Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Proficiency, Reading Classes

Guest Post: C1/C2 Reading – Procrastination

Students and faculty examine procrastination cures - The Pitt News

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito. It’s a Cambridge exam style multiple choice reading activity based on an article from the New York Times by Charlotte Lieberman on the topic of procrastination. Watch this space for another activity on the topic coming soon… Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

Reading and Use of English – Part 5

Read the text below and answer the following questions:

Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control)

By Charlotte Lieberman

If you’ve ever put off an important task by, say, alphabetizing your spice drawer, you know it wouldn’t be fair to describe yourself as lazy. After all, alphabetizing requires focus and effort — and hey, maybe you even went the extra mile to wipe down each bottle before putting it back. And it’s not like you’re hanging out with friends or watching Netflix. You’re cleaning — something your parents would be proud of! This isn’t laziness or bad time management. This is procrastination.

When we procrastinate, we’re not only aware that we’re avoiding the task in question, but also that doing so is probably going to have a detrimental effect on our morale. And yet, we do it anyway.

“This is why we say that procrastination is essentially irrational,” said Dr. Fuschia Sirois, professor of psychology at the University of Sheffield. “It doesn’t make sense to do something you know is going to have negative consequences.” She added: “People engage in this pointless cycle of chronic procrastination because of an inability to manage negative moods associated with a task.”

The particular nature of our aversion depends on the given task or situation. It may be due to something inherently unpleasant about the task itself — having to clean a dirty bathroom or organizing a long, boring spreadsheet for your boss. But it might also stem from deeper feelings related to the task, such as self-doubt, low self-esteem, anxiety or insecurity. Staring at a blank document, you might be thinking, I’m not smart enough to write this. Even if I am, what will people think of it? What if I do a bad job?

There’s an entire body of research dedicated to the ruminative, self-blaming thoughts many of us tend to have in the wake of procrastination, which are known as “procrastinatory cognitions.” According to Dr. Sirois, the thoughts we have about procrastination typically exacerbate our distress and stress, which contribute to further procrastination.

Although procrastination offers momentary relief, Dr. Sirois argues that it is what makes the cycle especially vicious. In the immediate present, shelving a task provides relief — “you’ve been rewarded for procrastinating,” Dr. Sirois said. This is precisely why procrastination tends not to be a one-off behavior, but a cycle, one that easily becomes a chronic habit. Over time, chronic procrastination has not only productivity costs, but measurably destructive effects on our mental and physical health, including chronic stress, general psychological distress and low life satisfaction, symptoms of depression and anxiety, unhealthy behavior, chronic illness and even hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

If it seems ironic that we procrastinate to avoid negative feelings, but end up feeling even worse, that’s because it is. And once again, we have evolution to thank. Procrastination is a perfect example of present bias, our hard-wired tendency to prioritize short-term needs ahead of long-term ones.

“We really weren’t designed to think ahead into the further future because we needed to focus on providing for ourselves in the here and now,” said psychologist Dr. Hal Hershfield, a professor of marketing at the U.C.L.A. Anderson School of Management.

His research has shown that, on a neural level, we perceive our “future selves” more like strangers than as parts of ourselves. When we procrastinate, parts of our brains actually think that the tasks we’re putting off — and the accompanying negative feelings that await us on the other side — are somebody else’s problem.

The human ability to procrastinate is deeply existential, as it raises questions about individual agency and how we want to spend our time as opposed to how we actually do. But it’s also a reminder of our commonality — we’re all vulnerable to painful feelings, and most of us just want to be happy with the choices we make. In the end, we have to find a better reward than avoidance — one that can relieve our challenging feelings in the present moment without causing harm to our future selves.

Questions:

  1. In the first paragraph, the author thinks that procrastinating:
    1. doesn’t include activities like cleaning and organizing, because they are productive.
    2. involves focusing on very detailed tasks that require a lot of effort.
    3. should not be equated to laziness.
    4. consists of activities like watching Netflix and spending time with friends.
  2. Why does the author say that procrastination is irrational?
    1. We are not conscious of the fact that we are about to avoid a task.
    2. We put off the task despite knowing it will affect us negatively.
    3. People repeat the same behaviour for no reason.
    4. Particular tasks evoke strong negative emotions.
  3. According to the text, where does our reluctance to get on with tasks come from?
    1. Deep negative feelings that were once associated with the task.
    2. Some tasks are gruesome and we want to avoid them.
    3. The dullness of some tasks makes us bored and unmotivated.
    4. It is probably not contingent on one specific origin.
  4. What does the article say about the vicious cycle of procrastination?
    1. Procrastinating provides an immediate and prolonged sense of relief.
    2. The behaviour only takes place once because it has negative consequences.
    3. It is a consequence of the negative effects on our physical and mental health.
    4. Putting off a task can reinforce the procrastinating behaviour.
  5. What is the relationship between evolution and procrastination, according to Dr. Hershfield?
    1. Brains have evolved to place current demands above future consequences.
    2. Procrastination is a product of recent evolution.
    3. It is ironic that we evolved to be procrastinators.
    4. We evolved to avoid negative feelings that may arise in the future.
  6. What is the neural justification for procrastination, according to Dr. Hershfield’s research?
    1. We avoid thinking about the future, even if it affects us in the present.
    2. Putting off a task provides relief from stress and anxiety.
    3. Our brains assign the responsibility for the task to a different entity. 
    4. The pursuit of happiness is the most important goal for our brains.

Language focus:

Phrasal verbs and vocabularyIdioms and collocations
Put off a task/doing somethingTo go the extra mile
Detrimental effect on/toTo stem from
Inherently (+adjective)In the wake of
Shelving (as a verb)A one-off (behavior)
Hard-wired (as an adjective)To have (something) to thank for
Await (vs wait?)To raise questions
Agency (as an abstract noun)Prioritize X ahead of Y
CommonalityIn the here and now
Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Listening Classes, Reading Classes

C1: Halloween Special – Spoopy Season

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween. This lesson plan is for C1 students. They will discover the spooky origins of the jack-o-lantern and then learn about the new phenomenon of “spoopy” by doing a gapped text reading exercise. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

  1. What are the similarities and differences between these two images?
  • Which of these images do you find the spookiest?
  1. Listening (Part 2) VIDEO – The Messed Up Origins™ of Jack-o’-Lanterns

Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and fill the gaps (1 to 3 words):

  1. Once you think about the name “Jack-o’-lantern”, it becomes evident that this tradition comes from ____________.
  2. Stingy Jack’s personal qualities made the devil ____________.
  3. On his way home Jack saw _______________ on the ground.
  4. The mutilated corpse’s voice was _____________ Satan himself.
  5. The devil was surprised by Jack’s ______________.
  6. Jack prevented the devil from climbing down the tree by surrounding it with ___________.
  7. The devil gave Jack a glowing ember as a _____________.
  8. According to the legend, Jack walks around _____________________ on October 31st.
  • Reading and Use of English (Part 7)

Read the text and choose the correct paragraph from [A]-[G] to fill in the gaps [1]-[6]. There is one extra paragraph, which you do not need to use.

ADAPTED FROM CULTURE DESK – San Francisco Chronicle

What is spoopy? Your guide to the Internet’s favorite Halloween aesthetic

For the past few years, October has not only heralded the return of Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes, it has also marked the dawning of spoopy season. For a small group of people who belong in the center of a Venn diagram of mellowed-out goths and the “extremely online,” the spoopy aesthetic has become a source of joy and comfort in turbulent times.

[1]

“Spookiness is campy, but spoopiness is campy in a very specific way,” says John Paul Brammer, a New York City writer and advice columnist whose popular memes about the demonic goat from the movie “The Witch” are more of the former. “Spoopy’s whole thing is that it is not frightening. It’s not threatening, not arcane, but uses the trappings of the threatening and the arcane to make the joke: OoOoOooOo!!! SpoooOOoooOOooky!!”

[2]

Its origin is much more straightforward than its meaning. In 2009, the word was spotted on a skeleton-theme sign displayed at a Ross Dress For Less store. Though its ascent took some time, the term gained popularity on niche social media communities like Tumblr until it finally reached escape velocity to spread even further.

[3]

Though it might seem random, the delight of this sort of banal creepiness stems from the desire to look an object of fear in the eye — and laugh.

[4]

In political discourse, Prevas points to anti-transgender activists using the image of Frankenstein’s monster to demonize transgender people. Historically, monsters have often stood in for types of people who were undesirable: racial minorities, immigrants, queer people, anyone outside the “normal.” “I love the unsettling part of (spoopiness),” Prevas says, “that disconnect between seeing the creatures which we expect to see in a horror scenario in a perfectly quotidian scene.”

[5]

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it resonates so well right now, at a time when marginalized people’s status feels extremely fraught and political rhetoric insists on estranging us from polite society. This aesthetic defies the imperative to be afraid: Instead, we embrace the monsters as part of ourselves, as neighbours. To let the monster out is, in a sense, letting oneself out. 

[6]

When we look at the skeleton riding a bike, it almost feels aspirational: This is what life could look like if our cloistered selves were set free. As it turns out, spoopiness might be just what we need right now.

[A] Because I’m a restaurant critic, my gauge of whether or not something has hit the mainstream is “The Great British Bake-Off.” In the 10th season, currently airing on the British Channel 4 and Netflix, Spanish contestant Helena Garcia has emerged as a fan favourite thanks to her memorably macabre but cute creations like a chocolate orange tarantula flanked by macadamia nut spider eggs, eldritch horror pies and bloody green “witch finger” biscuits.

[B] What is “spoopy”? It’s the coupling of wildly absurdist humour with terror — an aesthetic unto itself that, like camp, can be hard to articulate.

[C] Spoopy is a reclamation and reframing of these monsters, a mind-set that boasts, “You say I should be scared of this? Hilarious!”

[D] In fables and literary fiction, monsters are the embodiments of everything that society represses: a “warning system” of sorts, says Christine Prevas, a Columbia University Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on applying queer theory to contemporary horror. The monster is a taboo made flesh: A prepubescent girl turned foul-mouthed, vomiting demon in “The Exorcist”; a bad sexual encounter run amok in “It Follows.”

[E] When I look at this stuff, it reminds me of how I like to “watch” horror movies by reading their plot summaries on Wikipedia: a digital version of peeking at Medusa’s face by holding up a mirror.

[F] This disruption of the narrative of otherness mirrors the way people actually want to be seen. For instance, queer people can be queer outside of designated contexts like gay bars and the privacy of one’s bedroom, Prevas says. “We’re also queer in the grocery store. We’re also queer on a bicycle.”

[G] Much easier than defining it is sorting through what is and isn’t spoopy. As a start, think of it as friendly and somewhat sarcastic horror: A skeleton isn’t, but a skeleton riding a bike? Definitely spoopy. The Babadook isn’t, but the memes that claim that the monster is a proud gay man? Super spoopy.

  • Language focus (15 min)
  1. Vocabulary

Look at the words in bold in the text and discuss the meaning with a partner:

Former 
Somewhat 
Spotted 
Gauge 
Embodiments 
Unsettling 
Mirrors 

Next, fill in the gaps with the vocabulary words in the correct form to fit the context:

  • Jack saw a mutilated corpse with a(n) _____________  look on its face.
  • His mood ___________ the gloomy weather on that Halloween night.
  • Between risking being tricked and facing Jack’s grumbling stomach for the rest of the trip, the devil chose the _________.
  • Some consider him the very _____________ of evil.
  • The devil was ____________ confused by Jack’s request to pay the bill at the bar.
  • Jack ___________ a mutilated corpse on the ground on his way home from the bar.
USEFUL CHUNKSUse the trappings of (sth) Stem from Run amok In a sense
  • After Jack __________ the level of danger he was in, he decided to trap the devil by using crosses.
Posted in B2 First, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Listening Classes

B2: Halloween Special – Spoopy Season

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween! Students learn about the concert of spoopy vs spooky things and the history of the jack-o-lantern. Download the handouts below:

  1. Describe the images and discuss:
  2. What are the similarities and differences between these two images?
  • Which of these images do you find the spookiest?
  • Reading and Use of English (Part 2)

Adapted from Merriam Webster – Words We’re Watching

The Inside Poop On ‘Spoopy’

Spoopy might startle people, especially around Halloween season. Perhaps it’s the resemblance (1) ______ spooky, which could lead you to believe the formation is nothing more (2) ______ a jaw-dropping typo. Or it could also be that it has poopy in it, which makes the spelling amusing to people (3) ______ enjoy bodily humour. This Internet sensation’s origin was a comical misspelling of the adjective spooky spotted on a department store’s Halloween sign written in a “skeletal” font and photographed. The image was (4) ______ uploaded to the Internet; in short order, spoopy (5) ______ viral. Essentially, the word is used to describe something that typically would be spooky, (6) ______ an image of a skeleton or ghost, but is actually rather comical. The word has other connotations (7) ______ well: it is sometimes used for things that are intended to be spooky but simply fail to scare, or it could describe something that blends cuteness (8) ______ spookiness in a grotesque way.

Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and answer the following questions:

  1. According to the Youtuber’s previous views, why did people carve pumpkins?
    1. Because they wanted to scare others
    1. Because they didn’t like the taste of pumpkins
    1. Because there were too many pumpkins
  2. Why did the devil go to see Stingy Jack?
    1. To take him to hell
    1. So that he could have some drinks with him
    1. Because he admired him
  3. How did Stingy Jack avoid going to hell the first time?
    1. He trapped the devil in a silver cross
    1. He trapped the devil in his pocket
    1. He left the bar while the devil was paying
  4. Why did the devil climb up a tree?
    1. Because Jack was hungry
    1. Because he was hungry
    1. Because Jack threatened him with crosses
  5. The reason Jack wasn’t allowed in hell was…
    1. He wasn’t evil
    1. He made a deal with the devil
    1. God prohibited him from entering
  6. What does the legend say?
    1. That Jack is happy because he escaped hell
    1. Jack wanders through purgatory with a pumpkin
    1. Jack’s spirit appears in marshes on October 31st
  • Language focus

Watch the video again, complete the sentences below and match the words to their meanings:

  1. Well, it ___________ I was wrong about two things.
  2. A voice comes out ___________ to be Satan himself.
  3. Just ________ yourself ________ a silver coin.
  4. Jack’s soul was sent down to hell where the devil was _________ waiting.
  5. Was cursed to spend eternity __________ through the darkness or purgatory.
  6. Wandering aimlessly through the forests and ____________
Turns outWalking around slowly with no clear purpose or direction
ClaimingIn a way that shows a strong desire to do or have something
Turn (sth/sb) intoSaying that something is true or a fact
EagerlyTo be known or discovered finally and surprisingly
WanderingGround near a lake, a river, or the sea that is always wet
MarshesTo change, transform or develop from one thing to another
USEFUL IDIOMSTo be taken off guard The lesser of two evils
Posted in Guest Posts, Pronunciation Classes, Reading Classes, Writing Classes

Guest Post: Hot Take English – Limericks

This is another guest post by Alice at https://www.hottakeenglish.com/ on the topic of limericks. Students learn the rhyme and syllable structure of a limerick, then write their own. Download the student handout and teacher’s notes below:

Check out Alice’s blog for more great lesson plans. The limericks used in this lesson plan are from www.kingoflimericks.com

Posted in Advanced C1, Guest Posts, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Information Gap C1

7 Fun Information Gap Activities for the ESL Classroom

This is a guest post by Katy Wright. Students take part in an information gap activity in pairs in order to develop their understanding of phrasal verbs and other fixed expressions. Download the handout below:

Teacher’s notes

  1. Split students into pairs
  2. Give them either Student A or Student B worksheet
  3. Ask them to look at the top exercises by themselves for a few minutes
  4. Tell students that the second paragraph contains their partners answers
  5. Each pair “teaches” the other by helping the find the answer (ideally not just giving the answer ie “it sounds like….” or “the first letter is…”
  6. Once both pairs have corrected their work they could turn over their worksheets and test each other’s memory

Follow up: You could encourage students to write a text or a story containing these expressions

Student Worksheet

Student A worksheet

  • She has _______ her books in order of colour =
  • I’ve completely _________ out dairy from my diet =
  • My love of jazz _________ back to my days as a school trumpet player =
  • Her imagination is amazing, she __________ up with the most bizarre ideas =
  • When I heard the noise from upstairs the hairs ___________ up on the back of my neck =
  • You are still so angry about what he said to you, you need to ______ over it =
  • The little boy always felt ______ out of games in the playground =

Student B’s Answers

  • Society needs to cut back on using single-use plastics (reduce)
  • ●       My mum hates it when I leave my things lying around and don’t put them away for days (don’t tidy up)
  • He puts up with a lot of trouble from his younger sister (tolerate)
  • I have really come to like electronic music though I thought it sounded like garbage a few years ago (enjoy now though you didn’t originally)
  • My alarm goes off at 7:30 everything morning (makes a noise/rings)
  • I love animals but the sound of my neighbours dog barking all night long gets to me (irritate)
  • Don’t let the bullies call you horrible names, you need to stand up for yourself (speak/act in support of)

Student B worksheet

  • Society needs to _______ back on using single-use plastics =
  • My mum hates it when I _______ my things lying around and don’t put them away for days =
  • He ________up with a lot of trouble from his younger sister =
  • I have really ________ to like electronic music though I thought it sounded like garbage a few years ago =
  • My alarm ________ off at 7:30 everything morning =
  • I love animals but the sound of my neighbours dog barking all night long ___________ to me =
  • Don’t let the bullies call you horrible names, you need to ___________ up for yourself =

Students A’s Answers

  • She has put her books in order of colour (alphabetise/organise)
  • I’ve completely cut out dairy from my diet (stopped/blocked)
  • My love of jazz goes back to my days as a school trumpet player (originate)
  • Her imagination is amazing, she comes up with the most bizarre ideas (imagines/thinks of)
  • When I heard the noise from upstairs the hairs stand up on the back of my neck (makes me scared/reaction to music)
  • You are still so angry about what he said to you, you need to get over it (accept something and move on)
  • The little boy always felt left out of games in the playground (excluded)
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: B2 First – A Forgotten Dream

This is a guest post by my friend, colleague and co-host of the podcast 2Ts in a pod, Katy Wright. It’s designed to help students preparing for the B2 first exam get to grips with some of the phrasal verbs and fixed expressions they might encounter in the exam. Students read a text about Jim’s forgotten dream, then try to recreate the text using key words. Download the student handout below:

A FORGOTTEN DREAM

  1. Look at the pictures. What is the story about?
  • Read the story. Were your predictions correct?

Jim couldn’t stand his job. All he did all day was sit at his desk and pretended to work while watching the heavy rain outside his window. He was meant to be selling insurance on the phone, but he wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he had sold very few contracts. This was because all he had ever wanted to do was be an actor in Hollywood. He had loved acting when he was a teenager, but instead of going to America he studied Business and he put off looking for fame. “I’ll look into that when I have finished Uni” he said to himself. This was his biggest regret in life. On his way into work that day, his 15-year-old car broke down. Standing in the rain trying to change the tire he made up his mind. He wasn’t going to carry on like this. He was going to make a big change…

  • Answer the questions in groups.
  • What is Jim’s big dream?
  • Why do you think Jim didn’t decide to become an actor after Uni?
  • What do you think makes him change his mind?
  • What big change do you think he is going to make?
  • What will happen at the end of the story?
  • What do you the expressions in yellow mean?
  • Can you translate them to Catalan/Spanish?
  • Do you have similar expression in Catalan/Spanish?
  • Try to remember the original expression used in the story. The words in brackets are to help you.

Jim hated (STAND) his job. All he did all say was sit at his desk and pretended to work while watching as it rained heavily (HEAVY) outside his window. He should have been (MEANT) selling insurance on the phone, but he wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he didn’t sell many (FEW) contracts. This was because all he had ever wanted to do was be an actor in Hollywood. He had loved acting when he was a teenager, but rather than go (OF) to America he studied Business and he postponed looking (PUT) for fame. “I’ll investigate (INTO) that when I have finished Uni” he said to himself. This was his biggest regret in life. On his way into work that day his 15-year-old car stopped working (DOWN). Standing in the rain trying to change the tire he made a decision (UP). He wasn’t going to continue like this any longer (ON). He was going to make a big change…

  • Write the original expressions here:
  • STAND…………………………………………………………………………
  • HEAVY…………………………………………………………………………
  • MEANT …………………………………………………………………………
  • FEW …………………………………………………………………………
  • OF …………………………………………………………………………
  • PUT …………………………………………………………………………
  • INTO …………………………………………………………………………
  • DOWN …………………………………………………………………………
  • UP …………………………………………………………………………
  • ON …………………………………………………………………………
  • Write the rest of the story. Use the questions to help you.

Middle:

  • What does he decide to do next?
  • How will he change his life?
  • What does he do to help him realize his dreams?

End:

  • Does he finally reach his goals?
  • How does he feel about his situation?
  • Does he ever think about his old life?
  • Read all of the paragraphs and vote on the you think is the best
Posted in Grammar Classes, Guest Posts, Reading Classes

Guest Post: 3rd Conditional – What Bad Luck!

$14.6 Million Winning Lottery Ticket Goes Unclaimed | PEOPLE.com

This is a guest post by Alice from Hot Take English on the topic of superstitions and bad luck. Students discuss common superstitions in English speaking cultures and their own, then read an article about some seriously bad luck. The main grammar focus of the lesson is the 3rd conditional to talk about hypothetical past events. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

Visit https://www.hottakeenglish.com/ to check out more of Alice’s work. She has some great, free materials on a range of engaging topics.

What Bad Luck – Student Worksheet

1) Warmer: superstitions

Below is a list of good and bad superstitions that are particularly popular in the UK and Ireland. Discuss them with a partner. From where do you think they originate? Do you believe they bring bad/good luck?

Things that bring bad luck:

  • Walking under a ladder
  • Seeing one magpie
  • Putting new shoes on a table
  • Opening an umbrella inside

Things that bring good luck:

  • Getting pooed on by a bird
  • Coming across a black cat
  • Finding a four-leafed clover

What superstitions are there in your culture or country?

2) Vocabulary

Match the words on the left with their meanings on the right.

1. jackpota) extremely shocked
2. invalidatedb) the sale was not successful/the money was not taken out of the person’s bank account
3. stunnedc) not enough
4. drawd) the most valuable prize in a game or contest
5. the payment didn’t go throughe) very very happy
6. insufficientf) stopped a ticket from being legally or officially acceptable
7. on top of the worldg) the act of selecting numbers or names randomly to decide the winners of a competition

3) Comprehension check

Read the article. Are these statements true or false?

  1. Rachel Kenny lost the winning ticket.
  • The 19-year old student was aghast at what had happened.
  • Rachel and Liam chose different numbers each time they played the lottery.
  • The money for the lottery tickets was usually taken directly from Rachel’s bank account.
  • The problem was that Rachel didn’t have enough money in her bank account to pay for the ticket.
  • Rachel and Liam refuse to play the lottery any more.

4) Grammar practice

With a partner, write down as many third conditional sentences about the article as you can.

E.g. “If the payment had gone through, they would have won the lottery”.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Writing: My Biggest Regret

Write 100-500 words about your “biggest regret”. Include some third conditional sentences.

EuroMillions Player ‘Heartbroken’ After Finding Error Cost Her £182m Lottery Jackpot

The 19-year-old was in shock when her numbers came up – until she noticed a critical problem

Originally published 2 March 2021

A 19-year-old student who thought she had won a £182m lottery jackpot has been left “absolutely heartbroken” after realising an error invalidated the ticket.

Rachel Kennedy, 19, and her boyfriend Liam McCrohan, 21, were stunned when their regular numbers of 6, 12, 22, 29, 33, 6 and 11 came up in the EuroMillions mega jackpot.

Kennedy had played the same numbers for five weeks in a row and had a direct debit set up to automatically play the numbers each week.

The teen was greeted with a message saying she had a ‘winning match’ after last Friday’s draw, according to The Sun.

However, the business student’s hopes of being one of the richest women in Britain were crushed when she found the ticket sale had not gone through due to insufficient funds in her account.

Rachel, of Brighton University, said: “I called my boyfriend Liam and my mum into the room and they couldn’t believe it either so I was like, ‘Oh! My God! I need to call them’.

“I called the number thinking that I had won £182m and they said ‘yeah you’ve got the right numbers but you didn’t have the funds in your account for the payment of the ticket so it didn’t actually go through’.

 “I was on top of the world when I thought I had won, but when I found out I hadn’t, Liam was actually more upset than me.”

Rachel said they were “absolutely heartbroken” – and now thinks of her usual weekly numbers as “unlucky” and has decided to change them.

Source: iNews, https://inews.co.uk/news/euromillions-jackpot-player-heartbroken-finding-error-cost-182m-ticket-895016

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: Personality Traits – B2+

Big Five personality traits - Wikipedia

This is a guest post by Darren Wynne-Jones on the topic of personality traits. It was designed with one-to-one adult classes in mind but could also be used for group classes. Download the handout below:

This is a flipped 1 hour(ish) lesson for strong upper-int / advanced students focussing on adjectives to describe personality traits. This lesson uses an online personality quiz, a worksheet from Onestopenglish, and a heavy focus on emergent language. I have created a Quizlet set including all the terms on the worksheet for students to use for self-study after the lesson. I created this lesson for one-to-one classes but it is easily adaptable for groups.

Procedure

  1. Before the class, ask the student to complete the personality quiz at 16personalities.com and Complete the quiz yourself
  2. Tell students to only read the introduction page for the personality type assigned to them at the end of the quiz (although it doesn’t really matter if they read more as they will be doing this for homework anyway)
  • Begin by discussing the introductions and how they relate to your own perceptions of your personalities. Focus on emergent language by extending vocabulary and grammatical structures as they arise in the conversation. This is also a good time to note errors to look at later. (During online classes, I use a Word document to note errors, emergent language, and homework, which I then email to the student. I’ll include the template at the end of this document should you wish to use / adapt it for your own classes. It is based on another teacher’s template but I CAN’T REMEMBER WHO IT WAS TO CREDIT THEM!)
  • Open the personality traits worksheet and share your screen
  • Ask the student to select two adjectives from each of the 6 categories that they would use to describe themselves. You will need to help students with the meaning of unfamiliar adjectives so make sure you check the meanings yourself before the class (do you know the difference between diligent, conscientious, and industrious?? I certainly didn’t!)
  • Discuss similarities and differences between the adjectives selected and the information from the quiz with further focus on emergent language.
  • Error correction

Homework:

  • Students read the rest of ‘their’ personality description from the website, find more similarities / differences to their own self-perceptions, and write a short text summarising these.
  • Use the Quizlet to review and revise the adjectives (there are a lot of these so perhaps just focus on a few at a time)

Possible follow-up ideas:

  • Look at some of the figurative language from the personality descriptions, e.g. using others as a sounding board; their minds buzz; appear to drift about; a bedrock of emotional support
  • Read another introduction section and describe a friend or family member that would fit the description
  • Read two other introductions and decide if the people with these traits would be compatible as friends, lovers, business partners, etc.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

B1/B2: First Class 2021



*unsplash.com

This is a guest post by online language tutor and ELT writer Ned Widdows. Ideal for the first class back after Christmas, it is a B1-B2 lesson with reading, vocabulary and speaking, asking learners to reflect on their experiences of 2020 and to look forward to the year ahead.

Download the teacher’s notes and student handout below:

Warmer

Write New Year’s Eve on the board / in the chat and ask students to share:

  1. 5 words connected with New Year (in general)
  2. 5 words connected with New Year 2021

Optional: share this image and ask students to describe what they see.

Briefly discuss how Christmas and New Year this year have been affected by the pandemic.

Procedure:

A – D on Student’s Handout is self-explanatory.

Optional ideas:

  1. Dictate the questions in A.
  2. Check the pronunciation of some of the trickier vocabulary in B, e.g. /ˌpɪktʃəˈresk/ /pəˈreɪd/
  3. Get learners to write new sentences with the verb patterns in C, e.g. I’m trying to learn how to play chess at the moment; She misses spending time with her cousins; etc.
  4. Share a link for a padlet and ask learners to post their texts on it. They can read each other’s and see what they have in common.
Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Current Affairs Classes, Guest Posts, Listening Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes, Video Classes

C1/C2: Face Recognition

Elijah Cummings & John Lewis

This is a lesson plan for C1/C2 students by Soleil García Brito on the topic of face recognition based around a video and a gapped text exercise. The warmer could also be used with lower levels (B1/B2). At the end of the lesson students can take an online test to see if they are “super recognisers”; you’ll find the link below.

Download the student’s handout and teacher’s notes below.

Here is the video:

Face Recognition Test from Greenwich University.