Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency, Reading Classes

C2 Proficiency: Exam Technique – Reading Part 7

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is a lesson plan for C2 students preparing to take the Cambridge Proficiency exam. Students will learn exam techniques to tackle part 7 of paper 1, the multiple matching exercise. The example task is taken from CUP test book 1. Download the PowerPoint and task below:

Procedure

Lead students through the steps in the PowerPoint. Students should focus on the list of questions first, underlining key words and trying to paraphrase the questions into simpler language where possible. The PowerPoint contains some examples of paraphrasing. Students should then tackle the reading texts in order while referring back to their notes. Encourage them to underline the parts of the text that they think answer each question.

Students should complete the first paraphrasing exercise in pairs. Then for the reading, they should work individually, set a time limit of 15 minutes for them to complete the exercise. Students should then compare their answers and show their partner the sections of the text that they have underlined for each question.

You will find the answer key and annotated copy of the texts on the final slides of the PowerPoint. You should set students another part 7 for homework so that they can put the technique into practice.

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Listening Classes, Reading Classes

C1: Halloween Special – Spoopy Season

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween. This lesson plan is for C1 students. They will discover the spooky origins of the jack-o-lantern and then learn about the new phenomenon of “spoopy” by doing a gapped text reading exercise. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

  1. What are the similarities and differences between these two images?
  • Which of these images do you find the spookiest?
  1. Listening (Part 2) VIDEO – The Messed Up Origins™ of Jack-o’-Lanterns

Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and fill the gaps (1 to 3 words):

  1. Once you think about the name “Jack-o’-lantern”, it becomes evident that this tradition comes from ____________.
  2. Stingy Jack’s personal qualities made the devil ____________.
  3. On his way home Jack saw _______________ on the ground.
  4. The mutilated corpse’s voice was _____________ Satan himself.
  5. The devil was surprised by Jack’s ______________.
  6. Jack prevented the devil from climbing down the tree by surrounding it with ___________.
  7. The devil gave Jack a glowing ember as a _____________.
  8. According to the legend, Jack walks around _____________________ on October 31st.
  • Reading and Use of English (Part 7)

Read the text and choose the correct paragraph from [A]-[G] to fill in the gaps [1]-[6]. There is one extra paragraph, which you do not need to use.

ADAPTED FROM CULTURE DESK – San Francisco Chronicle

What is spoopy? Your guide to the Internet’s favorite Halloween aesthetic

For the past few years, October has not only heralded the return of Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes, it has also marked the dawning of spoopy season. For a small group of people who belong in the center of a Venn diagram of mellowed-out goths and the “extremely online,” the spoopy aesthetic has become a source of joy and comfort in turbulent times.

[1]

“Spookiness is campy, but spoopiness is campy in a very specific way,” says John Paul Brammer, a New York City writer and advice columnist whose popular memes about the demonic goat from the movie “The Witch” are more of the former. “Spoopy’s whole thing is that it is not frightening. It’s not threatening, not arcane, but uses the trappings of the threatening and the arcane to make the joke: OoOoOooOo!!! SpoooOOoooOOooky!!”

[2]

Its origin is much more straightforward than its meaning. In 2009, the word was spotted on a skeleton-theme sign displayed at a Ross Dress For Less store. Though its ascent took some time, the term gained popularity on niche social media communities like Tumblr until it finally reached escape velocity to spread even further.

[3]

Though it might seem random, the delight of this sort of banal creepiness stems from the desire to look an object of fear in the eye — and laugh.

[4]

In political discourse, Prevas points to anti-transgender activists using the image of Frankenstein’s monster to demonize transgender people. Historically, monsters have often stood in for types of people who were undesirable: racial minorities, immigrants, queer people, anyone outside the “normal.” “I love the unsettling part of (spoopiness),” Prevas says, “that disconnect between seeing the creatures which we expect to see in a horror scenario in a perfectly quotidian scene.”

[5]

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it resonates so well right now, at a time when marginalized people’s status feels extremely fraught and political rhetoric insists on estranging us from polite society. This aesthetic defies the imperative to be afraid: Instead, we embrace the monsters as part of ourselves, as neighbours. To let the monster out is, in a sense, letting oneself out. 

[6]

When we look at the skeleton riding a bike, it almost feels aspirational: This is what life could look like if our cloistered selves were set free. As it turns out, spoopiness might be just what we need right now.

[A] Because I’m a restaurant critic, my gauge of whether or not something has hit the mainstream is “The Great British Bake-Off.” In the 10th season, currently airing on the British Channel 4 and Netflix, Spanish contestant Helena Garcia has emerged as a fan favourite thanks to her memorably macabre but cute creations like a chocolate orange tarantula flanked by macadamia nut spider eggs, eldritch horror pies and bloody green “witch finger” biscuits.

[B] What is “spoopy”? It’s the coupling of wildly absurdist humour with terror — an aesthetic unto itself that, like camp, can be hard to articulate.

[C] Spoopy is a reclamation and reframing of these monsters, a mind-set that boasts, “You say I should be scared of this? Hilarious!”

[D] In fables and literary fiction, monsters are the embodiments of everything that society represses: a “warning system” of sorts, says Christine Prevas, a Columbia University Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on applying queer theory to contemporary horror. The monster is a taboo made flesh: A prepubescent girl turned foul-mouthed, vomiting demon in “The Exorcist”; a bad sexual encounter run amok in “It Follows.”

[E] When I look at this stuff, it reminds me of how I like to “watch” horror movies by reading their plot summaries on Wikipedia: a digital version of peeking at Medusa’s face by holding up a mirror.

[F] This disruption of the narrative of otherness mirrors the way people actually want to be seen. For instance, queer people can be queer outside of designated contexts like gay bars and the privacy of one’s bedroom, Prevas says. “We’re also queer in the grocery store. We’re also queer on a bicycle.”

[G] Much easier than defining it is sorting through what is and isn’t spoopy. As a start, think of it as friendly and somewhat sarcastic horror: A skeleton isn’t, but a skeleton riding a bike? Definitely spoopy. The Babadook isn’t, but the memes that claim that the monster is a proud gay man? Super spoopy.

  • Language focus (15 min)
  1. Vocabulary

Look at the words in bold in the text and discuss the meaning with a partner:

Former 
Somewhat 
Spotted 
Gauge 
Embodiments 
Unsettling 
Mirrors 

Next, fill in the gaps with the vocabulary words in the correct form to fit the context:

  • Jack saw a mutilated corpse with a(n) _____________  look on its face.
  • His mood ___________ the gloomy weather on that Halloween night.
  • Between risking being tricked and facing Jack’s grumbling stomach for the rest of the trip, the devil chose the _________.
  • Some consider him the very _____________ of evil.
  • The devil was ____________ confused by Jack’s request to pay the bill at the bar.
  • Jack ___________ a mutilated corpse on the ground on his way home from the bar.
USEFUL CHUNKSUse the trappings of (sth) Stem from Run amok In a sense
  • After Jack __________ the level of danger he was in, he decided to trap the devil by using crosses.
Posted in B2 First, Exam Preparation Class, Guest Posts, Listening Classes

B2: Halloween Special – Spoopy Season

This is a guest post by Soleil García Brito just in time for Halloween! Students learn about the concert of spoopy vs spooky things and the history of the jack-o-lantern. Download the handouts below:

  1. Describe the images and discuss:
  2. What are the similarities and differences between these two images?
  • Which of these images do you find the spookiest?
  • Reading and Use of English (Part 2)

Adapted from Merriam Webster – Words We’re Watching

The Inside Poop On ‘Spoopy’

Spoopy might startle people, especially around Halloween season. Perhaps it’s the resemblance (1) ______ spooky, which could lead you to believe the formation is nothing more (2) ______ a jaw-dropping typo. Or it could also be that it has poopy in it, which makes the spelling amusing to people (3) ______ enjoy bodily humour. This Internet sensation’s origin was a comical misspelling of the adjective spooky spotted on a department store’s Halloween sign written in a “skeletal” font and photographed. The image was (4) ______ uploaded to the Internet; in short order, spoopy (5) ______ viral. Essentially, the word is used to describe something that typically would be spooky, (6) ______ an image of a skeleton or ghost, but is actually rather comical. The word has other connotations (7) ______ well: it is sometimes used for things that are intended to be spooky but simply fail to scare, or it could describe something that blends cuteness (8) ______ spookiness in a grotesque way.

Watch the video (x2) until 5:17 and answer the following questions:

  1. According to the Youtuber’s previous views, why did people carve pumpkins?
    1. Because they wanted to scare others
    1. Because they didn’t like the taste of pumpkins
    1. Because there were too many pumpkins
  2. Why did the devil go to see Stingy Jack?
    1. To take him to hell
    1. So that he could have some drinks with him
    1. Because he admired him
  3. How did Stingy Jack avoid going to hell the first time?
    1. He trapped the devil in a silver cross
    1. He trapped the devil in his pocket
    1. He left the bar while the devil was paying
  4. Why did the devil climb up a tree?
    1. Because Jack was hungry
    1. Because he was hungry
    1. Because Jack threatened him with crosses
  5. The reason Jack wasn’t allowed in hell was…
    1. He wasn’t evil
    1. He made a deal with the devil
    1. God prohibited him from entering
  6. What does the legend say?
    1. That Jack is happy because he escaped hell
    1. Jack wanders through purgatory with a pumpkin
    1. Jack’s spirit appears in marshes on October 31st
  • Language focus

Watch the video again, complete the sentences below and match the words to their meanings:

  1. Well, it ___________ I was wrong about two things.
  2. A voice comes out ___________ to be Satan himself.
  3. Just ________ yourself ________ a silver coin.
  4. Jack’s soul was sent down to hell where the devil was _________ waiting.
  5. Was cursed to spend eternity __________ through the darkness or purgatory.
  6. Wandering aimlessly through the forests and ____________
Turns outWalking around slowly with no clear purpose or direction
ClaimingIn a way that shows a strong desire to do or have something
Turn (sth/sb) intoSaying that something is true or a fact
EagerlyTo be known or discovered finally and surprisingly
WanderingGround near a lake, a river, or the sea that is always wet
MarshesTo change, transform or develop from one thing to another
USEFUL IDIOMSTo be taken off guard The lesser of two evils
Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Grammar Classes, Writing Classes

B2+ Formal Linkers

Fine 3d Image Of Metal Ring Chain Cartoon Style Stock Photo, Picture And  Royalty Free Image. Image 9852810.

A new worksheet for B2+ students to help them add more cohesion to their writing through the use of formal linkers and connectors. Download the handout and key below:

Lead students through the worksheet. Encourage creativity in the final activity. Set students an FCE or CAE part 1 essay for homework.

Label the groups of linkers (A, B, C, D) with the titles in the box based on their function.

REASON       ADDITION      CONTRAST/CONCESSION      CONDITIONALS
  1. ____________________
  2. One of the main benefits of research into green energy is the impact it can have on the environment. Furthermore, by switching to renewable energy sources, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels such as oil.
  3. The project failed to live up to the expectations of the management team. What is more, it was €100,000 over budget.
  4. Construction of the solar farm was finished on time. Moreover, workers were able to increase power output by 15% in the first month.
  5. ____________________
  6. Many parts of the world are being ravaged by extreme weather conditions due to/owing to the impact of climate change.
  7. Emissions of harmful greenhouse gases have increased owing to/due to the fact that the world’s population keeps growing.
  8. Further research is needed in order to push the boundaries of our scientific knowledge.
  9. Governments should provide more funding for green energy projects so as to increase their efficiency.
  10. More charging stations for electric cars should be installed so that there are enough to meet demand.
  11. ____________________
  12. Space exploration is undoubtedly an exciting area of research. Even so, is it really the most pressing issue humankind is facing right now?
  13. In spite of/Despite recent technological advancements we have seen, we still know very little about the universe.
  14. In spite of/Despite the fact that time is running out, we must not give up and accept our fate.
  15. Much progress has been made in this field. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done.
  16. ____________________
  17. Unless we take steps to combat climate change now, we may be too late.
  18. Even if we manage to reduce emissions considerably, there is no guarantee that it will be enough.
  19. We are still not sure whether or not we are alone in the universe.

Sentence Structure Rules

Group A:

  • What do you notice about the way all 4 linkers are used?

Group B:

Look at the sentences and choose the correct alternative:

  1. Due to/owing to + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  2. Due to/owing to the fact that + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  3. In order to + a verb // a clause
  4. So as to + a verb // a clause
  5. So that + a verb // a clause

Group C

  • What do “even so” and “nevertheless” have in common?

Look at the sentences and choose the correct alternative:

  1. In spite of/Despite + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)
  2. In spite of/Despite the fact that + a noun // a clause (subject + verb + object)

Group D

Look at the linkers in group D and match them to their meaning

  1. “it doesn’t matter if”
  2. “If we don’t”
  3. “If or not”

Practice

Complete the sentences with a linker from the previous exercise, more than one answer might be possible.

  1. They brought in extra seats …………. everyone could sit down.
  2. ………… you were the only man in the world, I still wouldn’t go out with you.
  3. They planted trees in the garden …………… attract more wildlife.
  4. His CV is impressive. ………….., I’m still not sure if he’s the right candidate.
  5. …………. all their hard work, they weren’t able to complete the project on time.
  6. I was unable to attend the meeting ……………. the heavy snowfall.
  7. Many people have chosen to move out of the city ……………….. house prices have fallen in the countryside.
  8. One benefit of city life is the superior health facilities. ……………….., there are many more job opportunities.
  9. It seems like a very tempting offer. ……………….., I feel I must reject it.
  10. ……………….. we run, we’re going to miss the last train.
  11. I’m still not sure ……………….. we made the right decision.
  12. He cancelled all his morning appointments ……………….. spend time with his family.

Creative Practice

Use linkers to upgrade these sentences for use in a C1 essay. You can also upgrade the language in the sentences.

  1. Shopping in shops is good, but shopping online is better.
  2. We should build more parks because they’re good for people.
  3. People got sad because the pandemic was bad.
  4. It doesn’t matter if you recycle, big companies are bad for the planet.
  5. There are too many cars, that’s why there’s lots of pollution.
  6. We should make drivers pay more to make them take the bus.
  7. Veganism is good but I don’t think I could do it.
  8. Books are good because they help you learn words and you imagine things.
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Proficiency

C2 Proficiency: Key Word Transformation Training #4

C2 Proficiency de Inglés (CPE) del Cambridge: Cómo Aprobarlo | TURBOLANGS

This is another worksheet designed to help introduce students to typical expressions that are tested in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout below:

Use this Quizizz game for spaced repetition:

https://quizizz.com/admin/quiz/616ed9e698bf27001fbb1265

Version 1

Discuss the meaning of the expressions in bold with your partner.

Write a synonym/definition on the line underneath.

  1. Don’t get your hopes up just yet, a lot of other people are interested in the flat.

…………get excited, feel hopeful ………………………………………………………………………………………

  1. Rumour has it that John is in line for promotion when Sally leaves at the end of the year.

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

  1. Please fill out this form in accordance with the rules set out on our website.

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

  1. The new restrictions will come into effect this evening at midnight.

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

  1. We booked a minibreak to Venice on the spur of the moment.

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

  1. Allowing a criminal to go free is the lesser of two evils compared to locking up an innocent person.

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

  1. My uncle is still struggling to get over being made redundant from his job.

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

  1. The government has come in for a lot of criticism for its handling of the pandemic.

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

  1. I had to take the whole laptop apart to find out what was wrong with it.

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

  1. There has been a sharp rise in homelessness in my neighbourhood.

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

  1. To the best of my knowledge, the last person to leave the building was Nigel.

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

  1. My boss kept me in the dark about the merger until the last minute.

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

  1. She’s intent on studying abroad next year and she’s going to pull out all the stops to make it happen.

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

  1. I struggled to keep pace with the amount of work my uni professors were giving me.

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

  1. I have to admit I was taken in by the salesman’s sob story and I bought one of his dodgy products.

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

  1. Out of the blue my company offered me a job in Australia and I jumped at the chance.

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

  1. He’s set his heart on being a singer-songwriter, he practices every waking minute.

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

  1. If what really happened here ever comes to light, you’re going to be in deep trouble.

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

Version 2

Discuss the meaning of the expressions in bold with your partner.

Write a synonym/definition on the line underneath.

  1. Don’t feel hopeful (GET) just yet, a lot of other people are interested in the flat.

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

  1. There are rumours that (IT) that John is going to get promoted (LINE) when Sally leaves at the end of the year.

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

  1. Please complete (FILL) this form following (ACCORDANCE) the rules set out on our website.

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

  1. The new restrictions will become law (EFFECT) this evening at midnight.

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

  1. We booked a short trip to Venice on a whim (SPUR).

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

  1. Allowing a criminal to go free is the better of two bad options (EVILS) compared to locking up an innocent person.

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

  1. My uncle is still struggling to recover from (GET) losing his job (MADE) from his job.

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

  1. The government has taken a lot of flack (COME) for its handling of the pandemic.

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

  1. I had to disassemble the whole laptop (TAKE) to find out what was wrong with it.

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

  1. There has been a sudden increase in (RISE) homelessness in my neighbourhood.

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

  1. As far as we know, (KNOWLEDGE) the last person to leave the building was Nigel.

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

  1. My boss didn’t tell me about (DARK) the merger until the last minute.

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

  1. She’s determined to study (INTENT) abroad next year and she’s going to make a big effort to (PULL) to make it happen.

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

  1. I struggled to keep up with (PACE) the amount of work my uni professors were giving me.

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

  1. I have to admit I was tricked (TAKEN) the salesman’s manipulative tale (STORY) and I bought one of his dodgy products.

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

  1. Suddenly and unexpectedly (BLUE) my company offered me a job in Australia and I accepted the opportunity immediately. (JUMPED)

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

  1. He’s determined to become (HEART) a singer-songwriter, he practices every waking minute.

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

  1. If what really happened here is ever revealed (LIGHT), you’re going to be in deep trouble.

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

Posted in Advanced C1, Exam Preparation Class

C1 Advanced: Key Word Transformation Training #4

2. Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Preparation

This is another worksheet designed to help introduce students to typical expressions that are tested in part 4 of the reading and use of English paper. Download the handout below:

Use this Quizizz game for space repetition of the expressions: https://quizizz.com/admin/quiz/616ed396bccf36001d65cf8e

Version 1

Read the sentences and guess the meaning of the underlined expression with your partner:

  1. As far as we can tell, the accident was caused by human error.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Could you keep an eye on my bag while I go to the toilet?

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The teacher turned a blind eye to the students who were whispering at the back of the class.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I need to brush up on my German before my trip to Berlin next month.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I’m on holiday next week but please keep me in the picture about how the project is going.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. She can’t have been pleased to see her ex-boyfriend sitting at the bar when she came in.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Steve hardly ever gets to work on time.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. I didn’t recognise the number that was calling me but it turned out to be my brother on his new phone.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. In accordance with his last will and testament, the majority of his fortune was donated to charity.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Never before have I seen such a beautiful display of dance.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. It took her a while to come to terms with the death of her parents.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. If it hadn’t been for Charlie, I would still be working in that dead-end job.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Investigators are trying to piece together what happened after they lost contact with the pilot of the plane.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The match has been called off due to unforeseen circumstances.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Contrary to popular opinion, not all Mexican food is spicy.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Since getting promoted, I’ve struggled to get to grips with my new responsibilities.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Can you give me a lift to the airport in the morning?

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. His love of jazz music dates back to his visit to New Orleans 20 years ago.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. We could meet at 9am Thursday morning, I hope that this suggestion meets with your approval.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. His son’s failure to get into a good college was a source of great disappointment to him.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. The president is widely expected to lose the upcoming election.

Meaning……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. In all likelihood, there will be job losses at the company due to a drop in sales.

Version 2

Try to recall the expressions using the key word in brackets to help you.

  1. Based on the evidence we have we think the accident was caused by human error. (TELL)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Could you watch my bag while I go to the toilet? (EYE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. The teacher pretended not to see the students who were whispering at the back of the class. (EYE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I need to refresh and revise my German before my trip to Berlin next month. (BRUSH)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I’m on holiday next week but please give me regular updates on how the project is going. (PICTURE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. She definitely wasn’t pleased to see her ex-boyfriend sitting at the bar when she came in. (HAVE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Steve is almost always late for work. (HARDLY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. I didn’t recognise the number that was calling me but in the end it was my brother on his new phone. (TURNED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Based on his last will and testament, the majority of his fortune was donated to charity. (ACCORDANCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. It was the first time I had seen such a beautiful display of dance. (NEVER)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. It took her a while to understand and accept the death of her parents. (TERMS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Without Charlie, I would still be working in that dead-end job. (BEEN)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Investigators are trying to deduce what happened after they lost contact with the pilot of the plane. (PIECE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. The match has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. (CALLED)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Despite what most people think, not all Mexican food is spicy. (CONTRARY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Since getting promoted, I’ve struggled to deal with/understand my new responsibilities. (GRIPS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Can you drive me to the airport in the morning? (LIFT)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. His love of jazz music started when he visited New Orleans 20 years ago. (DATES)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. We could meet at 9am Thursday morning, I hope that this suggestion is acceptable to you. (MEETS)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. His son’s failure to get into a good college was disappointing for him. (SOURCE)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. Most people expect the president to lose the upcoming election. (WIDELY)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  1. There will probably be job losses at the company due to a drop in sales. (LIKELIHOOD)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

B2+ Goat vs Bear – Exam Practice & Discussion

This is a lesson plan for B2+ students. It is based on a text from https://www.iflscience.com/ on the subject of wild animals. It will serve as good exam practice for students preparing to take Cambridge exams and should also be an engaging topic of conversation for teenagers and adults. Download the handouts and slides below:

Link to original article: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/badass-goat-killed-grizzly-bear-by-skewering-it-on-its-horns-necropsy-reveals/

Procedure

  1. Show students the second slide of the PowerPoint, encourage them to guess which animal would win.
  2. Show them the second and have them speculate about how a goat would beat a bear.
  3. Give out handout and have students read to confirm their speculations, check in open class.
  4. Have students complete the open cloze, they could work in pairs or individually and then check with their partner. Good practice for Cambridge exams use of English.
  5. Lead students through the vocabulary exercises.
  6. Discussion: Which animal could you beat in a fight? Show students the fourth slide and explain the statistics to them. Put students in groups and have them discuss which animals they think they could beat and how they would do it. 
  7. Lead a discussion on the best way to tackle certain large, dangerous animals. Have students speculate on the best thing to do in each encounter, then check on the internet to see whether or not they would have survived. Board any emergent language and exploit it for recall later.

Open Cloze Key

Apex predators make (1) IT to the top (2) BY being the most efficient hunters in their domain, but every now and (3) THEN an underdog crops up to disrupt the food chain. (4) SUCH an example played out on the mountains of Burgess Pass in Yoho National Park, where Parks Canada retrieved the body of a female grizzly bear. Such a creature would usually (5) BE  the slayer rather than the slain, and most surprisingly of all the assailant turned (6) OUT to be a goat.

The battle (7) TOOK place sometime before September 4 after which Parks Canada was made aware (8) OF the presence of a carcass. Bodies such (9) AS these need to be removed as they can otherwise lure in wildlife that could put visitors to the pass (10) AT risk.

The discovery of a slain bear merits a forensic investigation to determine the (11) CAUSE of death, and so a necropsy (12) WAS conducted on the animal. During the examination, staff noticed that the fatal wounds were at the base of the bear’s neck and in (13) ITS armpits. The attack sites might sound random to the uninitiated, but to experienced park rangers, this was the work (14) OF one extremely lucky mountain goat.

“When grizzly bears attack, they tend (15) TO focus (16) ON the head, neck, and shoulders of the prey, usually (17) FROM above,” Alison Biles, Public Relations and Communications Officer for Parks Canada, told IFLScience. “In turn, the defensive response of mountain goats would (18) BE  to protect themselves using (19) THEIR sharp horns.”

“Grizzly bear predation of mountain goats is relatively common and significant goat activity was observed (20) IN the immediate area. (21) IN this case, it appears that the mountain goat was (22) TRYING/ABLE to defend itself. While rare, other cases of mountain goats defensively killing bears have (23) BEEN reported in the past, (24) WHICH is not completely surprising since mountain goats are strong animals that are well-equipped to defend (25) THEMSELVES” 

Adapted from: https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/badass-goat-killed-grizzly-bear-by-skewering-it-on-its-horns-necropsy-reveals/ 

Find words or phrases in the text to match these definitions:

  1. Animals at the top of the local food chain. – APEX PREDATORS
  2. Someone in a game or fight who has little chance of winning. – AN UNDERDOG
  3. A killer. – SLAYER – assailant – an attacker
  4. The dead body of an animal. – CARCASS
  5. Attract. – LURE IN
  6. Where your arm meets your chest. – ARMPITS
  7. People without experience. – THE UNINITIATED 
  8. A person who patrols and maintains a national park. – PARK RANGER
  9. To have the tools to do something. – BE WELL-EQUIPPED

Complete the collocations from the text:

  1. MAKE it to the top
  2. Every NOW and then
  3. Such AN example
  4. The assailant TURNED out to be a goat
  5. The battle took PLACE sometime before September 4
  6. Parks Canada was MADE aware of the presence of a carcass.
  7. Put visitors at RISK
  8. An investigation to determine the cause of DEATH

Complete the sentences with one of the collocations:

  1. The police still aren’t sure of the CAUSE OF DEATH
  2. I don’t go out often but EVERY NOW AND THEN I like to meet up with friends and let my hair down.
  3. His carelessness PUT everyone on board the ship AT RISK, it can’t happen again.
  4. I have been MADE AWARE OF some complaints that customers have made and I would like to address them.
  5. The match will TAKE PLACE tonight at the usual address.
  6. To MAKE IT TO THE TOP in this industry you have to work very hard and get lucky.
  7. We thought it was a shark under the boat but TURNED OUT TO BE a piece of rubbish.
Posted in Advanced C1, B2 First, Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Where do you stand? Summer Edition

Is SUMMER about to truly start? - The Church Irish Bar Albir

This is a special summer edition of my “Where do you stand?” conversation series. Students decide to what extent they agree with different statements on the topic of summer activities and holidays and then share their views with their classmates. Download the PowerPoint and student handout below:

The PowerPoint has some quite advanced language for discussion on it. You may want to use this phrase sheet, designed with B2 students in mind, for lower levels.

Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class

CAE Speaking Part 3: Lesson Plan

Image result for CAE exam

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

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/

Here’s a lesson plan I designed with the help of my friend and (ex-) colleague (sniff) Raquel Gomez. It’s based around our attempt to complete a CAE part 3 task. Download the lesson plan pack and audio below:

Lesson Plan and Audio

Students’ Handout

The task

You are going to hear two people completing the part 3 task below:

task part 3

They must first discuss the question in the middle for two minutes. Then they have one more minute to decide which job should receive the highest salary.

First Listen

Cover the transcript below, listen to the audio and answer the following questions:

  1. Which jobs do they talk about?
  2. What different reasons do they give for why the jobs appeal to people?
  3. Which job do they decide deserves the highest salary?

Second Listen

Listen again, this time listen for different phrases and expressions for giving opinion and agreeing and disagreeing.

Third Listen

Now listen again with the transcript and try to fill the blanks.

  • Tim: Errr so _____________?
  • Raquel: Sure
  • Tim: Let’s start with surgeon. Ummm, well __________, I think being a surgeon appeals to people probably because, __________, you’re helping people, you might be saving peoples’ lives and you’re making a big contribution to society
  • Raquel: _________, yeah, ______________ but, _______________? I think that at least in our society teachers should be given more.. they should be empowered maybe more than surgeons because they really can make a change in peoples’ lives.
  • Tim: Yeah I think _____________. They’re definitely very important and I could see why people would want to be a teacher, because of the way they can, you know, help people and educate people.
  • Raquel: Yeah, __________________ both professions here, I think that they are very vocational, like being a surgeon or being a teacher.
  • Tim: _________, yeah, yeah, ______________. Ummm what about the other ones over here? Let’s ___________ a football player, what’s ____________ that?
  • Raquel: Buff I’m not really sure, I don’t think that they have to… How can I put this? Umm, I don’t really like football and I think they just, they’re earning far too much and I don’t buy the idea of like their career is too short.
  • Tim: _____________, surely it’s good to do a job that’s something you love, surely if you’re a big fan of football then if you’re spending all day every day doing, you know, your favourite activity that must be good no?
  • Raquel: Yeah, _______________ and that was my idea when I was talking about vocational jobs before. But still, I think it’s a bit too much, the gap between the payment is just crazy.
  • Tim: Yeah __________. Well so we’ve got to… the ___________ is…
  • Raquel: The ____________ is we have to choose one so…
  • Tim: Yeah, which one should receive the most… the highest salary? Well I’m _________ maybe a surgeon and a teacher, _________________?
  • Raquel: Well it’s true that _____________ the surgeon might save the actual physical life whereas the teacher might just contribute to our long life _______ ummm enrichment or, you know, making people grow so maybe it’s more like long-lasting.
  • Tim: Well ______________ what you were saying about, yeah the contribution to society I think they’re both very important.
  • Raquel: Yes, it’s really difficult to choose between these too.
  • Tim: But maybe you know without the teachers, you wouldn’t have the surgeons…
  • Raquel: ___________
  • Tim: Who’s going to teach the surgeons? So, _____________ teacher?
  • Raquel: Ok, alright.
  • Tim: Ok, perfect.

The Expressions

Check your answers and then put the different expressions below into the boxes based on their meaning.

1.       As I see it,

2.       Shall I start?

3.       What’s your take on that?

4.       You know

5.       How can I put this?

6.       What do you reckon?

7.       Yeah I’d go along with that.

8.       Coming back to what you were saying about…

9.       I’m torn between… and…

10.    At the end of the day…

11.    Sort of/kind of

12.    I take your point but…

13.    Shall we go with…?

14.    Exactly/definitely

15.    It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

16.    You’ve got a point there

 

Starting Giving Opinion Agreeing Disagreeing
 

 

 

 

 

 

     
Asking opinion Adding + Referring Fillers/time-buyers Reaching a conclusion
 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Work with a partner; try to add at least one more expression to each box.

Pronunciation

Look at the expressions below, listen to the expressions and try to take notes about how they’re pronounced. Then try to reproduce them with a partner.

  1. Shall I start?
  2. What do you reckon?
  3. How can I put this?
  4. As I see it,
  5. Yeah, I’d go along with that.
  6. It’s sort of, like a pizza but different.
  7. Shall we go with teacher?
  8. Coming back to what you were saying about teachers…

Scripted Role-play

Decide who is going to be Tim and who is going to be Raquel. Use the transcript on the previous page to recreate the conversation, play close attention to the pronunciation of the expressions.

Your Turn

Find an example of a part 3 task in your textbook and complete it with your partner. See who can use the most expressions, keep count while your completing the task, the winner is the one who uses the most.

 

 

Teacher’s Notes

First Listen

Cover the transcript below, listen to the audio and answer the following questions:

  1. Which jobs do they talk about? Teacher, surgeon and football player
  2. What different reasons do they give for why the jobs appeal to people? Help people, contribute to society, a vocation, doing something you love
  3. Which job do they decide deserves the highest salary? A teacher

Complete Transcript

  • Tim: Errr so shall I start?
  • Raquel: Sure
  • Tim: Let’s start with surgeon. Ummm, well as I see it, I think being a surgeon appeals to people probably because, you know, you’re helping people, you might be saving peoples’ lives and you’re making a big contribution to society
  • Raquel: Absolutely, yeah, you’ve got a point there but, how can I put this? I think that at least in our society teachers should be given more.. they should be empowered maybe more than surgeons because they really can make a change in people’s lives.
  • Tim: Yeah I think I’d go along with that. They’re definitely very important and I could see why people would want to be a teacher, because of the way they can, you know, help people and educate people.
  • Raquel: Yeah, it’s also worth bearing in mind that both professions here I think that they are very vocational, like being a surgeon or being a teacher.
  • Tim: Exactly, yeah, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Ummm what about the other ones over here? Let’s move on to a football player, what’s your take on that?
  • Raquel: Buff I’m not really sure, I don’t think that they have to… How can I put this? Umm, I don’t really like football and I think they just, they’re earning far too much and I don’t buy the idea of like their career is too short.
  • Tim: I take your point but, surely it’s good to do a job that’s something you love, surely if you’re a big fan of football then if you’re spending all day every day doing, you know, your favourite activity that must be good no?
  • Raquel: Yeah, you’ve got a point there and that was my idea when I was talking about vocational jobs before. But still, I think it’s a bit too much, the gap between the payment is just crazy.
  • Tim: Yeah definitely. Well so we’ve got to… the bottom line is…
  • Raquel: The bottom line is we have to choose one so…
  • Tim: Yeah, which one should receive the most… the highest salary? Well I’m torn between maybe a surgeon and a teacher, what do you reckon?
  • Raquel: Well it’s true that at the end of the day the surgeon might save the actual physical life whereas the teacher might just contribute to our long life sort of ummm enrichment or, you know, making people grow so maybe it’s more like long-lasting.
  • Tim: Well coming back to what you were saying about, yeah the contribution to society I think they’re both very important.
  • Raquel: Yes, it’s really difficult to choose between these too.
  • Tim: But maybe you know without the teachers, you wouldn’t have the surgeons
  • Raquel:
  • Tim: Who’s going to teach the surgeons? So, shall we go with teacher?
  • Raquel: Ok, alright.
  • Tim: Ok, perfect.

The Expressions

Starting Giving Opinion Agreeing Disagreeing
Shall I start?

 

 

 

As I see it, Yeah I’d go along with that.

Exactly/definitely

You’ve got a point there

I take your point but…
Asking opinion Adding + Referring Fillers/time-buyers Reaching a conclusion
What’s your take on that?

What do you reckon?

 

Coming back to what you were saying about…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

You know

How can I put this?

Sort of/kind of

I’m torn between… and…

At the end of the day…

Shall we go with…?

 

Pronunciation Notes

  1. Shall I start? – Focus on very weak “Shall” | ʃəl ˈaɪ stɑːt |
  2. What do you reckon? – Waddaya recken | ˈwɒdə jə ˈrekən |
  3. How can I put this? – weak “can” focus on intonation
  4. As I see it – intonation, stress “I”
  5. Yeah, I’d go along with that. – Elision/disappearance of “d” in I’d go, very weak “with” connecting with “that” | wɪðæt |
  6. It’s sort of, like a pizza but different. – “sorta-likea” | sɔːtə ˈlaɪkə|
  7. Shall we go with teacher? – weak “shall” connected with “we” | ʃəwi ɡəʊ |
  8. Coming back to what you were saying about teachers… – weak “were” in “what you were saying” all connected – | ˈwɒtjuwə ˈseɪɪŋ |
Posted in Conversation Classes, Reading Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Video Classes

Kicking the Habit: TED Talk, Reading and Discussion

 

Image credit: ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

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

TED Bad habits sts copy – Students handout

TED bad habits teachers notes

Common Bad Habits – Reading Text

TED  – Breaking Bad Habits – Teacher’s Notes

Step 1: Expressions with habit

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

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

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

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

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

Kick the habit = give up/quit a bad habit

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

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

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

Step 2: Brainstorm bad habits on the board

Step 3: Reading

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

Step 4: TED Talk

Students watch the TED talk and answer the following questions:

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

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

After watching students discuss:

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

Step 5: Vocab Focus – Meaning from Context

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

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

Mind wanders/drift off into a daydream = get distracted

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

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

Nerd = unpopular, studious person

Dork = unpopular, studious person, more pejorative than nerd

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

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

Break a spell = end magic/enchantment

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

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

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

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

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

Bite-size pieces = small easy to manage pieces

Get clobbered = to be beaten/hit severly

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

Step 6: Sentence Completion

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

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

Step 7: Discussion

Students answer questions in pairs.

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

Students’ Handout

Expressions with habit

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

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

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

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

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

TED Talk

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

Discussion

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

Vocabulary Focus

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

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

 

Sentence Completion

Complete the sentences with the expressions above.

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

Discussion

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

Reading Text

Common Bad Habits

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

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

Stress-Eating

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

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

Sitting Around

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

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

Not Getting Enough Sleep

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

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

Over-Grooming

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

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

Smoking

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

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

Skipping Breakfast

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

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

Overspending

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

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

Listening to Loud Music

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

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

Phone Addiction

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

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

Link to original article:

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