Posted in Advanced C1, Conversation Classes, Guest Posts, Proficiency, Reading Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Guest Post: C1/C2 – Collin’s Word of the Year by Suzy Ratcliff

This is a guest post by teacher, teacher trainer, director of studies and materials writer Suzy Ratcliff. The lesson plan is based around the Collin’s Dictionary’s annual blog post revealing the shortlist for the words of the year. It’s a great example of how to exploit a piece of authentic materials to the max!

Download the student’s handout and teacher’s notes below:

Blog post

A year of ‘permacrisis’

1st Nov 2022

The 2020s have certainly seen their fair share of upheaval – and we’re only two years in! Already this decade we’ve had to contend with a pandemic and its aftermath, a brutal new war in Europe, and in the UK an economic crisis that saw the Bank of England warning of a “material risk to financial stability”. We’ve also had three prime ministers – so far.

How fitting, then, that 2022’s Word of the Year is permacrisis, a term that perfectly embodies the dizzyingsense of lurching from one unprecedented event to another, as we wonder bleakly what new horrors might be around the corner. Collins defines it as “an extended period of instability and insecurity” and that certainly rings true. Much more of this and we might have forgotten what stability and security ever felt like.

The current permacrisis also happens to be responsible for some of the other words on this year’s shortlist – not surprising given its all-consuming nature. Partygate, of course, is one of the events that set off the period of political turbulence whoseramifications are still playing out. It proves that the “-gate” suffix – made famous by the discovery of secret recordings in Washington DC’s Watergate Hotel – still has some life in it.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine produced an energy shock to which warm banks – places where those too poor to heat their own homes can gather in the event of a cold snap –are one proposed solution. The lexical analogy here is with another grim indicator of economic crisis, the food bank. The invasion also meant that we all quickly learned the Ukrainian spelling and pronunciation of the city of Kyiv. And while warfare may be Russia’s preferred tactic, increased scrutiny of Russia’s super-rich has led to a crackdown on lawfare, the use (or abuse) of legal powers to silence opponents.

In the labour market, changes have been afoot too. There’s been a vibe shift away from the culture that defined the world of work pre-pandemic: now people are less concerned with climbing the greasy pole, and more with quality of life. This has led to an epidemic of so-called quiet quitting, which, as Collins puts it, involves “doing no more work than one is contractually obliged to do”. For burnt-out millennials, it’s a third way between making your job your life and quitting altogether. Work-life balance is important, so why not relax as the year draws to a close by watching some football? The FIFA World Cup is due to start this month in Qatar – but beware the spectre of sportswashing, which some have accused the Qatari authorities of doing, given concerns around human rights and the welfare of migrant workers. This follows the pattern that has given us “greenwashing“, and of course goes back ultimately to “whitewashing“– blotting out imperfections with a thin coat of paint.

All in all, it’s a difficult note on which to begin the Carolean era, which the new king, Charles III, will preside over (the medieval Latin for Charles is, of course, Carolus). Let’s hope this is just a shaky start, and things will improve soon, Your Majesty. In the meantime, we all could be forgiven for just wanting to join our furry friends in splooting – which, Collins explains, is the act of lying flat on the stomach with the legs stretched out – until all of these problems have gone away.

Written by David Shariatmadari, author of Don’t Believe A Word: From Myths to Misunderstandings – How Language Really Works

Ex 1. Complete the sentences with your own ideas, then compare and discuss with your partner.

  1. In 2023, I’d like to see a crackdown on…
  2. The way I see it, … is just around the corner.
  3. In my life, I’ve had my fair share of
  4. The idea that …. really rings true to me
  5. The word …. perfectly embodies 2022 for me, because…

Ex 2. Discuss these questions:

  1. To what extent do you agree that 2022 has been a year of upheaval? Is it fair to say that the future looks grim or bleak? Why (not)?
  2. Have you witnessed someone close to you or a public figure lurching from one crisis to another? Have you ever experienced this sensation yourself?
  3. How do you predict the aftermath of the World Cup controversy will play out? Could changes be afoot in the world of big sporting events?
  4. In which industries do you think it’s necessary to ‘climb the ‘so-called’ greasy pole’? Have you ever felt that way in your career? Why (not)?
Posted in Conversation Classes

Tis the Season to be Jolly: Christmas Expressions

Image result for christmas

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a Christmas lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) in which students learn some Christmassy expressions then practice them in a crossword and discussion.

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly-teachers-notes

tis-the-season-to-be-jolly – Student handout

christmas-expressions-crossword-key

christmas-expressions-crossword

Teacher’s notes

Matching

Match the expressions in bold with their definitions.

  1. I really overindulged last Christmas, I felt awful on Boxing Day. (C)
  2. So this year I’ve decided to pace myself, no booze till lunchtime! (P)
  3. Oooo, I’m feeling a bit tipsy after all that champagne. (B)
  4. I’ll put some Christmas carols on to get in the festive spirit. (D)
  5. Christmas is a time to get together with your nearest and dearest. (O)
  6. I don’t get on with my uncle but we always manage to bury the hatchet at Christmas. (E)
  7. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without turkey with all the trimmings. (J)
  8. (opening a present) Another horrible jumper from Auntie Janet, oh well, it’s the thought that counts. (M)
  9. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. (H)
  10. Son: “Come on Granddad! It’s Christmas, don’t be such a scrooge!” (I)

Granddad: “Bah Humbug! I hate Christmas.” (K)

  1. My mum always spends hours slaving over a hot stove on Christmas day. (F)
  2. We’re doing a secret Santa in the office and I’ve drawn the boss! I don’t know what to get her. (G)
  3. (opening a present) Oh wow, it’s lovely, you shouldn’t have! (L)
  4. Christmas is really important in my family, we always pull out all the stops, decorations, presents, tonnes of food, you name it! (N)
  5. Children always get showered with gifts at Christmas. (A)
a.       Receive a lot of presents

b.      A little drunk

c.       Eat and drink too much

d.      To start feeling Christmassy

e.      To forget old arguments and be friendly

f.        To spend a long time cooking

g.       “amigo invisible” each person buys a present for another person in the group.

h.      A snowy Christmas

i.         A mean person who doesn’t like Christmas

j.        The traditional things that go with something

k.       People who don’t like Christmas say this.

l.         What you say when you receive a present

m.    What you say when you receive a bad present

n.      Make a big effort to achieve something

o.      Your family

p.      To eat and drink slowly and carefully.

Reflection

This section is designed to help students process the vocabulary and aid acquisition.

Look again at the expressions.

  1. Which ones do you like?
  2. Which ones do you think you will remember?
  3. Which ones do you think you will forget?
  4. Can you think of an equivalent expression in your language?
  5. Think of a way to remember each expression with your partner, you could relate it to a sound, a word in your language or maybe an image.

Crossword

Give out the crossword handout and have them complete it in pairs without looking at the original handout. The first group to finish is the winner.

Conversation

Students ask and answer the questions in pairs. Then feedback in open class.

Ask and answer the questions with your partner:

  1. Have you ever experienced a white Christmas? Where were you? What was it like?
  2. Do you try to pace yourself over the festive season? Or do you tend to overindulge?
  3. Who slaves over a hot stove in your family?
  4. Have you ever done a secret Santa? Who with? Who did you draw? Did you like the experience?
  5. Does your family pull out all the stops at Christmas?
  6. Do you get on with everyone in your family? Do you have to bury the hatchet with any family members at Christmas?
  7. Does anyone in your family give bad presents? What do you say when you receive a bad present? Have you ever taken a present back to the shop?
  8. What do you do to get into the Christmas spirit? Do you ever find it difficult?
  9. Are there any scrooges in your family?
  10. What’s the traditional Christmas dish in your culture? What are all the trimmings that go with it?
  11. Who gets showered with gifts in your household?
  12. Do you normally get tipsy at Christmas?
  13. How important is it to get together with your nearest and dearest at Christmas? Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
  14. How important is giving and receiving presents in your family? Is it really just the thought that counts?

 

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…