This is a training lesson plan to help students preparing for the C2 Cambridge Proficiency exam tackle part 6 of the reading and use of English paper. Students tend to struggle with this part of the exam and need a lot of guidance.
I’ve based this lesson plan around an example task from the CUP Proficiency Testbook 1 on the topic of expedition rafting. Download the PowerPoint, student handout and a scanned annotated copy of the text below:
First have students activate their schemata on the topic of rafting with the 3 conversation questions in the first slide.
In slide 3 students will look for the ways in which paragraph B fits into the first gap. By giving them the answer to the first gap, we can provide them with an opportunity to analyse the text and find the vocabulary, grammar and story connections that link the paragraph to text on either side. Reveal the answers on slide 4.
Go through the exam strategy on slide 5, then have students complete the clue hunt on slide 6. Reveal the answers to them and remind them to bear the clues in mind while they complete the task.
Negotiate a time limit for the students to complete the rest of the task individually. In the official exam they should dedicate 20 minutes to this part of the exam, however, as you’ve already done some prep work on this text, negotiate a time between 10 and 15 minutes.
Once they’ve completed the task, have them compare their answers in pairs. Make sure they refer back to the clue hunt and explain how each of the clues connect the paragraphs to the text.
Use the final few slides to reveal the answers and annotations.
Set them another part 6 task for homework and share the PowerPoint with them to refer to at home.
The 2020s have certainly seen their fair share of upheaval – and we’re only two years in! Already this decade we’ve had to contend with a pandemic and its aftermath, a brutal new war in Europe, and in the UK an economic crisis that saw the Bank of England warning of a “material risk to financial stability”. We’ve also had three prime ministers – so far.
How fitting, then, that 2022’s Word of the Year is permacrisis, a term that perfectly embodies the dizzyingsense of lurching from one unprecedented event to another, as we wonder bleakly what new horrors might be around the corner. Collins defines it as “an extended period of instability and insecurity” and that certainly rings true. Much more of this and we might have forgotten what stability and security ever felt like.
The current permacrisis also happens to be responsible for some of the other words on this year’s shortlist – not surprising given its all-consuming nature. Partygate, of course, is one of the events that set off the period of political turbulence whoseramifications are still playing out. It proves that the “-gate” suffix – made famous by the discovery of secret recordings in Washington DC’s Watergate Hotel – still has some life in it.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine produced an energy shock to which warm banks – places where those too poor to heat their own homes can gather in the event of a cold snap –are one proposed solution. The lexical analogy here is with another grim indicator of economic crisis, the food bank. The invasion also meant that we all quickly learned the Ukrainian spelling and pronunciation of the city of Kyiv. And while warfare may be Russia’s preferred tactic, increased scrutiny of Russia’s super-rich has led to a crackdown on lawfare, the use (or abuse) of legal powers to silence opponents.
In the labour market, changes have been afoot too. There’s been a vibe shift away from the culture that defined the world of work pre-pandemic: now people are less concerned with climbing the greasy pole, and more with quality of life. This has led to an epidemic of so-called quiet quitting, which, as Collins puts it, involves “doing no more work than one is contractually obliged to do”. For burnt-out millennials, it’s a third way between making your job your life and quitting altogether. Work-life balance is important, so why not relax as the year draws to a close by watching some football? The FIFA World Cup is due to start this month in Qatar – but beware the spectre of sportswashing, which some have accused the Qatari authorities of doing, given concerns around human rights and the welfare of migrant workers. This follows the pattern that has given us “greenwashing“, and of course goes back ultimately to “whitewashing“– blotting out imperfections with a thin coat of paint.
All in all, it’s a difficult note on which to begin the Carolean era, which the new king, Charles III, will preside over (the medieval Latin for Charles is, of course, Carolus). Let’s hope this is just a shaky start, and things will improve soon, Your Majesty. In the meantime, we all could be forgiven for just wanting to join our furry friends in splooting – which, Collins explains, is the act of lying flat on the stomach with the legs stretched out – until all of these problems have gone away.
Written by David Shariatmadari, author of Don’t Believe A Word: From Myths to Misunderstandings – How Language Really Works
Ex 1. Complete the sentences with your own ideas, then compare and discuss with your partner.
In 2023, I’d like to see a crackdown on…
The way I see it, … is just around the corner.
In my life, I’ve had my fair share of …
The idea that …. really rings true to me
The word …. perfectly embodies 2022 for me, because…
Ex 2. Discuss these questions:
To what extent do you agree that 2022 has been a year of upheaval? Is it fair to say that the future looks grim or bleak? Why (not)?
Have you witnessed someone close to you or a public figure lurching from one crisis to another? Have you ever experienced this sensation yourself?
How do you predict the aftermath of the World Cup controversy will play out? Could changes be afoot in the world of big sporting events?
In which industries do you think it’s necessary to ‘climb the ‘so-called’ greasy pole’? Have you ever felt that way in your career? Why (not)?
This is a reading and vocabulary lesson plan for C2 students who are preparing to take the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam. Students read a text about a boy, his grandad and football then look at expressions and collocations from the text. Download the handout and key below:
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.
In the first paragraph, the author thinks that procrastinating:
doesn’t include activities like cleaning and organizing, because they are productive.
involves focusing on very detailed tasks that require a lot of effort.
should not be equated to laziness.
consists of activities like watching Netflix and spending time with friends.
Why does the author say that procrastination is irrational?
We are not conscious of the fact that we are about to avoid a task.
We put off the task despite knowing it will affect us negatively.
People repeat the same behaviour for no reason.
Particular tasks evoke strong negative emotions.
According to the text, where does our reluctance to get on with tasks come from?
Deep negative feelings that were once associated with the task.
Some tasks are gruesome and we want to avoid them.
The dullness of some tasks makes us bored and unmotivated.
It is probably not contingent on one specific origin.
What does the article say about the vicious cycle of procrastination?
Procrastinating provides an immediate and prolonged sense of relief.
The behaviour only takes place once because it has negative consequences.
It is a consequence of the negative effects on our physical and mental health.
Putting off a task can reinforce the procrastinating behaviour.
What is the relationship between evolution and procrastination, according to Dr. Hershfield?
Brains have evolved to place current demands above future consequences.
Procrastination is a product of recent evolution.
It is ironic that we evolved to be procrastinators.
We evolved to avoid negative feelings that may arise in the future.
What is the neural justification for procrastination, according to Dr. Hershfield’s research?
We avoid thinking about the future, even if it affects us in the present.
Putting off a task provides relief from stress and anxiety.
Our brains assign the responsibility for the task to a different entity.
The pursuit of happiness is the most important goal for our brains.
This is a lesson plan for C2 students preparing to take the Cambridge Proficiency exam. Students will learn exam techniques to tackle part 7 of paper 1, the multiple matching exercise. The example task is taken from CUP test book 1. Download the PowerPoint and task below:
Lead students through the steps in the PowerPoint. Students should focus on the list of questions first, underlining key words and trying to paraphrase the questions into simpler language where possible. The PowerPoint contains some examples of paraphrasing. Students should then tackle the reading texts in order while referring back to their notes. Encourage them to underline the parts of the text that they think answer each question.
Students should complete the first paraphrasing exercise in pairs. Then for the reading, they should work individually, set a time limit of 15 minutes for them to complete the exercise. Students should then compare their answers and show their partner the sections of the text that they have underlined for each question.
You will find the answer key and annotated copy of the texts on the final slides of the PowerPoint. You should set students another part 7 for homework so that they can put the technique into practice.
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:
Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and fill the gaps (1 to 3 words):
Once you think about the name “Jack-o’-lantern”, it becomes evident that this tradition comes from ____________.
Stingy Jack’s personal qualities made the devil ____________.
On his way home Jack saw _______________ on the ground.
The mutilated corpse’s voice was _____________ Satan himself.
The devil was surprised by Jack’s ______________.
Jack prevented the devil from climbing down the tree by surrounding it with ___________.
The devil gave Jack a glowing ember as a _____________.
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 -. 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.
“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!!”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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)
Look at the words in bold in the text and discuss the meaning with a partner:
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.
Use 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.
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: