Posted in Listening Classes

Off Menu Podcast: Listening – Sindhu Vee

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Image credit: https://play.acast.com/s/offmenu/

This is a lesson plan for B2+ students based around a clip from the brilliant Off Menu Podcast presented by Ed Gamble and James Acaster. The idea is to use the listening exercise as a way to encourage students to listen to podcasts for pleasure outside class. Download the student handout and answer key below:

Off Menu Podcast

The Off Menu Podcast is hosted by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster. Every week a different guest comes onto the show and talks about their ultimate dream meal. The meal must include a starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. There are no limits to what each dish could be, some guests have chosen things as varied as McDonald’s fries and Pizza Hut pizza or their mum’s Christmas dinner or a traditional Indian curry.

This week’s guest is the Indian comedian Sindhu Vee. Sindhu was born in India and has also lived in the Philippines; she now lives in London with her Danish husband.

Predict with your partner: You’re going to listen to the part where Sindhu chooses her dream main course. What do you think she chooses?

Link to the episode. Timing: 29:49-32:50

Listen for Gist

First listen: What was the dish?

Listen for Detail

2nd listen:

  1. Where did she try the dish?
  2. Who made the dish?
  3. How did the different members of her family react to the chef’s driving?
  4. What surprised her about Sicilian food?
  5. What was her husband’s reaction to the dish?
  6. What really impressed her about the dish?

Language focus

Look at the expressions Sindhu uses, what do you think they mean?

“Maniacal driving”

“I had to keep face”

“Not cognisant of the world around him.”

“You have a fight and flight response.”

“You’re gonna fight through to the taste.”

Follow up

Listen to the rest of the episode for homework, what does Sindhu choose for the other parts of her dream menu?

Answer Key

Listen for Gist

First listen: What was the dish? Pasta arrabbiata with angel hair pasta

Listen for Detail

2nd listen:

  1. Where did she try the dish? Near Florence
  2. Who made the dish? Mr Mancini the boss of the hotel
  3. How did the different members of her family react to the chef’s driving? She was fine, her husband was scared, her kids loved it
  4. What surprised her about Sicilian food? How spicy it was
  5. What was her husband’s reaction to the dish? He went blind
  6. What really impressed her about the dish? How it maintained its flavour despite being so spicy

Language focus

Look at the expressions Sindhu uses, what do you think they mean?

“Maniacal driving” – driving like a crazy person

“I had to keep face” – to maintain one’s reputation

“Not cognisant of the world around him.” – Not aware/unconscious

“You have a fight and flight response.” – Instinctive reaction, stand and fight or run away

“You’re gonna fight through to the taste.” – Battle against the spiciness to the flavour

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 3 – Food – Listening Activity

 

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Image credit: Mark Wilding

Anna Balquin, one of the listeners to our podcast made this fantastic listening activity based around a section of episode 3 about food. The extract you’ll need is 10.57 – 15.09, download the student handout and answer key below:

2Ts in a Pod Food listening

Student Handout

Pre-listening

1. Discuss these questions with your partner:
• What’s your favourite comfort food?
• What do you think a ‘supper club’ is?
• What do you know about food from the USA? What are some traditional American dishes?

2. First listen

We’re going to listen to Nicole talk about her supper club. What kind of food does she serve?

3. Second listen: listen again and answer the following questions.

1. How long has Nicole been living in Barcelona?
2. What did Nicole serve with the brisket?
3. Do the supper club guests usually know each other?
4. Where did gumbo come from?
5. Which cultures does the dish gumbo mix?
6. What’s the first thing you do when making gumbo?
7. What is the holy trinity?
8. What were the main ingredients of the gumbo that Nicole made?
9. How does Katy express that she likes the sound of Nicole’s gumbo?

4. Look at this quote from the audio and discuss its meaning with your partner.

“I love to gather people around the table that are from different walks of life”

Answer key:

2. First listen

We’re going to listen to Nicole talk about her supper club. What kind of food does she serve? Southern US soul food

3. Second listen: listen again and answer the following questions.

1. How long has Nicole been living in Barcelona? over a decade
2. What did Nicole serve with the brisket? collard greens, sweet potato mash, green beans, crispy shallots
3. Do the supper club guests usually know each other? no
4. Where did gumbo come from? Louisiana New Orleans
5. Which cultures does the dish gumbo mix? West African with French
6. What’s the first thing you do when making gumbo? Make a roux (butter, flour)
7. What is the holy trinity? Onion, celery, bell peppers
8. What were the main ingredients of the gumbo that Nicole made? prawn chicken sausage and bacon
9. How does Katy express that she likes the sound of Nicole’s gumbo? “Oh my gosh, my mouth is watering!”

 

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Lesson Plan – Pet Hates

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This is a guest post by Katy Wright, the co-host of 2Ts in a Pod. It’s a listening activity based around a clip from episode 5: Pet Hates. Download all the materials below:

Teacher’s Notes

Warm-up

  1. Tell students they are going to listen to two people, Tim and Katy, talking about their pet hates. Check their understanding of pet hate [a common, everyday thing that can be really annoying]
  2. Ask student to predict in groups about what could annoy Tim?
  3. Listen to the extract and check their predictions
  4. Ask students if they also find these things annoying.
  5. Ask students to make a list of 3 of their biggest pet hates and share them with their partner

Listening in detail

  1. Tell students they are going to listen to the extract again. This time they write down expressions they hear related to being annoyed or irritated
  2. You may want to play the extract again is students are struggling
  3. Students compare the expressions they have written.
  4. Give the students the transcript of the extract. Ask them to underline the pragmatic language related to annoyance. Did they find them all?
  5. Check understanding of the expressions in open class. Point out the stressed words of these expressions
  6. Ask students to repeat the expressions with their partner to practice pronunciation and stress

Speaking

  1. Go back to the list of 3 pet hates they discussed earlier in the lesson. Ask students to talk about them again but this time using the expressions from the extract
  2. Monitor and give feedback on emergent language

Additional Idea

  • Students can practice the conversation a few times with a partner and then record their conversation “podcast” style. This could then be shared among the other members of the group on WhatsApp or a wiki if they feel comfortable to do so.

Transcript

1:43 – 3:00 minutes

Katy: [00:00:00] But first Tim, what really annoys you? What really drives you up the wall?

Tim: [00:00:05] What drives me up the wall. I would say, in general, inconsiderate people really get on my nerves. So, especially in public places like on public transport, for example. Here in Barcelona, it’s really common. So, say you’re on the Metro, okay, and you’re coming up to a stop and it pulls, the Metro pulls into the station and stops the doors open and people try to get on the Metro before you’ve got off. Yeah it really, really drives me insane.

Katy: [00:00:42] So annoying.

Tim: [00:00:43] If you just let us off everything would be so much easier. Yeah. It really really really really gets on my nerves. Also another thing on the metro I think it’s quite common, um, that really annoys me is people listening to music without headphones on their mobiles.

Katy: [00:01:02] That annoys me if people are walking down the street. I don’t know. Just turn it down, put headphones in. Or turn it down.

Tim: [00:01:11] Yeah. No one wants to listen to that.

Katy: [00:01:12] No one cares.

Tim: [00:01:14] So that, that’s what really really really annoys me. Yeah, It drives me up the wall.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Lesson Plan – Coincidences

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This is a listening activity for B1+ students based around an extract from episode 11 of our podcast on the topic of Small World Stories and Coincidences. Download all the materials below:

Lead-in

Use the first slide on the PowerPoint to introduce the topic and have students predict what kind of coincidences two identical twins separated at birth could have experienced.

1st Listen

Students listen and try to write down all the coincidences they hear then compare in partners and listen again if necessary. Task check using PowerPoint slide:

  • Both called James
  • Both grew up to be police officers
  • Both marry a Linda
  • Both had sons called James Alan/Allan
  • Both had a dog called Toy
  • Both remarried women called Betty

2nd Listen

Students listen again and write down expressions for expressing surprise:

  • What???
  • Seriously??
  • No way!
  • You’re shitting me!
  • That’s mental!
  • How bizarre!

3rd Listen: Decoding

Students listen to the first section again and fill in the gaps with elements of connected speech:

Key:

I’ve got some coincidence stories that have happened in the world. This one’s a good one. Right. So, as I mentioned I studied psychology at University so I’d, I’d heard about these guys. This is an article that I found on boredpanda.com. And it’s called “10+ crazy coincidences that are hard to believe actually happened”. So here’s the thing. There’s two twins who were separated at birth.

Speaking

Students think of a surprising story or event from their own lives and write down 6 key words needed to tell the story. They then tell the story to their partner who reacts using the expressions. Teacher gives feedback/error correction, then they swap partners and repeat the exercise having taken the feedback on board.

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Episode 9 – Travel Tales

 

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Image credit: Mark Wilding

Follow us on twitter @RobbioDobbio + @2tspod

There’s still time to donate to Mental Health Friendly to help them set up classes for people suffering and recovering from mental health problems:

https://gogetfunding.com/shay-educational-consultant/

Episode 9 of the podcast is all about travelling, do you like to travel light? Have you got the travel bug? We spoke to two people who definitely have, Jon and Ania from hitchhikershandbook.com; they came on the show to tell us about their various adventures. We also spoke to people about their weird and wonderful travel experiences as well as our vocabulary section “5 Ways to Say.” Below you’ll find the timings of the episode in case you want to skip ahead or use specific parts in class:

Timings:

Tim and Katy travel stories – 0 -13.30
Main Interview – John and Ania – 13.30 – 30.00
5 Ways to say – travel vocab – 30.10 – 35.00
Vox pops – Shay – 35.20 – 40.30
Outro – 40.35 – End

Enjoy! We appreciate any comments or feedback, let us know in the comments here or on Twitter or Facebook.

Check out Jon and Ania’s blog below:

http://hitchhikershandbook.com/

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2 Ts in a Pod: Episode 3 – Food Glorious Food! Teacher’s notes

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Image credit: Mark Wilding

Follow us on twitter @RobbioDobbio + @2tspod

Sorry for the delay but the teacher’s notes for episode 3 are now ready! Click the link below to download them:

Teacher’s notes Ep3 Food

We talked about food, glorious food! We interviewed Nicole Hooks and Abbi Nelliug about US Southern soul food and traditional Dominican food respectively. Nicole speaks about her southern food pop-up supper club Sarah Juliette’s Southern Kitchen. Click the link below to find out more, she’s got events coming up in the next few weeks. Also, check out the recipe for the delicious gumbo that we taste on the show.

https://www.facebook.com/SarahJuliettesSouthernKitchen/ – Check out Nicole’s page
https://goo.gl/EGJ1U7 – Gumbo recipe

 

Posted in 2Ts in a Pod: Podcast, Listening Classes

2Ts in a Pod: Podcast Launch!

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Image Credit: Mark Wilding

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

The first two episodes of our brand-spanking new podcast are ready!

Listen from our Sound Cloud page:
https://soundcloud.com/user-333804100

And download the teacher’s notes:
Episode one: https://goo.gl/HxF1fS
Episode two: https://goo.gl/VAPG6Z

The show will be released every two weeks more or less. It is aimed at B2 level students and up, although we do have plans to make specific features for lower levels in the future.

For each episode we choose a different theme; the show is then divided into short features so that they can be listened to as one whole show or as more manageable chunks. We also believe this will make it a useful classroom resources for teachers.

The typical features you might find are:
• Interviews with special guests.
• Vox-pops: Short interviews with people out and about.
• Five ways to say: A feature designed to help boost listeners vocabulary related to the topic of the episode.
• Challenges or experiences: These will include Katy and Tim trying new foods, drinks and activities.
• Pronunciation focus: Here we’ll examine features of English pronunciation such as connected speech and intonation.
• Stop! Grammar time: An irreverent look at specific English grammar points.
• And many many more as we think of them!

This is our first podcast so we’re open to any and all constructive cricitism and feedback! We hope you enjoy the show!

Download our mission statement below:

https://docs.google.com/…/1pQIjE4RLNENGF2QV8EM6OknruZ…/edit…

Love from Katy, Tim and Ben

xxx

Credits

  • Producer & General Sound Wizard: Ben Ward
  • Presenters: Katy Wright & Tim Warre
  • Logos & Artwork: Mark Wilding
  • Jingles: Members of the Barcelona English Choir

Here’s the teacher’s notes for the first episode:

Running Order

  1. 00:00 – 04:25 – Intro.
  2. 04:25 – 08:46 – Guess the top 10 New Year’s resolutions & discussion.
  3. 08:46 – 10:46 – Vox pop: Vicky on New Year’s resolutions.
  4. 10:46 – 16:36 – Tim & Katy discuss their New Year’s resolutions.
  5. 16:36 – 20:58 – 5 Ways to Say: Language of quitting, reducing and addiction.
  6. 20:58 – 24:09 – I wanna be like you who who – Interview with Ania.
  7. 24:09 – 28:00 – Vox pop: Ania on New Year’s resolutions.
  8. 28:00 – END – Interview with Sergi the lifestyle coach.

Additional Materials

New Year’s Resolution Lesson Plan

The information and top 10 that Tim reads can be found in the lesson plan below:

Jugo de la Vida – Sergi’s website

Click the link below to check out Sergi the lifestyle coach’s website:

Five Ways to Say…

  • I want to give up/quit – Stop doing an activity.
  • I’m trying to cut down on – Reduce the quantity I consume.
  • I have cut out fruit juice completely. – To eliminate one thing from your diet.
  • I’m hooked on – To be addicted to something.
  • When my mum was pregnant, she got cravings for – to have a strong need or desire for something, usually related to addictions.

 

Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution?
  • How successful was it?
  • What do you think of the idea of New Year’s resolutions in general?
  • Have you ever tried to give up a bad habit?
  • How successful were you?
  • What tips or advice would you give to someone trying to do the same?
  • What things do you think you need to cut down on?
  • Are you hooked on anything at the moment?
  • Do you ever get cravings for anything? If so, what?
Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans

TED Talk, Paul Root Wolpe: Bio-engineering

Image credit: www.ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a new TED talk lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) on the subject of bio-engineering and cloning. Thanks to my colleague Cliff Grossman for recommending this fascinating talk. You can download the materials below:

TED Bio-engineering – Student handout

TED Bio-engineering TEACHER NOTES

Procedure

You can either give students the handout and have them watch the talk and answer the comprehension questions for homework, or do it in class.

Then depending on class size students can ask and answer the discussion questions in small groups or in open class. The topic also lends itself well to debates on GM food, cloning and bioengineering.

Student Handout

Comprehension Questions

  1. What have been the three great stages of evolution?
  2. What are some of the animal hybrids he presents?
  3. What have scientists done with bioluminescent cells from jellyfish?
  4. What does he say about the differences in regulations on genetic modifications between the US and Europe?
  5. Name a few of the animals that have been successfully cloned.
  6. What have scientists managed to do with cockroaches and goliath beetles?
  7. What was so special about the monkey with the prosthetic arm?
  8. What was grown on a mouse’s back?
  9. What is Paul’s view on bio-engineering?
  10. What changes does he predict in the future?

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Did you like his presenting style?
  3. What’s your opinion in the different experiments?
  4. Which ones do you find interesting?
  5. Which ones do you think go too far?
  6. What uses can you see for the different bio-engineered animals?
  7. How far do you think we should go?
  8. Should we clone humans?
  9. What problems do you foresee if we were to start cloning humans?
  10. Who should decide the limits of where science can go?
  11. Should people be able to design their own pets/children/bodies?

Language

Look at the language in bold. What do you think it means?

  1. By changing our environment, we put new pressures on our bodies to evolve. Whether it was through settling down in agricultural communities…
  2. So I want to take you through a kind of whirlwind tour of that
  3. Someday, perhaps pretty soon, you will have beefalo patties in your local supermarket.
  4. Dogs are the result of selectively breeding traits that we like.
  5. The scientists that made this cute little creature ended up slaughtering it and eating it afterwards.
  6. We had to do it the hard way in the old days by choosing offspring that looked a particular way and then breeding them.
  7. What are the ethical guidelines that we will use then?

Key

Comprehension Questions

    1. What have been the three great stages of evolution? 1st: Darwinian evolution 2nd: humans changing their environment by forming civilisation 3rd: Evolution by design (bio-engineering)
    2. What are some of the animal hybrids he presents? Liger, geep, zorse, beefalo, cama,
  • What have scientists done with bioluminescent cells from jellyfish? Made animals that glow in the dark

 

  1. What does he say about the differences in regulations on genetic modifications between the US and Europe? Regulations are much stricter in Europe
  2. Name a few of the animals that have been successfully cloned. Sheep, pigs, rats, cats, dogs, horses, wolves, cows.
  3. What have scientists managed to do with cockroaches and goliath beetles? Made them remoted-controlled
  4. What was so special about the monkey with the prosthetic arm? It learned to move its new prosthetic arm using just its brain signals meaning that it effectively has three independent arms.
  5. What was grown on a mouse’s back? A human ear
  6. What is Paul’s view on bio-engineering? He is worried about its implications and thinks we have to be very careful.
  7. What changes does he predict in the future? Human cloning and designer pets or even babies.

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Did you like his presenting style?
  3. What’s your opinion in the different experiments?
  4. Which ones do you find interesting?
  5. Which ones do you think go too far?
  6. What uses can you see for the different bio-engineered animals?
  7. How far do you think we should go?
  8. Should we clone humans?
  9. What problems do you foresee if we were to start cloning humans?
  10. Who should decide the limits of where science can go?
  11. Should people be able to design their own pets/children/bodies?

Language

Look at the language in bold. What do you think it means?

  1. By changing our environment, we put new pressures on our bodies to evolve. Whether it was through settling down in agricultural communities… (to stop travelling and stay in one place to live)
  2. So I want to take you through a kind of whirlwind tour of that (a very quick tour seeing the most important places)
  3. Someday, perhaps pretty soon, you will have beefalo patties in your local supermarket. (hamburgers)
  4. Dogs are the result of selectively breeding traits that we like. (characteristics)
  5. The scientists that made this cute little creature ended up slaughtering it and eating it afterwards. (kill an animal for food)
  6. We had to do it the hard way in the old days by choosing offspring that looked a particular way and then breeding them. (biological term for children)
  7. What are the ethical guidelines that we will use then? (moral rules)
Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes, TED Talk Lesson Plans, Video Classes

TED – Daniel Levitin: How to stay calm when you know you’ll be stressed

Image credit: http://www.ted.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a new TED talk lesson plan for C1+ students. You can either set the TED talk with the comprehension questions as homework or watch the talk in class as it’s only 12 minutes long. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

TED Daniel Levitin Stress sts handout

TED Daniel Levitin Stress Teacher notes

Student Handout

Language Focus

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

  1. I had just driven home,it was around midnight in the dead of Montreal winter.
  2. As I stood on the front porch fumbling in my pockets,I found I didn’t have my keys.
  3. It releases cortisol that raises your heart rate,it modulates adrenaline levels and it clouds your thinking.
  4. Now you might be thinkingI’ve pulled this number out of the air for shock value.
  5. So the idea of the pre-mortem is to think ahead of timeto the questions that you might be able to ask that will push the conversation forward. You don’t want to have to manufacture all of this on the spot.
  6. You might change your mind in the heat of the moment,but at least you’re practiced with this kind of thinking.
  7. So I’m not completely organized,but I see organization as a gradual process, and I’m getting there.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What happens in the anecdote Daniel tells at the start of the talk?
  2. What were the consequences of Daniels clouded thinking?
  3. What is the solution he comes up with?
  4. What are the two practical tips he gives for common problems?
  5. What are the two questions he recommends asking to a doctor before they prescribe you a drug?
  6. What was the historical advantage to the brain releasing cortisol in stressful situations?

Discussion Questions

  1. What did you think of the talk?
  2. Have you ever been in a similar situation to the one Daniel describes in his anecdote? What did you do?
  3. Have you ever forgotten a passport or boarding card when flying somewhere? What did you do?
  4. Are you an absent-minded person? What things do you lose/misplace? Where do you keep your keys/mobile/wallet at home?
  5. In what situations is it good idea to predict the possible problems that could occur?
  6. Are you good at making decisions under pressure?
  7. What do you think of what he says about the medical industry?
  8. Would you trade quality of life for a longer life?

Pre-mortem

What things could possibly go wrong in these situations, and how could you prepare for the problems?

A job interview Travelling by plane An important exam A first date
A wedding The first day at a new job A surprise party Climbing a mountain

Teacher’s notes

Language Focus

  1. In the dead of winter/night = in the middle of
  2. Fumble = to feel/do something clumsily/inefficiently
  3. Clouds your thinking = confuses/affects your thinking in a bad way
  4. Pull a number out of the air = invent a number in the moment of speaking
  5. For shock value = in order to cause shock
  6. On the spot = in the moment of speaking, also “to put someone on the spot” = force someone to answer a difficult question without preparation.
  7. In the heat of the moment = do something while stressed/angry/excited
  8. I’m getting there = I’m making progress

Comprehension questions

  1. He forgets his keys so has to smash the basement window to get into his house.
  2. He forgets his passport the next morning when he goes to the airport.
  3. To perform a “pre-mortem” evaluation of possible problems that could occur.
  4. Designate a place for commonly lost things: keys, wallet etc. Take a photo of things you might lose while travelling: credit card, passport, keys and save it to the cloud to make it easier to get them back.
  5. What is the number needed to treat? What are the side-effects?
  6. When faced with a predator it helped us to escape.
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