Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency Key Word Transformation Training #6

Here’s another training worksheet for C2 students preparing to take the C2 Proficiency exam. Students guess the meaning of some common idioms and expressions, attempt to recall them, then put them into practice in conversation. Download the handout below:

Here’s a quizizz game for spaced repetition.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Reading Classes

C2 Reading & Vocabulary: Football Dreams

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:

You may also want to use this quizziz game to review the language at a later date.

The class procedure is pretty self-explanatory and should take the best part of 90 minutes. Follow the instructions on the student handout.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 54 – Crazy Inventions

Credit: Mark Wilding

We’re back with episode 54 of the podcast. Katy & Tim describe some crazy inventions and discuss their usefulness. How many gadgets do you own?

Listen on SoundCloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoy the episode, come join us on the socials for more great content:

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@2tspod

Twitter: @2tspod

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/2tspod/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformations – Mini Test

This is a little mini test of 25 key word transformation questions for C2 proficiency students. Most of the questions are based around fixed expressions that often come up at this level. You will find most of them in previous lesson plans I’ve made, so the test will serve as good spaced repetition for your students. Download the handout and answer key below:

Here’s a quizlet study set that students could use at home to revise the expressions.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #5

This is another training worksheet to introduce some of the expressions that typically come up in part 4 of the proficiency use of English paper. Students work together to guess the meaning of the expressions from the context, then attempt to recall them to complete version 2. Download the handout below:

Then put students in pairs and have them first complete then ask and answer the discussion questions to put the language into more creative practice.

You could then use this quizizz game for future spaced recall/repetition of the expressions.

Version 1

  1. He bears a close resemblance to his uncle.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The little boy was green with envy to see his cousin riding his new bike.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s been a bit down in the mouth for the last few days.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Look on the bright side, at least it isn’t raining.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The film is a far cry from the book.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. In his autobiography, he finally set the record straight about the infamous argument with his manager.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ll get straight to the point, we love the house and we want to make an offer.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Keep me posted on the progress with the order, you can call or text anytime.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The England supporters put their team’s failure to qualify down to bad luck.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The waiters at the restaurant couldn’t have been more attentive.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I think we got off on the wrong foot yesterday, can we start over?

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police think Julia had something to do with the robbery but I think they’re barking up the wrong tree.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We can go and have a look but there’s no guarantee that there will be space to park.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He prides himself on his ability to remember names and dates.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s definitely at home, I caught a glimpse of her when she walked past the window.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There were no rooms left in the hotel whatsoever.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. At the height of his success, he could get a table at any restaurant he wanted.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There’s no telling how she’s going to react when you tell her.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We need to face up to the fact that the money’s gone and we can’t get it back.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I’m not averse to going to the cinema by myself.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. You’ll have to work your socks off if you want to impress the boss, she’s very demanding.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I was really nervous when I met my girlfriend’s parents for the first time but they soon put me at ease.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ve said my piece, this matter is no longer open to discussion. Goodbye.

Meaning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

  1. He looks very similar to his uncle. (BEARS)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The little boy was very jealous to see his cousin riding his new bike. (GREEN)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s been a bit sad for the last few days. (MOUTH)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Be optimistic, at least it isn’t raining. (BRIGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The film is very different from the book. (CRY)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. In his autobiography, he finally told the truth about the infamous argument with his manager. (RECORD)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ll talk about the most important thing first, we love the house and we want to make an offer. (POINT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Give me updates about the progress with the order, you can call or text anytime. (POSTED)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The England supporters said that bad luck was the reason for their team’s failure to qualify. (PUT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The waiters at the restaurant were extremely attentive. (COULD)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I think we didn’t start our relationship well yesterday, can we begin again? (FOOT/START)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police think Julia had something to do with the robbery but I think they’re choosing the wrong course of action. (TREE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We can go and have a look but we can’t be sure that there will be space to park. (GUARANTEE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He takes great satisfaction in his ability to remember names and dates. (PRIDES)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. She’s definitely at home, I saw her briefly when she walked past the window. (CAUGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There wasn’t a single room left at the hotel. (WHATSOEVER)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When he was most successful, he could get a table at any restaurant he wanted. (HEIGHT)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Who knows how she’s going to react when you tell her? (TELLING)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. We need to accept the fact that the money’s gone and we can’t get it back. (FACE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I don’t mind going to the cinema by myself. (AVERSE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. You’ll have to work very hard if you want to impress the boss, she’s very demanding. (SOCKS)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I was really nervous when I met my girlfriend’s parents for the first time but they soon made me feel comfortable. (EASE)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Listen, I’ve said what I want to say, I don’t want to discuss this matter anymore. Goodbye. (PIECE/OPEN)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Conversation

Complete the questions, then ask and answer them with a partner.

  1. Which member(s) of your family do you …….. the closest resemblance to?
  2. Are you the kind of person that often feels green with …….. about your friends’ achievements or possessions? Do you think it’s normal to have these feelings? What can we do about them?
  3. If you’re feeling …….. in the mouth, how do you cheer yourself up? Are you someone who tends to look on the bright ……..? Or do you have a more gloomy outlook on life?
  4. Think of a place you’ve visited that was a far …….. from the place where you grew up. How was it different? Was it a good different or a bad different?
  5. If you have to talk to someone about a difficult subject, do you tend to get ……… to the point, beat around the bush or avoid confrontation altogether? What are the pros and cons of each approach?
  6. Think of a celebrity who has recently ……… the record straight about something they did or said in the past. What happened? Do you think they were right to speak out?
  7. When a person becomes extremely successful or famous, how much of their success do you think can be ……… down to luck and how much is about real talent?
  8. What’s the best customer service you’ve ever received? A place where the staff couldn’t ……… been more attentive. How did it make you feel? Does your country generally have good customer service?
  9. Have you ever ……… off on the wrong foot with someone and had to start ………? Did you then go on to become good friends with that person?
  10. Which of your skills/abilities do you pride yourself ………? Why do you think people tend to be overly modest or hide their best talents and abilities?
  11. Have you ever ……… a glimpse of a really famous celebrity? Where were you? What was the celebrity doing? If you could live that moment again, would you do anything differently?
  12. Think of an example of a famous person who is no longer at the height ……… their success. What are they doing now? Do you feel sorry for them?
  13. Are you someone who tends to ……… up to facts when they’re staring you in the face? Or are you sometimes in denial?
  14. “I’m not averse ……… going to the cinema by myself.” – Is this true for you? What are the pros and cons of going to see a film alone?
  15. Did/do you work your ……… off at school or uni? Or just coast along doing the bare minimum?
  16. How can the parents of a new girl/boyfriend ……… you at ease the first time you meet them? Have you ever been in this situation? How did it feel?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #3

This is another training worksheet to introduce some of the expressions that typically come up in part 4 of the proficiency use of English paper. Students work together to guess the meaning of the expressions from the context, then attempt to recall them to complete version 2. Download the handout below:

Then put students in pairs and have them ask and answer the discussion questions to put the language into more creative practice.

You could then use this quizziz game for spaced recall of the expressions.

Look at the expressions in bold and try to guess their meaning with a partner.

  1. Young women are often discouraged from pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. People who earn under €10,000 a year are exempt from paying income tax.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I am behind with my rent payments, I owe my landlord €1000.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Whether he’s hot or not is beside the point, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There is no question of him staying the night with us, he can get a hotel.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. New restrictions will come into force on Friday night.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Going camping in the mountains does not appeal to me at all.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police ruled out the obvious suspect because he had an alibi for the night in question.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. They made the decision to get married on the spur of the moment.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He has set his heart on going to LA to be an actor.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When what really happened comes to light, you’re going to be in big trouble.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I’m not nearly as good-looking as him, it’s not fair!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. It is a foregone conclusion that Man City will win the league now.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I just took it as read that anyone who applied for the course would have the necessary qualifications.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Sadly, he’s just not cut out to be a professional basketball player.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I have no idea whatsoever who’s going to win this match.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He came in for a lot of criticism after his comments to the press.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My horse couldn’t keep pace with the rest of the riders and we soon fell behind.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Version 2

Try to recall the expressions using the key words.

  1. Young women are often put off pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions. (DISCOURAGED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. People who earn under €10,000 a year don’t have to pay income tax. (EXEMPT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I have missed a few of my rent payments, I owe my landlord €1000. (BEHIND)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Whether he’s hot or not doesn’t matter, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him. (BESIDE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. There’s no way he is staying the night with us, he can get a hotel. (QUESTION)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. New restrictions will become law on Friday night. (FORCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Going camping in the mountains does not interest me at all. (APPEAL)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. The police eliminated the obvious suspect because he had an alibi for the night in question. (RULED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. They made the decision to get married on a whim. (SPUR)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He is determined to go to LA to be an actor. (HEART)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. When what really happened is revealed, you’re going to be in big trouble. (LIGHT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He’s much better looking than me, it’s not fair! (NEARLY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Man City will definitely win the league now. (FOREGONE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I just assumed that anyone who applied for the course would have the necessary qualifications. (READ)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Sadly, he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a professional basketball player. (CUT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. I haven’t the foggiest idea who’s going to win this match. (WHATSOEVER)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. He received a lot of criticism after his comments to the press. (CAME)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. My horse couldn’t go at the same speed as the rest of the riders and we soon fell behind. (PACE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Discussion

Young women are often discouraged from pursuing careers in engineering due to sexist preconceptions.

  1. Is this true? If so, what can be done to change the situation?

People who earn under €10,000 a year are exempt from paying income tax.

  1. Should anyone else be exempt from paying tax? What can we do to cut down on tax avoidance?

Whether he’s hot or not is beside the point, he’s my ex-boyfriend so you can’t date him.

  1. Is it ever ok to date a friend’s ex? Why? Why not?

New restrictions will come into force on Friday night.

  1. What will you do if new coronavirus restrictions do come into force?

Going camping in the mountains does not appeal to me at all.

  1. Does it appeal to you? Why? Why not?

They made the decision to get married on the spur of the moment.

  1. Have you ever made a big decision on the spur of the moment?

He has set his heart on going to LA to be an actor.

  1. What do you have your heart set on? What will you do to achieve it?

Sadly, he’s just not cut out to be a professional basketball player.

  1. Do you think you’re cut out to be a professional sportsperson? Why? Why not? What skills/traits do you think you’re lacking?

He came in for a lot of criticism after his comments to the press.

  1. Think of a celebrity who has come in for a lot of criticism recently. What did they do? Do you think the criticism was deserved? What’s your opinion of cancel culture?
Posted in Conversation Classes, pragmatics

Classroom Pragmatics: Arriving Late & Leaving Early

Five things you could be doing that are driving your professor crazy —  Vision Media

This is the first in a new series of classroom pragmatics lesson plans designed to help develop students’ pragmatic competence in specific social interactions that take place in the classroom. In this case, how to apologise for arriving late and how to request to leave early. Download the handout with key below:

First students rate a good and a bad apology/request. Then they must break the apology/request down into separate functions or speech acts, then practice making their own apologies and requests in a role-play. This should prepare them for the real-life interaction if/when it arises.

Late Arrival

  • What should you do if you arrive late to class?

Rate this late arrival:

Teacher: What time do you call this?

Student: Sorry I’m late, …. traffic ….., I was eating, lost the bus.”

Now this one:

Teacher:  What time do you call this?

Student: Hi Tim, I’m really sorry for being late. It’s my fault, you see, I was having lunch with my friends and I lost track of time. It won’t happen again.

Identify the different stages:

  1. Greeting
  2. Initial apology
  3. Accept responsibility/place blame
  4. Give explanation
  5. Promise action

Useful language

Initial apologyAccept responsibility
I’m really sorry for ….ingApologies for ….ingI apologise profusely for ….ingIt’s (all) my fault…I’m to blame…It’s on me…
Introduce explanation or excusePromise action
You see,…It’s just that…What happened was…It won’t happen again.I’ll try harder to …. next time.I promise I’ll/I won’t…

Role-play

https://rolladie.net/roll-a-d20-die – roll a 20-sided die to choose your excuse then role-play the situation with your partner.

Excuse Table

I overslept. My last class/meeting overran. I lost track of time. I missed the bus and had to wait for the next one. I got stuck in traffic. The metro line was down. I got distracted. I had a (dentist’s) appointment. My (pet/family member) was sick. I lost my (bag/phone/etc.)My bag got stolen. I fell over/tripped and hurt my (ankle/knee) I had a car/bike/motorbike accident. My car/bike/motorbike broke down. My house/flat got burgled/broken into. A water pipe burst in my house/flat. I got held up at the (doctor’s/dentist’s/bank) I got caught in the rain/snow. I got splashed by a puddle. There’s been a death in the family.

Leaving Early

  • How would you ask the teacher if you can leave early?

Rate this request:

Student: I have to leave early today. I have to go to the dentist. Here you have a note from my dad.

Now this one:

Student: Hi Tim, would it be ok if I left early today? I’ll only miss the last 20 minutes of class. The thing is, I have a dentist’s appointment at 3 o’clock, it’s the only slot they had. I’ll get the notes off María before next class and if you could let me know the homework, that’d be great.

Identify the different stages:

  • Greeting
  • Initial request
  • Softening
  • Introduce reason
  • Promise action/mitigation
Polite RequestsIntroducing explanations
Would it be of if + past simpleWould it be possible to + inf.Do you think I could + verb…?The thing is,…It’s just that,….You see,….

Role-play

https://rolladie.net/roll-a-d10-die – roll a 10-sided die to choose your excuse then role-play the situation with your partner. Think of ways to soften the request (I’ll only miss 20 minutes of class)

Excuse Table

It’s your (family member’s) birthday. You have a big sporting event. You have an important exam tomorrow morning. You have a flight/train to catch. You have a dentist’s appointment. You have a doctor’s appointment. You have an appointment at the hairdresser’s. You have an important business meeting. You have to go home to look after your kids/younger siblings. You have an important family dinner.

KEY – ARRIVING LATE

Teacher:  What time do you call this?

Student: Hi Tim, I’m really sorry for being late. It’s my fault, you see, I was having lunch with my friends and I lost track of time. It won’t happen again.

Identify the different stages:

  1. Greeting
  2. Initial apology
  3. Accept responsibility/place blame
  4. Give explanation
  5. Promise action

LEAVING EARLY

Student: Hi Tim, would it be ok if I left early today? I’ll only miss the last 20 minutes of class. The thing is, I have a dentist’s appointment at 3 o’clock, it’s the only slot they had. I’ll get the notes off María before next class and if you could let me know the homework, that’d be great.

Identify the different stages:

  • Greeting
  • Initial request
  • Softening
  • Introduce reason
  • Promise action/mitigation
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Vocabulary Classes

C2 Proficiency: Inverted Open Cloze

C2 Proficiency: Exam Technique – Reading Part 7 – Tim's Free English Lesson  Plans

This is a lesson plan for C2 proficiency students designed to more fully exploit a use of English part 2 open cloze text. Download the handout below:

The part 2 exercise is taken from the Expert Proficiency Coursebook published by Pearson.

Students first complete the exercise from their books, compare answers with a partner and correct the task in open class. The teacher then instructs them to close their books/fold the handout over and try to complete the second “inverted” version. In this version, different words have been removed from the fixed expressions tested in the original text. Other changes have been made in order to fully exploit the text for more high level lexis such as phrasal verbs and fixed expressions. Students can then refer back to the original in order to check their answers.

You can create your own inverted cloze exercises from any text in your course book. Happy inverting!

Inverted Version

Cover the original exercise.

Complete this version.

The relationship between the modern consumer and their rubbish is a complex one. Getting (1) ……. of rubbish has come to mean a great (2) ……. more than simply consigning breakfast leftovers (3) ……. a plastic bag. With the advent (4)……. recycling, rubbish has now invaded many people’s personal lives to an unprecedented (5) ……. There was a time, (6) ……. living memory, when rubbish collection was a simple matter – but today’s household rubbish, before being (7) ……., has to be filed and sorted (8) ……. colour-coded containers (9) ……. to its recycling category.

What is (10) ……., we are brought (11) ……. in a rash of irritation by the suggestion that, if rubbish collections were to become more infrequent, people would then make the effort to (12) ……. down on shopping and recycle more. We might be excused for wondering (13) ……. this would be possible. Can people realistically buy fewer eggs or (14) ……. of toothpaste than their lives require?

Recycling is supposed to be good for us. But for some, it’s just a (15) ……. of rubbish.

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