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 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 Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

CAE/CPE Writing: Formal Letter of Complaint – Task + Phrase Sheet

Resultat d'imatges de complaint

Image credit: Durham Constabulary

Before you use these materials… We’ve created a new podcast aimed at B2+ level English students and teachers alike. You can listen for free at our SoundCloud page below. You can download teacher’s notes to accompany them from our Facebook page or from this blog. All comments and feedback welcome! Give us a like and a share 😉
https://www.facebook.com/2tspodcast/

This is a phrase sheet and writing task for CAE/CPE students designed to help them tackle formal letter of complaint tasks. Download the handout below:

Letter of complaint phrase sheet

CAE/CPE – Letter of Complaint

Task – CPE Testbuilder pg 91

You recently stayed at one of a chain of large hotels and encountered a number of problems during your stay. Write a letter to the company’s head office detailing the problems you had, describing what happened when you complained to the hotel staff and suggesting ways the company could improve its service. (CAE 220-260 words – CPE 280-320 words)

Opening

  • Dear Sir or Madam, / To whom it may concern,
  • I am writing to express my disappointment with/dissatisfaction with the service I received in…
  • I would like to lodge a formal complaint against your company for the reasons outlined below:
  • I feel compelled to write to you in order to describe the

Listing Problems

  • First of all,
  • Not only was there a hair in my wife’s soup, but the main course also arrived cold.
  • On top of that…
  • As if that was not enough…
  • To top it all off…
  • The straw that broke the camel’s back was…

Complaining Expressions

  • The standard of the… was not up to scratch.
  • The… was not up to the expected standard.
  • The… left a lot to be desired.
  • The… failed to live up to our expectations.
  • We were left bitterly disappointed by…
  • The quality of the customer service we received was woefully inadequate.
  • The… was an absolute disgrace. (v.strong)
  • Overall, our visit to your (restaurant) was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.

Requesting Action

  • It seems only fair that you should… (offer a full refund)
  • I would appreciate it if you…
  • I would be grateful if you…
  • Should these demands not be met, you will be hearing from my lawyers.
  • I expect to receive compensation to the tune of (€2000) for the…

Making Recommendations

  • I strongly recommend that your organisation…
  • It would be advisable to…
  • I suggest re-evaluating your procedures regarding…

Sign off

  • I look forward to receiving your reply.
  • I expect to receive a prompt reply to this letter.
  • Yours faithfully,
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Uncategorized, Writing Classes

CPE/Proficiency Writing Part 1: Phrase Sheet

Imatge relacionada

Image credit: qvictorias.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

I’ve recently started teaching CPE again so I decided to make a phrase sheet for my students to help them tackle part 1 of the writing paper, the formal essay. Download it below:

CPE Writing Part 1 Phrase Sheet

Summarising Texts

  • The first text/passage/extract outlines the benefits/drawbacks of…
  • The second text argues/claims that…
  • The first text advocates… +…ing (supports)
  • The second text puts forward the idea that…
  • It then goes on to espouse the viewpoint that… (say)
  • The text sheds light on the issue/topic of…
  • The text brings the topic of… to light.
  • The writer of the first text is a firm believer in…
  • The writer/author of the second text is highly critical of…
  • Both writers seem to agree that…, where their ideas deviate however is on the topic of…
  • The second text makes bold statements in support of…
  • Not only does the first text state that…, but it also claims that…
  • In addition to the aforementioned point, it also claims that…

Critical Examination

  • One thing the writer fails to mention is…
  • A glaring omission from the first text is…
  • While the writer makes some valid arguments in favour of…, she ignores the fact that…
  • One area which the writer seems to have overlooked is…
  • While I am generally in agreement with the majority of the first writer’s points the obvious hole in their argument is…
  • Were I to pick holes in the writer’s arguments, I would start by pointing out that…
  • I feel it must also be pointed out that…
  • When it comes to the topic of…, the text seems to be lacking somewhat
  • One major weakness in the writer’s argument is that…
  • The text neglects to mention that fact that…
  • The writer seems to have gone overboard in their praise/criticism of…

Expressing Opinion

  • I am of the opinion that…
  • In my humble opinion…
  • My thoughts on the matter are that…
  • As far as I am concerned,
  • As far as my opinions on the matter are concerned,…
  • My initial reaction to the opinions outlined in the text was…
  • I am a firm believer in…
  • On the whole, I tend to agree with… due to the fact that…
Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

Language for Pair-work

Image result for pairwork

Image credit: Belle Languages

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a powerpoint designed for use with exam classes to encourage students to complete pair-work in English and thus develop the language of negotiating, agreeing and collaborating. Download it below:

pair-work-language

You can use this resource in a number of ways; you can project the slide onto the board for students to refer to while completing pair-work. Alternatively, you could print the main slide out, laminate it and distribute one copy to each pair for the duration of the class. Each pair could then be given a board pen in order to keep track of how many of the expressions they have used during the class, the pair who use the most could then be awarded a prize at the end of the class.

Language

Asking for Opinion Giving opinion Agreeing Disagreeing
•What do you think about number X?

•What about number X?

•Let’s move on to number X.

•Shall we do number X now?

 

•I think /reckon…

•It could / might / may be…

•It can’t be…

•It must be…

•Number (2) is (A), isn’t it?

•It’s definitely not (B).

•I’m absolutely certain it’s (C)

•I have no idea

•I haven’t got a clue.

•I agree.

•Sounds good to me.

•I think you’re right.

•Good idea/point.

•I’m with you on this one.

•I couldn’t agree more.

•You’re absolutely right.

•You’ve hit the nail on the head!

•I’m not so sure.

•That doesn’t sound right to me.

•Are you sure??

•Are you kidding?

•You must be joking!

•You can’t be serious!

•I take your point but…

•No way!

•Don’t be silly!

Posted in Uncategorized

Teacher Training Workshops in Collaboration with Useful Languages

useful-languages-logo

Image credit: http://www.uflbarcelona.com/#

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Calling Barcelona-based English teachers! Eleanor Walker, DoS of Useful Languages, and I are going to be setting up weekly teacher training workshops to help teachers tackle exam classes for the main suite of Cambridge exams (FCE, CAE, CPE) starting on Friday February 24th.

  • Venue: Useful Languages – Carrer de Pelai, 44, Primera, 08001 Barcelona
  • Date of first session: February 24th 2017
  • Time: TBA: please complete the survey below
  • Price: €10 per person per 90 minute session, special offer: 6 sessions for €50
  • Contact: If you are interested in attending please contact Useful Languages: sylvie@uflbarcelona.com

We want to base the sessions on your needs so if you’re interested in attending it would be great if you could complete the surveymonkey below so we can get an idea of what to focus on and also the time-slot that suits you best.

Click here to complete the survey

Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Proverbs

Image credit: englishbookgeorgia.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher level learners (C1+) in which students learn some common English proverbs. Download the worksheet and key below:

Proverbs

Matching

Match the different sentence halves to form English proverbs.

1.       Where there’s a will

2.       Don’t look a gift horse

3.       If it ain’t broke,

4.       Beggars can’t

5.       Too many cooks

6.       There’s no such thing

7.       People who live in glass houses

8.       Two wrongs

9.       The squeaky wheel

10.   Don’t put all your eggs

11.   Two heads

12.   Don’t count your chickens

a.       Be choosers

b.      Before they hatch

c.       Spoil the broth

d.      There’s a way

e.      Are better than one

f.        As a free lunch

g.       In the mouth

h.      In one basket

i.         Shouldn’t throw stones

j.        Gets the grease

k.       Don’t fix it

l.         Don’t make a right

Meaning

Now match the proverb to its definition:

  1. Getting revenge will only make things worse.
  2. Don’t criticise people if you’ve got imperfections too.
  3. If something is working well, why change it?
  4. If you’re desperate you’re not in a position to be picky.
  5. If you complain about a situation you’re more likely to get better service.
  6. Have a backup plan. Don’t risk all of your money and time on one plan.
  7. If there are too many people involved in making a decision, it won’t turn out well.
  8. If someone gives you a present, don’t question it.
  9. Two people will probably solve a problem faster than one.
  10. Your plan might not work out. Don’t assume they are going to work out and start celebrating or planning the next step too early.
  11. If something is free, there’s normally a catch or hidden cost.
  12. If you really want something, you’ll find a way to achieve it.

Processing

  1. Which proverbs are the same in your language?
  2. In which ones is the meaning obvious?
  3. Which ones will you remember?
  4. Which ones will you forget?
  5. Which one is your favourite?
  6. What image do you associate with each proverb?

 

Picture Match

Match the picture to the proverb (only show up on the handout 😦 )

 
     

 

Scenarios

Match the scenario to proverb.

  1. Just because he cheated on you doesn’t mean you should cheat on him.
  2. The Christmas play is going to be awful because there are 5 different directors!
  3. I gave him my old bike for free and now he’s complaining about the tyres.
  4. I know they said we only have to go to the timeshare presentation to get the free camera but I smell a rat.
  5. I’ll ask Julia for what she thinks; we’ll work on it together.
  6. He’s desperate to go travelling in the summer but he’ll have to save up a lot of money first.
  7. Is your soup cold too? We should say something.
  8. You can talk Martin! You drink just as much as Tony does!
  9. I just think we should have something else up our sleeve if they don’t like the first idea.
  10. Hold your horses, we haven’t won the competition yet so stop planning how you’re going to spend the prize money.
  11. It’s the only room you can afford, so it’s take it or leave it I’m afraid.
  12. The new accounts system is working really well but I hear they’re thinking of changing it again.

Test

In pairs, take it in turns to read out the first half of a proverb to your partner, they must complete it.

A: Too many cooks…

B: Spoil the broth.

Personalise

Choose 3 proverbs and try to relate them to a time in your life. Write three sentences.

Key

Matching

1.       D

2.       G

3.       K

4.       A

5.       C

6.       F

7.       I

8.       L

9.       J

10.   H

11.   E

12.   B

Meaning

1.       Two wrongs don’t make a right

2.       People who live in glass houses…

3.       If it ain’t broke…

4.       Beggars can’t be choosers

5.       The squeaky wheel

6.       Don’t put all your eggs in…

7.       Too many cooks…

8.       Don’t look a gift horse…

9.       Two heads are better than one

10.   Don’t count your chickens…

11.   There’s no such thing as a…

12.   Where there’s a will…

Picture Match

1.       Too many cooks…

2.       Don’t put all your eggs…

3.       Don’t count your chickens…

4.       Don’t look a gift horse in…

5.       People who live in…

6.       2 wrongs don’t make a right

7.       2 heads are better than 1

8.       There’s no such thing as a free lunch

Scenarios

1.       2 wrongs don’t make a right

2.       Too many cooks…

3.       Don’t look a gift horse…

4.       There’s no such thing as…

5.       2 heads are better than one

6.       Where there’s a will there’s a way

7.       The squeaky wheel…

8.       People in glass houses…

9.       Don’t put all your eggs in one…

10.   Don’t count your chickens…

11.   Beggars can’t be choosers

12.   If it ain’t broke…