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This is a lesson plan for adult higher-level students (high B2+) in which students learn some political idioms and put them into practice in a discussion. Download the hand out and key below:
Note: I found most of the political idioms on the site below, but designed the matching task, sentence matching activity and discussion myself:
Politics – Idioms and Discussion
Match the idioms to their definitions:
the hand-out has pretty pictures but they didn’t come out here 🙁
|1. A two/three/four-horse race||2. A political football||3. Hot air|
|4. Toe the party line
|5. A political hot potato||6. A hung parliament|
|7. Press the flesh
|8. Get on/off your soapbox||9. Throw in the towel|
|10. Bent/crooked||11. Live/be in an ivory tower
|12. Have the common touch|
|a. Be corrupt
b. When there’s no clear winner in an election
c. Empty words
d. To speak passionately about something you believe in
e. A problem that doesn’t get solved because of political reasons
|f. To give up
g. A competition/election only a few people can win
h. To shake hands with the public
i. To be able to relate to the public
|j. To be detached from reality
k. A potentially controversial topic
l. Conform to and express the same views as the leaders of your party.
Put the expressions in the sentences:
- After the speeches the politicians went into the crowd to __________________ with members of the public.
- What the chancellor said about trickle-down economics is a load of ________________, I don’t believe it for a second.
- The problem with most politicians is that they __________________________ and have no idea how their policies affect people.
- I reckon half the politicians in this country are _____________________, you just have to follow the money.
- The opposition have decided to __________________________ and accept that they lost the election.
- Normally, if a cabinet minister doesn’t ________________________ they’ll soon be out of a job.
- Early polls suggest the result will be a _____________________ with no clear winner.
- It looks like the election will be a ___________________ between Labour and the Conservatives.
- Prison reform has been a ______________________ for years because prisoners don’t vote!
- The subject of MPs’ expenses is a ______________________, nobody wants to touch it but I’m sure it’s going to blow up soon.
- The new leader of the Liberals _______________________, you can see it in the way he talks to his constituents.
- ______________________ Tony, you’re always banging on about conspiracy theories but we’ve heard it all before.
- How much of a politician’s time should they spend on local issues relevant to their constituency?
- How much of a politician’s time should they spend on national issues?
- Should all politicians have to toe the party line? When should they be allowed to speak out against their leader/policy in their party?
- If a politician doesn’t toe the party line, what should the leader do?
- Which politicians are always spouting hot air? Can you trust anything a politician says? Are there any politicians in your country that you believe in?
- Who should get the first opportunity to form a government in a hung parliament, the party that got the most votes? Or the party most likely to be able to form a stable coalition?
- What have been the biggest political hot potatoes in your country in the last few years?
- Are there any issues that are treated like political footballs in your country?
- What do you think when you see a politician pressing the flesh? Why do you think they do it? Have you ever pressed the flesh with a politician?
- What do you get on your soap box about?
- Which politicians in your country have the common touch? And which don’t?
- Are elections in your country normally a two-horse race?
- If you could change one thing about the political system in your country, what would it be?
- How much do politicians earn in your country? Is it enough? Why do people get into politics?
- L (l)
- I (i)
- Press the flesh
- Hot air
- Live/are in an ivory tower
- Throw in the towel
- Toe the party line
- Hung parliament
- Two-horse race
- Political football
- Political hot potato
- Has the common touch
- Get off your soap box – used to tell someone to stop talking about something
Students could write a CAE/CPE style report on the state of politics in their country, the report could then suggest ways in which politicians could get young people to take and interest in politics.