the “Spanish” timetable?
What are the advantages/disadvantages of both the Spanish and the “European” timetable?
How difficult would you find it to adjust to a new timetable?
Do you think changing the timetable would affect the country’s culture?
Do you think most people would find it easy of difficult to adjust to a new timetable?
Do you think the current system helps people be efficient?
When you have finished the questions you could organise a class debate for/against the idea of changing the Spanish timetable to be more in line with the rest of Europe. Sometimes when organising debate teams it’s a good idea to force your students to argue for a point that they don’t actually agree with. Debate structure should be as follows:
- Each team presents their argument (3 uninterrupted minutes per team) – the other team must remain silent but can take notes for the rebuttals later
- Rebuttals (10 minutes) – Teams can attack the opposition’s arguments based on statements made in the presentation of their argument.
- Result – Teacher can decide which team has the most coherent argument.
You may find my activity on language of agreement/disagreement useful for the debate.