Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Politics: Idioms and Discussion

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This is a lesson plan for adult higher-level students (high B2+) in which students learn some political idioms and put them into practice in a discussion. Download the hand out and key below:

Politics student handout

Note: I found most of the political idioms on the site below, but designed the matching task, sentence matching activity and discussion myself:

http://www.learnenglish.de/vocabulary/electionidioms.html

Politics – Idioms and Discussion

Match the idioms to their definitions:

the hand-out has pretty pictures but they didn’t come out here 😦

1.       A two/three/four-horse race 2.       A political football 3.       Hot air
4.       Toe the party line

 

5.       A political hot potato 6.       A hung parliament
7.       Press the flesh

 

8.       Get on/off your soapbox 9.       Throw in the towel
10.   Bent/crooked 11.   Live/be in an ivory tower

 

12.   Have the common touch

 

a.       Be corrupt

b.      When there’s no clear winner in an election

c.       Empty words

d.      To speak passionately about something you believe in

e.      A problem that doesn’t get solved because of political reasons

f.        To give up

g.       A competition/election only a few people can win

h.      To shake hands with the public

i.         To be able to relate to the public

j.        To be detached from reality

k.       A potentially controversial  topic

l.         Conform to and express the same views as the leaders of your party.

 

Put the expressions in the sentences:

  1. After the speeches the politicians went into the crowd to __________________ with members of the public.
  2. What the chancellor said about trickle-down economics is a load of ________________, I don’t believe it for a second.
  3. The problem with most politicians is that they __________________________ and have no idea how their policies affect people.
  4. I reckon half the politicians in this country are _____________________, you just have to follow the money.
  5. The opposition have decided to __________________________ and accept that they lost the election.
  6. Normally, if a cabinet minister doesn’t ________________________ they’ll soon be out of a job.
  7. Early polls suggest the result will be a _____________________ with no clear winner.
  8. It looks like the election will be a ___________________ between Labour and the Conservatives.
  9. Prison reform has been a ______________________ for years because prisoners don’t vote!
  10. The subject of MPs’ expenses is a ______________________, nobody wants to touch it but I’m sure it’s going to blow up soon.
  11. The new leader of the Liberals _______________________, you can see it in the way he talks to his constituents.
  12. ______________________ Tony, you’re always banging on about conspiracy theories but we’ve heard it all before.

Discussion

  1. How much of a politician’s time should they spend on local issues relevant to their constituency?
  2. How much of a politician’s time should they spend on national issues?
  3. Should all politicians have to toe the party line? When should they be allowed to speak out against their leader/policy in their party?
  4. If a politician doesn’t toe the party line, what should the leader do?
  5. Which politicians are always spouting hot air? Can you trust anything a politician says? Are there any politicians in your country that you believe in?
  6. Who should get the first opportunity to form a government in a hung parliament, the party that got the most votes? Or the party most likely to be able to form a stable coalition?
  7. What have been the biggest political hot potatoes in your country in the last few years?
  8. Are there any issues that are treated like political footballs in your country?
  9. What do you think when you see a politician pressing the flesh? Why do you think they do it? Have you ever pressed the flesh with a politician?
  10. What do you get on your soap box about?
  11. Which politicians in your country have the common touch? And which don’t?
  12. Are elections in your country normally a two-horse race?
  13. If you could change one thing about the political system in your country, what would it be?
  14. How much do politicians earn in your country? Is it enough? Why do people get into politics?

Key

Definition match

  1. G
  2. E
  3. C
  4. L (l)
  5. K
  6. B
  7. H
  8. D
  9. F
  10. A
  11. J
  12. I (i)

Sentence match

  1. Press the flesh
  2. Hot air
  3. Live/are in an ivory tower
  4. Crooked/bent
  5. Throw in the towel
  6. Toe the party line
  7. Hung parliament
  8. Two-horse race
  9. Political football
  10. Political hot potato
  11. Has the common touch
  12. Get off your soap box – used to tell someone to stop talking about something

Follow up

Students could write a CAE/CPE style report on the state of politics in their country, the report could then suggest ways in which politicians could get young people to take and interest in politics.

Posted in Conversation Classes

National Identity Lesson Plan

catalonia-independence

Note: This lesson plan was written for the unique socio-political environment of Barcelona in Catalonia in Spain. However, the questions can be adapted for any nationality.

Do you think of yourself as Catalan or Spanish?

Do you feel a strong connection with the rest of Europe?

What does it mean to be Catalan? Or Spanish?

Can you be Catalan if you weren’t born in Cataluña?

OR if you don´t speak Catalan?

Can you become Catalan by living in Cataluña and absorbing the culture?

In groups SS discuss next question in English and write a list with reasons.

What are your strongest symbols of national identity?

If they need help give them some examples of your own symbols, for example:

England: Tea, the Royal Family, fish and chips, bad weather, self deprecation, Shakespeare, dark humour, The Battle of Hastings in 1066, Henry VIII.

Write Catalan symbols on the board.

Why are these so important? What do they symbolise? Which are most important?

Citizenship Test

What happens if a person from outside the EU comes to Spain and wants to get citizenship?

What do they have to do? Do they have to take a citizenship exam?

Because in the United Kingdom they do. Here are some example questions from the old citizenship test (it has now been updated):

Put the questions on the board or copy and paste them and hand them out. Correct answer are in bold.

In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband?

1837, 1857, 1875, 1882

Which of the following statements is true?

The governing body of the EU is the Council of the European Union

The governing body of the EU is the Council of Europe

How many parliamentary constituencies are there?

464, 564, 650, 664

Ask student’s to guess the score Tim (me, a 29-year-old British native) got when he did the test, out of 24.

I scored 13 out of 24 so I failed and if I were an immigrant from a country outside the EU I would not be given citizenship.

Do you think these are the most relevant (pertinent) questions?

What should people know about a country to be a citizen?

Tell students that the citizenship test has been changed because of complaints about the relevance of the questions. Here is a link to download a section of the new UK citizenship test.

https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=79CFF252BEEA0A7D!229&authkey=!AFcpZe_NcbPS4Mc

Depending on the level you can actually have the students answer the questions, or do it as a whole class quiz in teams. The test includes some interesting historical information (if your students are into that sort of thing) if not you can just ask a few of the questions to give the students an idea of what they’re like.

Here is the link to the guardian website where you can find the answers:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/quiz/2013/jan/27/british-citizenship-test-quiz-new

Students write their own citizenship tests for the teacher.

What I want you to do in your groups is write a short Catalan or Spanish citizenship test. 5 questions which you think are the most important and which would help with integration. Cultural, political, history, economic questions etc.

You can discuss them, in English and obviously you have to write them in English. You then have to explain why they are important and we will try and make a Catalan Citizenship test. The teacher can help with the question structures but can’t know the answers because at the end he / she will try to complete the test and get over 75%.

Do you agree with the idea of citizenship tests?

Do you think it´s easy to integrate into a new country or culture?

1 minute to think of the biggest challenges 

Put challenges on board and students discuss them.

Wrap up:

Do you think Cataluña is well integrated? If not how can we change this?