Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes

Reading, Video & Debate: Compulsory Vaccination

Person Holding A Vaccine

This is another guest post by Soleil García Brito. It is a reading, listening and speaking lesson plan for B2+ students based around the topic of compulsory vaccination. Download the materials below:

The Vaccine debate – Teacher’s notes

Warmer

Short answers

  • What is a vaccine and how do they work?
  • Have you been vaccinated for anything?
  • Would you get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 if a vaccine were available?
  • Do you think vaccinations should be compulsory?

Video – Why are some children still not getting the MMR vaccine? | ITV News

Watch the video and answer the questions below

  1. Are vaccinations compulsory in England?
  2. Who is to blame for the falling rate of vaccinations, according to the video report?
  3. Do the British public trust health care professionals?
  4. Where does the British Health Secretary stand on making vaccinations compulsory?
  5. How is the British government planning to stop the spread of fake news about vaccines?

Watch the video again and listen for the words in the gaps below. Discuss the meaning of the words or phrases in the gaps.

Teacher tip → Play twice if necessary.

  1. In the UK it’s _________ parents whether their child gets vaccinated for measles
  2. But if we want to _________ measles outbreaks don’t spread, we need ninety five percent of the public to be vaccinated
  3. But why are we so _________ about measles right now?
  4. More than half a million children in the UK _________ on the MMR jab between 2010 and 2017
  5. Some ________________ what’s known as the anti-vax movement
  6. Many worry that the MMR jab can cause autism, a theory ___________ from the British former doctor Andrew Wakefield
  7. In 1998, he published a paper claiming there was a link, but his results were later completely _________ and he was __________ the doctors’ register.
  8. ___________, Public Health England believes social media isn’t a major factor
  9. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to _________ children being kept out of schools if they haven’t been vaccinated against measles, but infection experts have said that this drastic solution could ________ a rise in the anti-vaxxer
  10. … to remove any post promoting false or misleading information about ______, like MMR.

 

Transcript

In the UK it’s up to parents whether their child gets vaccinated for measles. Last year 87% of children received their full dose of MMR; that stands for measles mumps and rubella. That number sounds pretty high, right? But if we want to ensure measles outbreaks don’t spread, we need ninety five percent of the public to be vaccinated. This is called herd immunity. But why are we so concerned about measles right now? Measles is one of the most contagious diseases; it can cause brain damage, blindness, and it can even be fatal. And now in England cases are rising. They’ve nearly quadrupled in the last year, going from 259 in 2017 to 966 in 2018. More than half a million children in the UK missed out on the MMR jab between 2010 and 2017, and each year the number of those being vaccinated is dropping. So why are vaccination rates falling? Well it’s not just the UK. In America 2.6 million children have gone unvaccinated. Some put this down to what’s known as the anti-vax movement. Anti-vaxxers believed that certain vaccines are not safe. Many worry that the MMR jab can cause autism, a theory stemmed from the British former doctor Andrew Wakefield. In 1998, he published a paper claiming there was a link, but his results were later completely debunked and he was struck off the doctors’ register. Since then the National Autistic Society has said there is no link between autism and the vaccine, but the scare story still continues to spread. Go online in search of information around vaccinations and you’ll find social media is awash with anti-vaccination propaganda. But is the anti-vax movement to blame? Actually, Public Health England believes social media isn’t a major factor. It’s surveyed parents and found that 93% viewed health care professionals as the most trusted source of information on immunization. In fact, public health England think the key to better vaccination rates is sending out reminders to parents and making GP appointments more convenient so that vaccinations can actually happen. So what can be done to increase vaccinations? Well, in France vaccinating children became a legal requirement last year. Could that be adopted here? Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out children being kept out of schools if they haven’t been vaccinated against measles, but infection experts have said that this drastic solution could fuel a rise in the anti-vaxxer movement. For the moment the governor plans to stop the spread of fake news by introducing legislation that would force social media companies, like Facebook, to remove any post promoting false or misleading information about jabs, like MMR.

 

Debate – Set up – Jigsaw Reading

Discuss with your partner or group whether your point is for or against compulsory vaccination. Then, summarize the main ideas to present them to the rest of the class.

Teacher tip → there are 12 statements in total: 3 PRO, 3 AGAINST, and each of their counterpoints. This activity can be structured in many ways depending on class size, level and time constraints. Here is a suggested way of structuring the activity:

 

Jigsaw Reading Phase 1:

  1. Cut up the texts; keep points and counterpoints separate.
  2. Split class into pairs or groups of 3 depending on numbers. Ideally you want either 3 or 6 groups.
  3. Give out one point to each pair/group. Don’t give out the counterpoints for now.
  4. Instruct students to read their text and first decide if it is a arguing for or against compulsory vaccination. Have for/against columns on the board and keep track of the points. Students could even come to the board to write their points in the column.
  5. Have students reread their texts and summarize it in their own words.
  6. Clear up any doubts about meaning.
  7. Students present their summaries to the class.

 

Jigsaw Reading Phase 2:

  1. Now tell students that you have counterpoints to each of the points they’ve just looked at.
  2. Give out the counterpoint texts to each group randomly.
  3. Students must now match their counterpoint to the previous points from phase 1 and then summarize it for the class.
  4. Clear up any doubts about meaning.

 

Language Focus:

Have students look at the underlined words and phrases in the texts they’ve looked at; have them infer meaning from context and take note of collocations and useful expressions.

 

Debate

You can now conduct a class debate on the topic. Divide the class into two teams and decide which team will argue for and against compulsory vaccination. Encourage students to include their own ideas and opinions as well as the points and counterpoints previously studied. You can structure the debate in many ways. Follow the link below for language for debating and suggested debate structures: https://freeenglishlessonplans.com/2017/11/17/debating-at-higher-levels/

 

POINTS FOR COMPULSORY VACCINATION

POINT 1

It’s the state’s duty to protect its community

In an industrialized country such as the USA, unvaccinated people were 35-times more likely to contract measles than vaccinated ones; in developing countries where these viruses are still endemic, the risk would be considerably higher. After a scare about possible side effects of the MMR jab, in 2008 there was a drop in voluntary vaccinations in a part of London (Lewisham). In that part of London only 64.3 % of children were vaccinated and in that year the district accounted for one third of all South-East London measles cases. Unless there is a 95 % vaccination, there is a great threat to public health of infection outbreaks. It is therefore the role and duty of the state to understand these issues and possible threats and provide protection and care, in this case, in the form of immunization.

COUNTERPOINT 1

Voluntary immunization should be enough

Compulsory vaccination is an example of the tyranny of the majority even if it is coming from a democratic government. And in a community that praises itself as democratic and respectful to wishes of others it is in no way acceptable that the rights of some get abused by the wishes of others. Besides, The United Kingdom does not have a system of compulsory health care, but disease outbreaks are still prevented due to the voluntary immunizations. The pediatrician Miriam Fine-Goulden explains: “The risk of contracting these infections is only so low at present because the voluntary uptake of immunizations has been high enough (in most cases) to reduce the chance of contact with those organisms through the process of herd immunity.”

 

POINT 2

Duty to protect children

Each year millions of children worldwide die of preventable diseases before the age of five. The argument presented here is that the state needs to protect the child and immunize him or her from preventable diseases as obviously the child does not have the capabilities at this stage to make informed decisions of their own. The United Nations Right to Liberty and Security of the Person treaty, article 6.2 supports this view – State Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

COUNTERPOINT 2

Forcing parents to vaccinate could backfire

The key issue at stake here is who gets to decide about the healthcare needs of children – the authorities or parents? Critics of enforced vaccinations argue that it may have the opposite effect to that desired, and end up demonizing parental choice. Indeed, adopting compulsory vaccinations can be counter-productive, causing concerned parents to withdraw their kids from school and entrenching anti-vaccination sentiment.

 

POINT 3

Compulsory vaccines are a financial relief on health system

Commonly used vaccines are a cost-effective and preventive way of promoting health, compared to the treatment of acute or chronic disease. In the U.S. during the year 2001, routine childhood immunizations against seven diseases were estimated to save over $40 billion per birth-year cohort in overall social costs including $10 billion in direct health costs, and the societal benefit-cost ratio for these vaccinations was estimated to be $16.5 billion. Additionally, if less people get sick, productivity rates remain high and less money is destined to social and health programs.

 

COUNTERPOINT 3

The cost of vaccines is itself high

Vaccines themselves are expensive to develop in the lab and to mass-produce for widespread compulsory vaccination programs. The cost of developing a vaccine—from research and discovery to product registration—is estimated to be between $200 million and $500 million per vaccine. In addition to these upfront costs, organizing compulsory vaccination programs across an entire country can be very complicated and expensive. For instance, mechanisms must be set in place to ensure that the program is indeed compulsory, which means establishing a database of those that have and have not received the vaccine.

 

 

POINTS AGAINST COMPULSORY VACCINATION

POINT 1

Compulsory vaccination violates the individuals’ right to bodily integrity

In most countries and declarations, one of the most basic human rights is the one to bodily integrity. It sets down that you have a right not to have your body or person interfered with. This means that the State may not do anything to harm your body without consent. The NHS (National Health Service) explains: “You must give your consent (permission) before you receive any type of medical treatment, from a simple blood test to deciding to donate your organs after your death. If you refuse a treatment, your decision must be respected.” In the case of vaccination this principle should be also applied.

 

COUNTERPOINT 1

Social responsibility trumps individual rights

The problem with the idea of “individual rights” is that those refusing vaccines on account of this effectively violate the same right for other people if, and when, there is an outbreak of the disease against which the vaccine is protecting. Those who wish to opt-out of vaccination (often on behalf of their children, who have no say in the matter) are classic free riders, hoping to benefit from the more responsible behavior of the rest of society. As it is assumed that most of society see it as a responsibility and a duty to protect others.

 

POINT 2

It is a parental right to decide whether or not to vaccinate their child

Through birth, the child and the parent have a binding agreement that is supported within the society. This agreement involves a set of rights and duties aimed at, and justified by, the welfare of the child. As custodian, the parent is under the obligation to work and organize his or her life around the welfare and development of the child, for the child’s sake. Therefore, the parent is endowed with a special kind of authority over the child. If the parent believes the child will be safer and better off in society without being given vaccine it is the parent’s right to decide not to give vaccination to the child.

 

COUNTERPOINT 2

Parents do not have absolute rights to decide for their children

An adult vaccine refusal and a parental vaccine refusal are not the same. Parents do not have absolute right to put their child at a risk even if they themselves are willing to accept such a risk for him or herself. Minors have a right to be protected against infectious diseases and society has the responsibility to ensure welfare of children who may be harmed by their parents’ decisions. As seen not to vaccine children can represent a danger for their future, there should be no ultimate power of parents to prevent vaccine jabs.

 

POINT 3

Vaccines have severe side effects

Some of the used vaccines may have severe side effects, therefore we should let every individual assess the risk and make choices on their own. Besides introducing foreign proteins and even live viruses into the bloodstream, each vaccine has its own preservative, neutralizer and carrying agent. Evidence also suggests that immunizations damage the immune system itself, because vaccines trick the body so that it will no longer initiate a generalized response. In addition, the long-term persistence of viruses and other foreign proteins within the cells of the immune system has been implicated in a number of chronic diseases, such as allergies. Moreover, MMR vaccines may cause a child who is genetically predisposed to have autism, due to the Thimerosal, which is a compound that contains mercury.

 

COUNTERPOINT 3

Lack of evidence for prevalence of severe side effects

First of all, many of the arguments suggesting vaccination is dangerous refer to observations from the 60s or 70s. Since then, more recent studies have reported no link between MMR vaccines and autism. Similarly, a 2011 study from the German Health Institute comparing the prevalence of allergies and infections in vaccinated and unvaccinated children and teenagers, concluded that there was no difference between them, other than the frequency of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as mumps or measles.

 

The text was reproduced and adapted from http://www.idebate.org with the permission of the International Debate Education Association.

Copyright © 2005 International Debate Education Association. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Posted in Listening Classes, Reading Classes, Video Classes

Guest Post: Survival Skills – Reading & Video

How to Start a Fire Without Matches | The Art of Manliness

This is a reading and listening lesson for B2+ students based around the topic of survival skills and myths created by Soleil García Brito. Download the student handout below:

Survival Skills – Student Handout – Word

Survival Skills – Student Handout – PDF

Survival Skills!

Reading – Prediction

Look at these statements about survival. Are they factual or myths?

a) Anyone can start a fire with just two sticks

b) Boiled water is always 100% safe to drink

c) Reality shows about survival will help you prepare for a dire situation

d) You need to find food right away

e) You need to find water immediately to survive in desert heat

f) You can outrun a bear

g) The best way to stop a shark attack is by punching it in the nose

Matching

Read the texts and match the titles a-g

  “In reality, you can survive on just your body’s fat stores for weeks, as long as you have water. Conserving energy, avoiding injury, and sourcing a supply of water are key to surviving,” said Ras. “Hunting and trapping prey are hit and miss activities which often produce nothing and simply end up expending energy and risking injury or illness. It’s extremely rare for someone to die of starvation in a survival situation. Injury, illness, poisoning and exposure are much more likely to result in death. By definition, ‘surviving’ a situation is short-term, and in the short term a person can be fueled by their fat reserves.”
  “None of us would be here today if our ancestors hadn’t mastered the fine art of friction firemaking, but this is a skill to practice on camping trips and backyard outings,” said Tony Nester of Ancient Pathways Survival School. It’s a big mistake to rely solely on friction firemaking in a survival situation, especially when you could end up in a damp environment. Modern survival is about being prepared and carrying at least three firestarters (waterproof matches, spark-rod, lighter) with you at all times,” said Nester. “I teach primitive firemaking skills to show my students how to perform the method but find that, even under the best of conditions, it is a challenge and not reliable for most people.”
  “I’ve worked as a consultant on several reality shows and these shows are heavily-scripted,” said Nester. “On one program, there was a crew of 12 people accompanying us, including two staff whose sole job was to drag around coolers filled with double-shot espressos and sandwiches while filming scenes of the host living off the land. There’s nothing romantic or fun about real survival—it’s only adventure in retrospect.”
  Running away from a bear is a lost cause: Usain Bolt himself couldn’t beat one in a footrace, let alone on uneven terrain. The best thing to do depends on the species. If you encounter a black bear, said Nester, “Hold your ground and make yourself look big—open your coat up, throw your arms up above your head—and shout and scream and, a lot of times, they’re as spooked as you are, and will take off.” Take the opposite approach with a grizzly: “Avoid eye contact, which a bear will perceive to be a challenge. If the bear’s not approaching, back away slowly. If it charges, simply stand your ground. If you have pepper spray, be ready to use it… and pronto. If it makes physical contact with you, cover your vitals and play dead.”
  “Even though it’s true that sharks get stunned if they get punched in the nose, not many people the strength to do this, especially underwater,” said Manighetti. Even if you could manage the strength to hit the nose hard enough, there’s a chance your hand could end up getting injured by shark teeth. “The best way to scare a shark away is to scratch its eyes or gills, it’s impossible to overpower these fierce creatures in attack mode.”
  “While boiling water will kill off organisms and germs, it will not clean harmful particulates from the water. For instance, no matter how long you boil chemically contaminated water it won’t be safe to drink,” said Jack. “This same principle applies to stagnant dirty water. If the water you are attempting to purify is visibly dirty or murky, you should filter the water before attempting to boil it. If you don’t have a commercial water filter available, then you can either pour the dirty water through a clean fabric (towel or shirt) or leave the water to stand until the sediments sink to the bottom. Then just pour the clean water from the top…and then boil.”
  “You will last longer in the heat by holding up in the shade versus searching for water during the afternoon hours,” said Nester. “If you do run out of water, find a north-facing boulder and sit in the shade; keep covered to prevent evaporative sweat loss; stay off the hot ground by sitting on your pack or a pile of debris; and only move around during the cooler hours of the morning or evening.” If you didn’t tell anyone about your travel plans, though, rescue will likely take more than a few hours and you should search for water when the temperature drops.

Text adapted from: https://www.theactivetimes.com/15-survival-myths-could-actually-kill-you-slideshow/

Discussion

  • Were your predictions from the first task correct?
  • Look at the texts again. Why are these things all bad ideas?

Language focus

  • Look at the underlined phrases and the words in bold. What do you think they mean?
  • Discuss with a partner and take a note of the dependent prepositions, collocations, phrasal verbs and idioms.
  • Fill in the gaps with the appropriate preposition or collocation without checking in the texts:

 

  1. In reality, you can survive _______ just your body’s fat stores for weeks
  2. Injury, illness, poisoning and exposure are much more likely to result _______
  3. It’s a big mistake to rely solely _______ friction firemaking in a survival situation, especially when you could end _______ in a damp environment.
  4. … including two staff whose sole job was to drag around coolers filled with double-shot espressos and sandwiches while filming scenes of the host living _______ the land.
  5. Running away from a bear is a _______ cause
  6. … a lot of times, they’re as spooked as you are, and will take_______.
  7. While boiling water will kill _____ organisms and germs, it will not clean harmful particulates from the water.
  8. This same principle _______ to stagnant dirty water.
  9. If you do run_______of water, find a north-facing boulder and sit _______the shade.
  10. you should search for water when the temperature _______.

 

Video – Prediction

You are going to watch a video about surviving in extreme situations. These are the topics; are they good or bad ideas?

  1. Eating snow for hydration
  2. Drinking cactus water
  3. Drinking urine or blood
  4. Using moss for direction
  5. Drinking alcohol to stay warm
  6. Rubbing frostbitten extremities
  7. Sucking venom from a snake bite
  8. Peeing on a jellyfish sting

VIDEO: Click the link – 8 Survival Tips

Questions:

Why are they bad ideas?

  1. ____________________________________________________
  2. ____________________________________________________
  3. ____________________________________________________
  4. ____________________________________________________
  5. ____________________________________________________
  6. ____________________________________________________
  7. ____________________________________________________
  8. ____________________________________________________

Video – Language Focus

  • Read the sentences below and try to fill the gaps
  • Watch the video a second time listening for the words in the gaps and compare to your original predictions.
  1. Too good to be ___________
  2. Which will dehydrate you and make _______ worse.
  3. They still don’t taste good, but they’ll do in a _______.
  4. Going _______ vampire to survive is probably not the best idea.
  5. But that is the exact _______ of what you want if you need to stay warm.
  6. Not to _______, freeze the water those cells were using to live.
  7. Try to sit _______ and don’t risk doing more harm.
  8. In other _______, don’t do it.
  9. You’re best _______ leaving the treatment to professionals.
  10. Last but not _______.
Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes, Reading Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Book Club – The Landlady by Roald Dahl

2ts_banner_2460x936

The latest episode of our podcast for English teachers and B2+ students is now live! It’s part of a new series of book club episodes in which we discuss a short story. This episode we discuss The Landlady by Roald Dahl. We recommend that you read the story before you listen.

https://soundcloud.com/2tspod/2ts-episode-37-book-club-the-landlady-by-roald-dahl

Posted in Reading Classes, Young Learners

After School Clubs: Reading & Poster Project

after school club

This is a lesson plan for A2 young learners. Students discuss the topic of after school clubs, do some reading comprehension and then create their own after school club posters. Download the example poster/reading text below:

after school poster

Lesson Plan

Write the topic of the lesson on the board, put students in pairs and give them 2 minutes to think of as many after school activities as they can. Check their answers awarding 2 points for each unique answer (no other group has it) and 1 point if another group has it.

Show students the Theatre Club poster, ask students to predict what activities the children do at theatre club. Give out the text and have students answer the comprehension questions, have them work in pairs.

Check students’ answers. Then students work in pairs or small groups to create their own posters for their own imaginary after school clubs. Refer back to the ideas they generated in the first activity. Encourage students to use the example poster as a model substituting word:

“Do you want to be an actor/actress a famous footballer?”

Put students posters up around the class and have a gallery activity where students move around the class reading each others posters. Have students think of two questions to ask each group about their club, then decide which clubs they’d most like to join.

Posted in Proficiency, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

C1/C2 Holiday Diary: Reading & Vocabulary

Image result for madagascar

Image credit: Madagascar Wiki – Fandom

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a reading and vocabulary lesson plan for higher level students based around an example of a holiday diary. It works well as a model for CPE article tasks about travelling. Download the power point and handout below:

Holiday Diary Madagascar – Handout

Holiday Diary madagascar pp – Power point

Procedure

Show the power point and have students discuss the questions as a warmer.

Give out the handout and have students complete the exercises.

Encourage students to write a similar holiday diary for homework.

Holiday Diary

What do you know about Madagascar? Have you ever been there? Would you like to?

Read the text and tell your partner is this type if holiday would be your cup of tea.

Madagascar

We’re quite adventurous so your standard beach holiday doesn’t really cut it for us so after umming and ahhing for a few months we finally settled on a trip to Madagascar. We had set our sights on exploring the dense undergrowth of Madagascar’s jungles and maybe catching a glimpse of some of its famed wildlife.

We flew into the capital Antananarivo, no sooner had we stepped off the plane than we were hit by a wave of intense heat, Madagascar has a really humid climate so the sweat was pouring down our faces in no time at all. Antananarivo is bustling with life with a mindboggling network of haphazard back streets in which you can lose yourself in the blink of an eye. Apart from the hotel we’d booked online we’d decided to play it by ear for the rest of the trip so we set about looking for a guide to take us into the lush vegetation of the surrounding rainforests. Unfortunately there was a mix-up with our luggage that set us back 2 hours but eventually we picked up our suitcases and set off on our mission.

As a city, Antananarivo isn’t much to write home about, it’s pretty grimy and run-down and our taxi ride into the city centre was pretty fraught. When we finally arrived at our hotel it looked a sorry sight, not what we’d been led to believe in the brochure. However, we’re not really big on creature comforts so we didn’t mind. Luckily, the hotel organised guided-tours of the rainforest and there was one leaving the very next day.

We were up at the crack of dawn the next day to board the rickety old minibus that was going to take us out into the middle of nowhere to begin our adventure. The bus journey was a little bit hairy as the road was little more than a track with potholes everywhere. We gradually wound our way up through the mountainous landscape which surrounds the city until we reached the summit of one of the foothills where we stopped for a picnic. The views of the rainforest stretching out in front of us were a real sight to behold, never before have I seen such an awe-inspiring sight…

Read the text again and decide if these statements are true of false.

  1. The author likes beach holidays T/F
  2. Antananarivo is a difficult city to navigate around T/F
  3. They had the whole trip planned out beforehand T/F
  4. Their luggage was put on the wrong plane T/F
  5. They liked Antananarivo T/F
  6. The hotel was different to the description in the brochure T/F
  7. They don’t mind roughing it T/F
  8. The journey to the rainforest was relaxing T/F
  9. They were impressed by the views from the foothill T/F

Look at the expressions in bold, discuss their meaning with a partner.

Look at the expressions again and try to categorise them.

 

What can you remember? Work with a partner.

Madagascar

We’re quite adventurous so your standard beach holiday doesn’t really  ___     (1) it for us so after ________(2) and ahhing for a few months we finally settled ______(3) a trip to Madagascar. We had set our ___________(4) on exploring the _________(5) undergrowth of Madagascar’s jungles and maybe catching a ____________(6) of some of its famed wildlife.

We flew into the capital Antananarivo, no sooner had we stepped off the plane than we were hit by a wave of intense heat, Madagascar has a really humid climate so the sweat was pouring down our faces in no time at all. Antananarivo is ___________(7) with life with a mindboggling network of ________________ (8) back streets in which you can lose yourself in the blink of an eye. Apart from the hotel we’d booked online we’d decided to play it by ________(9) for the rest of the trip so we set __________(10) looking for a guide to take us into the ___________(11) vegetation of the surrounding rainforests. Unfortunately there was a _________(12) with our luggage that set us _________(13) 2 hours but eventually we picked up our suitcases and set off on our mission.

As a city, Antananarivo isn’t much to write home about, it’s pretty ________(14) and run-down and our taxi ride into the city centre was pretty fraught. When we finally arrived at our hotel it looked a ________  (15) sight, not what we’d been __________(16) to believe in the brochure. However, we’re not really big on creature ______________(17) so we didn’t mind. Luckily, the hotel organised guided-tours of the rainforest and there was one leaving the very next day.

We were up at the ____________(18) of dawn the next day to board the rickety old minibus that was going to take us out into the ____________(19) of nowhere to begin our adventure. The bus journey was a little bit __________(20) as the road was little more than a track with potholes everywhere. We gradually wound our way up through the mountainous landscape which surrounds the city until we reached the summit of one of the foothills where we stopped for a picnic. The views of the rainforest stretching out in front of us were a real sight to ________(21) never before have I seen such an awe-______________(22) sight…

Memory

Cover the text and try to retell the story using as much of the vocabulary as you can.

Personalise

Have you ever had a similar experience? Tell your partner about it using the vocabulary.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes

C1/C2 Reading & Conversation: Barcelona Anti-Tourism March

Image result for barcelona anti tourism

Image credit: Smart Meetings

Article credit: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/29/barcelona-residents-protest-high-rents-fuelled-by-tourism

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan based around an article from the Guardian newspaper about an anti-tourism march that took place in Barcelona last year. Download the lesson plan, key and power point below:

warmer reading tourism

Barcelona tourism effect article + key

Procedure

Warmer: Predict text topic from key words

Project the power point and have students try to guess what the text they’re going to read is about by flashing up the picture and the keywords 2 at a time. Students continue predicting until all the key words are visible.

Article: Reading comprehension, vocab focus and discussion

Go through the activities on the hand out, answer key for comprehension questions is at the bottom.

Barcelona marches to curb negative effects of tourism boom

Community groups join forces to protest over soaring level of rents fuelled by a big rise in visitor numbers

Behind banners reading “Barcelona is not for sale” and “We will not be driven out”, some 2,000 people staged an “occupation” of the Rambla, the city’s famed boulevard, on Saturday.

The protest was organised by a coalition of more than 40 resident and community groups from all over the city, not just the neighbourhoods most directly affected by mass tourism.

Visitor numbers have grown exponentially in recent years. In 2016 an estimated 9 million people stayed in hotels and a further 9 million in holiday apartments. In addition, the city received around 12 million day-trippers arriving by car and train or on cruise ships.

Tourists looked on bemused as the banners were unfurled at the top of the Rambla, beside the Canaletes fountain.

“I don’t understand. What do they mean, Barcelona is not for sale?” asked Qais from Kuwait. “It’s not what we were expecting, but I can see their point,” he said when it had been explained to him. He added: “Things are really bad in the Middle East,” which put things in perspective. “Does it mean they don’t want us here?” his wife asked. Birgid from Denmark was less sympathetic. “Tourism brings in lots of money to the city, doesn’t it? I’m sure it’s changed the city, but that’s life, isn’t it?”

Roger from Wigan, here on his second visit, commented: “I can understand it, the place is very commercial. And if I understand what’s written on some of these placards, they are complaining that tourism is forcing their rents up. I can sympathise with that.”

This was one of the key issues behind the march, as the money to be made from holiday lets is forcing rents up and driving people out of the city.

Christine, an Englishwoman on the march who has lived in Barcelona for more than 20 years, said: “We’ve been renting our flat in the old town for 17 years. In that time I reckon we’ve paid around €150,000 in rent. Now they want to kick us out because they can make more money renting it out to tourists.”

The march coincides with a new law passed by Barcelona city council on Friday that, for the first time, seeks to curb tourism. The special urban plan for tourist accommodation aims to limit the number of beds on offer from hotels and apartments by imposing a moratorium on building new hotels. No new licences will be issued for tourist apartments.

There are currently 75,000 hotel beds in the city and around 100,000 beds in tourist flats, at least half of them unlicensed and illegal. The city is at loggerheads with Airbnb, the principal letting agency. Last year the council fined Airbnb and HomeAway €600,000 each for advertising unlicensed apartments.

Airbnb argues that the overwhelming majority of its clients in the city are people who are letting out rooms as a way of making ends meet during Spain’s prolonged financial crisis.

That may be true up to a point, but it masks the real problem, which is speculation,” says Daniel Pardo, a member of the Neighbourhood Assembly for Sustainable Tourism. Yet people are free to visit the city, so what’s to stop them?

One thing we could do is stop spending millions on promoting tourism,” says Pardo. “We’re subsidising tourism with public money, by exploiting workers in the service economy and exploiting the infrastructure of the city, which we citizens pay for. Furthermore, tourism is distorting the economy and there is little support for anyone who wants to establish non-tourist enterprises.”

The good-humoured march moved to the seaward end of the Rambla, where one of the organisers read out a manifesto calling for more local shops, more homes, rather than businesses, and control of the pollution caused by private cars and cruise ships. “It’s a great turnout,” one of the marchers quipped. “There are more people here than at Trump’s inauguration. The citizens have never been consulted about this, although they’re the ones who suffer the consequences and aren’t enjoying the benefits. [We’re asking for] the debate to be opened to everyone and that we reach some other resolution of the problem, instead of the present one based on continuous growth.”

Comprehension Questions

  1. Who organised the march?
  2. How many tourists did Barcelona receive in total last year?
  3. How did tourists feel about the march?
  4. What is the main detrimental effect that tourism is having on the city’s residents?
  5. How has the council responded to the rising number of tourists?
  6. How does airbnb defend itself?
  7. What suggestions does Daniel Pardo make?
  8. The march was very serious and angry true/false

Language Focus

Work with a partner, look at the underlined expressions in the text, what do you think they mean?

Now try to complete the expressions from memory:

  1. This was one of the k____ issues behind the march,
  2. The protest was organised by a c____________ of more than 40 resident and community groups.
  3. Visitor numbers have grown e_______________ in recent years.
  4. Now they want to k_______ us out because they can make more money renting it o_______ to tourists.”
  5. The money to be made from h_______ lets is f_______ rents up and d________ people out of the city.
  6. They are complaining that tourism is forcing their rents up. I can s________ with that.
  7. The city is at l____________ with Airbnb.
  8. A new law p_________ by Barcelona city council on Friday that, for the first time, s_________ to c___________ tourism.
  9. The special urban plan for tourist accommodation a______ to limit the number of beds ____ offer from hotels and apartments by i__________ a m__________ on building new hotels.
  10. Airbnb argues that the o___________ majority of its clients in the city are people who are l___________ out rooms as a way of m_______ ends m________ during Spain’s prolonged financial crisis.
  11. “That m_______ be true up to a p________, but it masks the real problem, which is speculation,”
  12. The citizens have never been c__________ about this, although they’re the ones who s_________ the consequences and aren’t e_________ the b___________.
  13. “It’s a great t____________,”

Language of opinion

Complete the sentences with one word to make expressions of opinion.

  1. F_____________ where I stand,
  2. In my h_____________ opinion,
  3. As f________ as I’m concerned,
  4. A_______ I see it,
  5. I don’t have very s___________ views on the matter but,…
  6. I t___________ to agree with people who say…
  7. If you a______ me, I’d say that…
  8. I’m co___________ that…
  9. From my p_______ of v__________,
  10. Speaking from p____________ ex______________,
  11. I’m a big s________________ of…
  12. I’m d_______ against…
  13. I’m a f__________ believer in….

Conversation

  1. What do you think of the march? Are you in agreement with their message?
  2. Would you consider protesting on the issue?
  3. What are the pros and cons of tourism in your city?
  4. How does tourism affect your neighbourhood?
  5. What experiences do you have of the downsides of tourism?
  6. Do you think you have enjoyed the benefits of tourism? In what way?
  7. Do you think tourism should be curbed in any way? If so, how?

Language Development

Look at the language from the text, in what other contexts could you use it?

  • The city’s famed boulevard – what other things could be famed?
  • Stage an occupation – what other things can you stage?
  • A coalition of resident and community groups – what other coalitions can you think of?
  • Visitor numbers have grown exponentially in recent years. – What other things can grow exponentially?
  • “Puts things in perspective” – In what other contexts could you use this expression?
  • Tourism brings in a lot of money. – What other things bring in money for a government/company?
  • “That’s life, isn’t it?” – In what other contexts could you use this expression?
  • A new law passed by the council seeks to curb – What other things would the government pass laws to curb?
  • Now they want to kick us out – what other things could you be kicked out of?
  • The plan aims to limit the number of beds on offer. – What other things could be limited?
  • A manifesto calling for more local shops – What other things could a manifesto or a protest call for?
  • They’re the ones who are suffering the consequences and not enjoying the benefits? – What other things could you suffer the consequences or enjoy the benefits of?

Comprehension Questions Key

  1. Who organised the march? A coalition of residents & community groups
  2. How many tourists did Barcelona receive in total last year? 9+9+12=30million
  3. How did tourists feel about the march? Mixed emotions, some understanding, some bemused
  4. What is the main detrimental effect that tourism is having on the city’s residents? Forcing rents up, driving people out
  5. How has the council responded to the rising number of tourists? Laws to curb tourism, limits on flats, moratorium on new hotels
  6. How does airbnb defend itself? Most hosts are just letting out spare rooms
  7. What suggestions does Daniel Pardo make? Stop subsidising tourism with public money, infrastructure of the city is being exploited by tourism
  8. The march was very serious and angry true/false. false, march was good-humoured
Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Video Classes

Kicking the Habit: TED Talk, Reading and Discussion

 

Image credit: ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for C1+ students on the topic of bad habits based around a TED talk by Judson Brewer and an article from Yahoo Health. You can find the TED talk, students’ handout, reading text and teacher’s notes below:

TED Bad habits sts copy – Students handout

TED bad habits teachers notes

Common Bad Habits – Reading Text

TED  – Breaking Bad Habits – Teacher’s Notes

Step 1: Expressions with habit

What do you think these expressions mean? Do they exist in your language?

He’s been smoking since he was 15 years old and he just can’t kick the habit.

When my grandad retired he didn’t stop getting up at 6am and putting a suit on. Old habits die hard.

I could never go backpacking I’m too much of a creature of habit, I can’t stand changes to my routine.

I’ve always written my essays at the last minute and I normally get good marks. Why break the habit of a lifetime?

Kick the habit = give up/quit a bad habit

Old habits die hard = it’s difficult to stop a habit you’ve been doing for a long time

A creature of habit = someone who likes the security of a routine

Why break the habit of a lifetime? = something you say to a person you know isn’t going to change their habits.

Step 2: Brainstorm bad habits on the board

Step 3: Reading

Give out the reading handout, put students in groups of 3. Students read each section then discuss the meaning of the vocabulary in bold. Then they answer the discusssion questions. Then they move onto the next bad habit.

Step 4: TED Talk

Students watch the TED talk and answer the following questions:

What bad habits does he mention? Being unable to concentrate, phone/internet addiction, stress eating, smoking, distracting yourself from work.

What solution to these bad habits does he suggest? Using mindfulness to focus on the cravings we feel and see them as physical moments that pass.

After watching students discuss:

  1. What do you think of the talk?
  2. Do you have any of the bad habits he mentioned?
  3. Do you think mindfulness would work for you?
  4. Have you ever meditated? Would you consider it?

Step 5: Vocab Focus – Meaning from Context

Students try to guess the meaning of the expressions in bold from the context.

  1. When I was first learning to meditate, the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath, and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.
  2. Why is it so hard to pay attention? Well, studies show that even when we’re really trying to pay attention to something — like maybe this talk — at some point, about half of us will drift off into a daydream, or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.
  3. Instead of this hunger signal coming from our stomach, this emotional signal — feeling sad — triggers that urge to eat.
  4. Maybe in our teenage years, we were a nerd at school, and we see those rebel kids outside smoking and we think, “Hey, I want to be cool.” So we start smoking. The Marlboro Man wasn’t a dork, and that was no accident.
  5. What if instead of fighting our brains, or trying to force ourselves to pay attention,we instead tapped into this natural, reward-based learning process?
  6. She moved from knowing in her head that smoking was bad for her to knowing it in her bones, and the spell of smoking was broken. She started to become disenchanted with her behavior.
  7. When the prefrontal cortex goes offline, we fall back into our old habits, which is why this disenchantment is so important.
  8. And this is what mindfulness is all about: Seeing really clearly what we get when we get caught up in our behaviors.
  9. We start to notice that cravings are simply made up of body sensations — oh, there’s tightness, there’s tension, there’s restlessness.
  10. These are bite-size pieces of experiences that we can manage from moment to moment rather than getting clobbered by this huge, scary craving that we choke on.

Mind wanders/drift off into a daydream = get distracted

Have/get an urge to do something = a strong desire/impulse

Trigger (v) = activate/set off/cause to function

Nerd = unpopular, studious person

Dork = unpopular, studious person, more pejorative than nerd

Tap into = manage to use something in a way that gives good results. Get access to a resource. Collocations: tap into an energy source, tap into creativity, tap into the water supply.

Know in your bones = feel something using intuition, synonyms: know in my guts, a gut-feeling.

Break a spell = end magic/enchantment

Disenchanted = two meanings. 1. Free from illusion/magic 2. Disappointed, demotivated, disillusioned.

Fall back into old habits = return to old habits after having changed

Get caught up in st = to become completely involved in something, normally bad connotation.

Craving = a consuming desire, normally physical related to addiction.

Restlessness = a state of discomfort, can’t stay still/relax. A restless night.

Bite-size pieces = small easy to manage pieces

Get clobbered = to be beaten/hit severly

Choke on st = not able to breath because of something in your throat

Step 6: Sentence Completion

Students put the expressions from the vocab focus into the following sentences:

  1. He was always so restless at school, he couldn’t sit still for a second.
  2. I’m a bit weird, whenever I go near the edge of a cliff or a tall building I get the sudden urge to jump off!
  3. Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright, I don’t know how but I feel/know it in my bones.
  4. I managed to stop biting my fingernails for 6 months but recently, because of all the stress at work, I have fallen back into old habits.
  5. Most voters are completely disenchanted with politics in general and extremist politicians like Donald Trump are simply tapping into the anger and resentment.
  6. When my Mum was pregnant she had strong cravings for avocado even though she normally hates them.
  7. The earthquake triggered a huge tsunami that hit the coast at 10am.
  8. When I was at school I always used to get into trouble for drifting off into a daydream during class.
  9. 3 hours into the film I got a bit bored and my mind wandered to what I was going to have for dinner.
  10. A man suddenly started to choke on a prawn and a fellow diner had to give him the heimlich maneuver.
  11. I was definitely a bit of a nerd at school but I certainly wasn’t a dork.
  12. I got so caught up in the excitement of the party that I didn’t realise I had missed the last train home.
  13. He caught the rugby ball, turned around and was immediately clobbered by a huge opposition player.
  14. I broke the carrots up into bite-size pieces so that the children wouldn’t choke on

Step 7: Discussion

Students answer questions in pairs.

  1. Were you restless at school? Did you use to drift off into a daydream?
  2. Do you know the heimlich maneuver? Have you ever choked on anything?
  3. Were you a nerd when you were at school?
  4. Do you ever get so caught up in something that you lose all sense of time?
  5. Do you ever get the urge to do something silly or outrageous in social situations?
  6. Do you agree with sentence 5 above? What can we do to change the situation?

Students’ Handout

Expressions with habit

What do you think these expressions mean? Do they exist in your language?

He’s been smoking since he was 15 years old and he just can’t kick the habit.

When my grandad retired he didn’t stop getting up at 6am and putting a suit on. Old habits die hard.

I could never go backpacking I’m too much of a creature of habit, I can’t stand changes to my routine.

I’ve always written my essays at the last minute and I normally get good marks. Why break the habit of a lifetime?

TED Talk

  1. What bad habits does he mention?
  2. What solution to these bad habits does he suggest?

Discussion

  1. What do you think of the talk?
  2. Do you have any of the bad habits he mentioned?
  3. Do you think mindfulness would work for you?
  4. Have you ever meditated? Would you consider it?

Vocabulary Focus

Read the sentences from the transcript and discuss the words/expressions in bold with your partner.

  1. When I was first learning to meditate, the instruction was to simply pay attention to my breath, and when my mind wandered, to bring it back.
  2. Why is it so hard to pay attention? Well, studies show that even when we’re really trying to pay attention to something — like maybe this talk — at some point, about half of us will drift off into a daydream, or have this urge to check our Twitter feed.
  3. Instead of this hunger signal coming from our stomach, this emotional signal — feeling sad — triggers that urge to eat.
  4. Maybe in our teenage years, we were a nerd at school, and we see those rebel kids outside smoking and we think, “Hey, I want to be cool.” So we start smoking. The Marlboro Man wasn’t a dork, and that was no accident.
  5. What if instead of fighting our brains, or trying to force ourselves to pay attention,we instead tapped into this natural, reward-based learning process?
  6. She moved from knowing in her head that smoking was bad for her to knowing it in her bones, and the spell of smoking was broken. She started to become disenchanted with her behavior.
  7. When the prefrontal cortex goes offline, we fall back into our old habits, which is why this disenchantment is so important.
  8. And this is what mindfulness is all about: Seeing really clearly what we get when we get caught up in our behaviors.
  9. We start to notice that cravings are simply made up of body sensations — oh, there’s tightness, there’s tension, there’s restlessness.
  10. These are bite-size pieces of experiences that we can manage from moment to moment rather than getting clobbered by this huge, scary craving that we choke on.

 

Sentence Completion

Complete the sentences with the expressions above.

  1. He was always so ______________ at school, he couldn’t sit still for a second.
  2. I’m a bit weird, whenever I go near the edge of a cliff or a tall building I get the sudden __________ jump off!
  3. Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright, I don’t know how but I ______________________.
  4. I managed to stop biting my fingernails for 6 months but recently, because of all the stress at work, I have __________________________________.
  5. Most voters are completely __________________________ politics in general and extremist politicians like Donald Trump are simply ____________________________ the anger and resentment.
  6. When my Mum was pregnant she had strong _____________ for avocado even though she normally hates them.
  7. The earthquake _______________ a huge tsunami that hit the coast at 10am.
  8. When I was at school I always used to get into trouble for _______________________________ during class.
  9. 3 hours into the film I got a bit bored and my ____________________________ to what I was going to have for dinner.
  10. A man suddenly started to ________________ a prawn and a fellow diner had to give him the heimlich maneuver.
  11. I was definitely a bit of a _____________ at school but I certainly wasn’t a ____________.
  12. I _________________________________ in the excitement of the party that I didn’t realise I had missed the last train home.
  13. He caught the rugby ball, turned around and was immediately ___________________ by a huge opposition player.
  14. I broke the carrots up into __________________ so that the children wouldn’t ___________ them.

Discussion

  1. Were you restless at school? Did you use to drift off into a daydream?
  2. Do you know the heimlich maneuver? Have you ever choked on anything?
  3. Were you a nerd when you were at school?
  4. Do you ever get so caught up in something that you lose all sense of time?
  5. Do you ever get the urge to do something silly or outrageous in social situations?
  6. Do you agree with sentence 5 above? What can we do to change the situation?

Reading Text

Common Bad Habits

Everyone has habits that they would probably be better off without. You may not have any major vices but minor ones add up and deserve attention too. “The small stuff really matters in our lives,” says Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion. “Life is full of the little things.”

In reality, you’re probably not eating poorly or shirking on sleep just once a month, but, more likely, multiple times a week. If you need some help identifying changes you might aim to make, here are some of the most common bad habits and two universal fixes from Goldstein about how we can change for the better.

Stress-Eating

We’re a country of high-stress and high-calorie foods, so it should be no surprise that emotional eating is a common issue. There are many reasons people turn to food when they experience negative emotions, like stress, sadness, and boredom. First of all, food can serve as a distraction from unpleasant goings-on. Research has also suggested that foods that are high in fat and sugar may actually (temporarily) quiet parts of the brain that create and process negative emotions.

  1. Do you stress eat? If so what?
  2. How do you relieve stress?

Sitting Around

Surveys have found that people, on average, spend more than six hours a day sitting. Many people sit while commuting, at work, and while unwinding at the end of the day. It may feel like your body is happier taking a seat, but spending so much time off your feet has serious health effects including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cognitive decline (like dementia), cancer, bone loss, and even a weakened immune system.

  1. How much of the day do you spend sitting down?
  2. What do you think of the idea of a standing office? Or a standing school?

Not Getting Enough Sleep

Days can feel far too short, especially when you want to catch up with friends at a late dinner or binge-watch your favorite show. Late nights in moderation are okay but getting too little sleep — less than seven hours — on a regular basis can make you more prone to long-term diseases, like hypertension and diabetes, and even short-term illness. Being tired can also affect how you function during the daytime, making you less productive and more prone to errors and accidents.

  1. How much sleep do you need to function well?
  2. How much do you usually get?
  3. Are you more productive in the mornings or the evenings?

Over-Grooming

Picking at your nose and mouth and biting your nails are already social faux pas. They can also be bad for your health. As you should already know, our hands are usually teeming with nasty germs. Putting your fingers in your nose or mouth — even to fish unwanted spinach out of your teeth — is a good way to give those germs easy access to your body. Nail biting, in particular, can also raise your risk of getting skin infections on your fingers and spreading warts to other parts of your hand. In some cases, excessive grooming behaviors are considered a mental disorder related to obsessive-compulsive disorders.

  1. Do you bite your fingernails?
  2. Can you think of any other social faux pas’s? What topics are faux pas when your first meet someone?

Smoking

This may feel like beating a dead horse but more than 42 million people in the U.S. still smoke cigarettes. Although this number continues to drop, it’s good for people to remember why this habit is such a serious one. Smoking is known to cause several types of cancer — including cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach, and pancreas — and increases a person’s risk of heart disease. It’s also harmful to people who are inhaling second-hand smoke. Plus, smoking is expensive. Even a “cheap” $5 pack every day adds up to $1,825.00 each year.

  1. Do you smoke?
  2. Have you ever smoked? If so how did you quit?
  3. What’s the best way to quit smoking? Hypnosis? Acupuncture? Patches? Gum?

Skipping Breakfast

There are mixed findings about whether or not skipping breakfast can help people lose weight. Generally, experts support eating a healthy morning meal because it fuels your body and mind for the beginning of the day. Research has shown that people who eat breakfast perform better in school and at work. If that’s not enough incentive, a recent study from Harvard found that men who regularly skipped breakfast were 27 percent more likely to experience a heart attack or death from coronary heart disease.

  1. Do you have breakfast?
  2. Find out who has the healthiest breakfast in your group.
  3. What’s your favourite meal of the day?

Overspending

Another common bad habit is overspending, usually in the form of compulsive shopping. Credit is partially to blame because it is easy to obtain and use, helping people forgo responsibility and knowledge about their finances. Overspending is also an easy trap to fall into because buying things makes people feel good in many different ways. It can give us a sense of control and add some excitement to a dull day. Being able to spend money can also make us feel better about ourselves.

  1. Do you often overspend?
  2. Are you a compulsive shopper? If so what do you normally buy?

Listening to Loud Music

Hearing is something that often goes with age but there are still steps people can take to give theirs its best possible chance. Very loud, short-term sounds and sounds that may not seem so loud (but occur over a long period of time) can both contribute to noise-induced hearing loss. This affects about 15 percent of Americans, ages 20 to 69 according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Some loud sounds may be unavoidable but exposure anything above 85 decibels (equal to the sound of heavy city traffic) should be minimized. If you have to raise your voice to speak with someone two to three feet away, the sound level is likely over 85 decibels.

  1. Do you listen to loud music? If so how often?
  2. Have you got god hearing?

Phone Addiction

No, your phone isn’t exactly the most threatening addiction. That doesn’t mean it’s something to ignore. Thanks to the advent of push notifications, many of us are now trained to grab our phone the second it flashes — or when we only think it has. This behavior takes our attention away from other things that we should probably value more, like the work in front of us or talking with friends and family.

  1. Are you addicted to your phone?
  2. How often do you check it?
  3. How soon after waking up do you check it?

Link to original article:

https://www.yahoo.com/health/10-common-bad-habits-and-how-to-break-them-107994730858.html

 

Posted in Reading Classes

Reading List for Post Proficiency

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’m running the Barcelona Half-Marathon dressed as David Bowie to raise money for Cancer Research, sponsor me here:

https://www.justgiving.com/Timothy-Warre/

One of my post-proficiency students asked me for a list of books he could read. He’s going to Glasgow on Erasmus so the list I wrote him has a Scottish flavour to it. I thought it might also be useful for other high-level students.

Here are some books to read, most of them are just ones I like so maybe we have a different taste in books but try them out and se what you think:
My favourite author is Cormac McCarthy so read anything by him:
The Road (Post apocalyptic horror)
The Border Triology
Suttree
Blood Meridian
No Country for Old Men (they made it into an excellent film)
Child of God
They’re all pretty dark but very well written.
Another favourite of mine is Graham Greene, here are some of his books that I recommend:
Brighton Rock
The Quiet American
Our Man in Havana
The Third Man
The Power and the Glory
The Heart of the Matter
Another of my favourite books is:
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Seeing as you’re going to Scotland you should read some Irvine Welsh, although it might be tough because he uses a lot of Scottish slang, but you can always ask the locals if you need something translated into “English”. Here are some of his books:
Trainspotting
Filth
Glue
Porno
The Acid House
Another book by a Scottish author that I liked was:
How late it was, how late by James Kelman
Another great author is Roddy Doyle, he’s Irish and he has written lots of great ones:
A Star called Henry
The Commitments
Paddy Clarke ha ha ha
The Woman who walked into doors
Or you could try some Ian Banks, he’s also Scottish, he writes science fiction as Ian. M. Banks and dark dramatic fiction as just Ian Banks. I haven’t read any of his sci-fi but I’ve heard it is good. Here are some of his dramatic fiction books, as I said, most of them are quite dark.
The Wasp Factory
Complicity
The Crow Road
Espedair Street
Dead Air
That should be plenty for you to be going on with,
Let me know how it goes!
Tim
What other books would you recommend to high-level learners?
Posted in Grammar Classes, Reading Classes

Mysteries of the Ancient World: Past Modals of Speculation

Image credit: www.english-heritage.org.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a grammar lesson on the theme of mysterious ancient monuments. I taught this class as my assessed lesson for the grammar assignment of my DELTA. Download the procedure, powerpoint and handouts below.

Let me know if the lesson procedure is clear enough as it’s written in Cambridge DELTA speak!

Lesson Procedure Past Speculation 3rd draft

The Mystery of Stonehenge 3rd draft – Students’ handout

The Mystery of Stonehenge Teacher’s copy with key – answers underlined

Mysteries of the ancient world 2nd draft – Powerpoint with pictures

The Mystery of Stonehenge – Students’ Handout

Thousands of years ago, an ancient civilization raised a circle of huge, roughly rectangular stones in a field in what is now Wiltshire, England. Stonehenge, as it would come to be called, has been a mystery ever since. Building began on the site around 3100 B.C. and continued in phases up until about 1600 B.C. No written records exist to explain how or why it was built.

How was Stonehenge built?

The biggest of Stonehenge’s stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall and weigh 25 tons (22.6 metric tons) on average. Scientists believe that they must have been brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the north. Transporting the stones that distance can’t have been easy.

Smaller stones, referred to as “bluestones” (they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken), weigh up to 4 tons and come from several different sites in western Wales, having been transported as far as 140 miles (225 km). It’s unknown how people in antiquity moved them that far. Scientists speculate that during the last ice age glaciers might have carried these bluestones closer to the Stonehenge area. An earlier theory was that the builders could have used rafts to transport the stones over the water. However, more recent research suggests that this method can’t have been used because of the weight of the stones.

  1. Where do scientists think the Sarsen stones came from?
  2. What does the writer say about transporting the Sarsen stones?
  3. Where did the blue stones come from?
  4. How do scientists think the blue stones were transported to the site?

What was Stonehenge?

There are a number of theories as to what the site was used for. Archaeologists agree that the site must have had a spiritual significance. It may have originally been a cemetery, according to a new study. After examining bones exhumed near the stones, scientists believe that the burials must have taken place at the same time as Stonehenge was built, suggesting that the stones could have been gravestones for religious or political elite.

  1. What are scientists certain about the significance of Stonehenge?
  2. Scientists are sure that Stonehenge was a cemetery T/F

Stonehenge may have been constructed with the sun in mind. One avenue connecting the monument with the nearby River Avon aligns with the sun on the winter solstice; archaeological evidence reveals that pigs were slaughtered at Stonehenge in December and January, suggesting that ancient pagan sun celebrations might have taken place there.

Steven Waller, a researcher in archaeoacoustics has revealed that before part of the ring collapsed it must have had excellent acoustics and speculates that it might have been an ancient concert hall or cathedral.

  1. Why do scientists think the builders chose the location for the stones?
  2. What other events possibly happened at Stonehenge?
  3. What does Steven Waller say about Stonehenge?

Wild theories about Stonehenge have persisted since the Middle Ages. Some say Merlin the wizard may have cast a spell to make the rocks as light as a feather to help with the construction. UFO enthusiasts believe that ancient aliens could have built Stonehenge as a spacecraft landing pad.

  1. What unscientific methods for Stonehenge’s construction have been suggested?

Form – Past modal verbs of speculation

Look at the sentences on the board and complete the table

Subject          + Modal           + _____________     + _____________
I

You

He/she/it

Etc.

Could

Might

May

Must

Can’t

 

 

_______

…………………

…………………

…………………

…………………

Etc.

Practice – Memory Test

Answer the questions with your partner using past modals.

  1. What did the text say about transporting the larger Sarsen stones?
  2. What did the text say about glaciers?
  3. What are scientists sure about the significance of Stonehenge?
  4. What did the researcher in archaeoacoustics say about Stonehenge?
  5. What were some of the more wild theories about its use?

Easter Island Heads

  1. Scientists are almost certain that the stones had a religious significance.

Scientists believe that the stones________________________________ a religious significance.

  1. Scientists think that it’s impossible that the stones came from a different island.

Scientists think that the stones _________________________________ from a different island.

  1. It’s possible that the stones were carved to resemble a famous leader of the tribe.

The stones _____________________________________ to resemble a famous leader of the tribe.

  1. Some people believe that there’s a possibility that the stones came from another planet. Some people believe that the stones _______________________________________from another planet.

Lesson Procedure

Stage Time Focus Procedure Aim
Pre-reading 5 mins OC

 

 

 

In pairs

Show picture of Stonehenge. Ask if anyone has been there. Share information with class.

 

Sts speculate. How old is it? How was it built? What was it?

Introduce topic. To allow sts to apply top-down knowledge
Reading 1 2 mins Pairs Give out handout. Sts read intro. Report back to open class. How old is Stonehenge? To confirm speculation and generate interest.
Reading 2 + language focus (meaning) 20 mins Pairs

 

 

 

 

 

OC

Instruct sts to read next section quickly then read questions and answer in pairs.

 

 

 

Check answers – nominate – check across class.

 

Board first 5 sentences that answer questions with modal verbs.

Ask questions: “How certain are the scientists?” to develop understanding of meaning.

Board paraphrases: “could have” = “it’s possible” “must have” = “almost certain” etc.

Repeat for sections 3,4,5.

While sts read, board phonemics for sentences on board:

/mʌstəv/

/ka:ntəv/

/meɪəv/

/kʊdəv/

/maɪtəv/

To confirm speculation. To test sts ability to understand past modals.

 

 

 

 

To develop understanding of meaning of target sentences.

Language focus 5 mins Pairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sts look at 5 boarded sentences, analyse structures and complete substitution table on handout:

 

Board formula: modal + perfect infinitive (have + past part.)

 

Focus on pronunciation, sts use phonemics on board to practice target sentences.

To develop form of structures.

 

 

 

 

 

To develop pronunciation of past modals.

Speaking – controlled practice 5 mins pairs Sts answer questions about text on handout in pairs, trying to use the target language. To practice and become more familiar with the structures.
Writing – controlled practice 5 mins pairs Show picture of Easter Island Heads with scientific theories. Sts complete sentence transformations on handout using past modals.

 

Check answers across class.

To practice written form and meaning.

 

 

 

To check answers and practice pronunciation.

Speaking – controlled practice 10-15 mins Pairs

 

 

 

OC

 

Pairs/groups of 4.

Sts speculate about the Easter Island heads in pairs. Monitor, board corrections.

 

Share ideas in open class.

 

Repeat with pictures of Magura Cave, Great Pyramids, Uffington White Horse.

 

Sts make speculations in pairs about new pictures then speak to pair next to them and share ideas.

To practice and become more familiar with the structures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To come to a consensus about speculations.