Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Where do you Stand? Entertainment & Culture

Entertainment And Culture Icon Set High-Res Vector Graphic - Getty Images

This is another edition of my “Where do you Stand?” conversation series. Students debate different topics related to entertainment and culture but must rate the opinion on a scale from 1-6 before they begin the discussion.

The PowerPoint contains examples of language of opinion, agreement and disagreement designed with C1 students in mind. If you are teaching lower level students, you could just use the student handout. You can download a B2 phrase sheet here.

Here are the topics students discuss:

The book is always better than the film.

There are too many sequels and spin-off films these days. There aren’t many original stories.

The original version of a song is always the best.

Celebrities shouldn’t complain about being in the public eye. It’s part of the jobNetflix will kill the cinema.

You shouldn’t watch films on your phone. It ruins the experience.

Watching a film at the cinema is always better than at home.

Violent films and videogames should be banned.

Music, art and drama should be compulsory subjects at school.

Social media companies should be responsible for the content that users post on their platforms.

Children shouldn’t play with “violent” toys like guns and weapons.

Something is always lost when a text is translated.

Physical books will disappear one day.

Governments should be allowed to censor some elements of the media including books and films.

The benefits of social media platforms outweigh the negative aspects.

Sports involving animals (hunting, horse riding, bullfighting, etc.) are an important part of my culture and must be protected.

Watching too much television makes you stupid.

Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Discussion: Where do you Stand? Animal Rights

Animal Rights Advocates | LinkedIn

This is a discussion topic for B2+ students on the topic of animal rights. Download the student handout and PowerPoint below:

The PowerPoint contains advanced language for expressing opinion, personalising the topic, agreeing and disagreeing. It was made with C1/C2 students in mind. If you’re teaching lower levels, the student handout may be more suitable, although I recommend supplementing it with a phrase sheet, perhaps try my FCE Speaking Phrases post.

Put students into small groups (3/4) or conduct the activity as an open class discussion. Before engaging in discussion on the topics, students must decide individually to what extent they agree or disagree with the given statement by circling one of the numbers from 1-6. The idea is that students will be more likely to take a stand and defend their point of view and less able to go along with the crowd if they’ve assigned their opinion a numerical value.

You could also introduce the phrase “to play devil’s advocate” and encourage students do it during the discussion. Another idea could be to assign a specific student from each group as the devil’s advocate for each topic, thus forcing them to come up with counter arguments to what their classmates are saying.

Here are the discussion topics:

  • Zoos have a positive impact on society.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Big game hunting should be allowed the money from hunting licences should go towards conservation.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Humans shouldn’t step in to save endangered species; nature should be allowed to take its course.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I see no problem with testing cosmetics on animals.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I see no problem with testing medicines on animals.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • People in the future will view the way we treat animals today as barbaric.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • It’s not a square meal without some meat.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I could go vegetarian.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I could go vegan.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I’m willing to cut down on meat for environmental reasons.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Eating animals like dogs and cats shouldn’t be viewed as strange; we eat pigs, sheep and cows.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I would be able to tell the difference between real and synthetic meat.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • One day, all meat will be synthetic meat, grown in a laboratory.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Factory farming is necessary in order to feed the populations.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Eating meat is an important part of my culture.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • Sports involving animals (hunting, horse riding, bullfighting, etc.) are an important part of my culture and must be protected.
Strongly agree               1               2               3               4               5               6               Strongly disagree
  • I could kill and butcher and animal for food.
Posted in Conversation Classes

Crime and Punishment: Conversation Topic

Image credit: www.theguardian.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation topic for adults and teenagers on the subject of crime and punishment. Students discuss how safe they feel in their city, discuss the attraction of crime films and decide the correct punishment for some heinous (and not so heinous) crimes. Download everything below:

Crime and Punishment Lesson Plan

Crime and Punishment

crime film posters

Handout

Discussion

  1. Is your city a safe place to live? Why?
  2. Does your city have any dangerous areas? Where are they?
  3. Are you afraid to walk outside after dark? Why?
  4. Do you know anyone who has been robbed? If so, what happened?
  5. Have you ever been robbed? Have you ever had something stolen from you?
  6. Is it ever okay to break the law? If so, when?
  7. What are some things people can do to protect themselves from crime?
  8. What are some things that are legal but you personally think should be illegal?
  9. What are some things that are illegal but you personally think should be legal?
  10. What crimes have you heard about recently in the news?
  11. What do you think is the worst crime a person could commit? Why?
  12. What crimes do you think will increase in the future? Why?
  13. What crimes do you think will decrease in the future? Why?
  14. Does your country have the death penalty? If so, for what crimes can people receive the death penalty?
  15. Do you think the death penalty is a fair punishment? Why?
  16. Are there any reasonable alternatives to the death penalty? What?
  17. Why do people steal things?
  18. Have you ever had anything stolen from you?
  19. Have you ever stolen anything?

Brainstorm Crimes and punishments

https://www.englishclub.com/english-for-work/police-crime.htm

Glamourising Crime

Show pictures of crime films/books.

  • What happens in these films?
  • Why do we sympathise with the criminals?
  • What crimes are glamorous?
  • Can criminals be heroes?
  • What makes a villain a villain?

The punishment fits the crime

Students debate what punishments are appropriate for the crimes in the powerpoint.

Posted in Conversation Classes

My Emoji Weekend

Image credit: guesstheemoji-answers.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I can’t remember where I got this idea from, I think it was Lindsay Clandfield at the Barcelona IH Conference two weeks ago. This is a quick lesson plan designed for use with teenagers of almost any level. Download the lesson plan below:

My Emoji Weekend

Preparation

Write what you did at the weekend, but, write it in emojis. Like this:

20160216_222915

Take a photo of the emojis and either print them out or project them in some way.

Class Procedure

Show students the emojis and tell them that they represent your weekend. In pairs students have to recreate your weekend as a text, this is a good opportunity for them to practice past simple and also language of sequencing: After that/afterwards, later, in the afternoon, firstly, secondly, finally etc.

Give students about 5 mins to prepare their text, monitoring and boarding any vocabulary. Students then read out their version of your weekend. The pair whose version is closest to the real version is the winner. You can also award points for imagination. Below is the text version of my weekend.

My Weekend

On Saturday morning I had a lie-in because I was very tired. I woke up at around 11 and had a cooked breakfast. Then I watched a football match on TV. After that I went to the city centre to go clothes shopping, I bought a new shirt and some trousers. Then I stopped in a kebab shop for lunch. When I got home I watched an action film on my laptop and went to bed early.

On Sunday I had to get up early, I got up at 7am. I ate two bananas for breakfast and then I ran the Barcelona half-marathon. I finished the race and won a medal. Afterwards I went to a bar with some friends to celebrate. I drank some beers and ate a hamburger. When I got home I had a shower, played some videogames and went to bed, I was exhausted!

Pair-work

Now give students 2 minutes to draw their weekend  in emojis. If you want you could have students send their emoji weekend to each other via a messenger app, this may not be advisable with some groups. They should know most of the emojis but if they don’t use the pictures below:

Students then have to guess what their partner did by looking at their emojis. They then tell each other if they were wrong or right and explain the real version.

Posted in Conversation Classes

What’s the best/worst thing about…?

 

Image credit: www.jamesfunda.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation activity designed to get teenagers and adults talking and practice the phrases:

The best/worst thing about… is…

Download the powerpoint below, project it and have students discuss their ideas in groups then share them in open class, board any emergent language and exploit any opportunities for debate and exponents of agreeing, disagreeing and expressing opinion.

Best Worst thing

Posted in Conversation Classes

Speaking Topic: Could you…?

Image credit: www.popsci.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a speaking topic designed for teenagers that could also be used with adults. It consists of hypothetical questions with “could you…?” for example: “could you live without your mobile?”

Put students in small groups (3/4) or you could make it an open class discussion. Download the powerpoint below.

Could you

Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: Who’s in the wrong?

Image credit: www.learnaboutislam.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation lesson plan for intermediate (B1) upwards around the topic of blame. Download the powerpoint below:

Who’s in the wrong

Warmer

SS discuss in pairs:

  • When was the last time you got into trouble?
  • Who was to blame?

Language of blaming:

  1. It was my/his/her/your/their/our _________.
  2. He was to _________.
  3. She was in the _________.
  4. They were at ________.
  5. I blame the broken window _____ John.
  6. I blame John _____ breaking the window.

SS complete the sentences with the following words:

for

on

blame

wrong

fault (x2)

  1. It was my/his/her/your/their/our fault
  2. He was to blame
  3. She was in the wrong
  4. They were at fault.
  5. I blame the broken window on John.
  6. I blame John for breaking the window.

Show the first slide from the powerpoint and have students discuss who is to blame in small groups. Ss then report back in open class. You might want to assign roles from the different situations to different students to make it a bit more exciting.

Posted in Conversation Classes

Conversation topic: The best way to…

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Image credit: www.cleverprocrastination.com

This is a straightforward conversation topic lesson plan which can be used with both teens and adults and many levels (high A2+). Students discuss the best thing to do in different situations.

You will need the “best way to…” powerpoint:

The best way to

Language

Put the following structures on the board:

Opinion:

  • In my opinion
  • From my point of view
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • I reckon

The best/worst thing to do is…

Agreeing and disagreeing:

Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

Project the powerpoint onto the board and go through the slides. Play devil’s advocate and ensure that students debate each topic thoroughly.

Debates

You could split the class into teams and debate one of the topics. Give each team an opinion, for example “the best way to break up with someone is by text”, and they have to defend that opinion even if they don’t agree with it.

Homework

Have students choose one of the topics raised and write an essay on it; exploring the different ways suggested and reaching a conclusion as to which is the best.