Posted in Conversation Classes, Listening Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes

Reading, Video & Debate: Compulsory Vaccination

Person Holding A Vaccine

This is another guest post by Soleil García Brito. It is a reading, listening and speaking lesson plan for B2+ students based around the topic of compulsory vaccination. Download the materials below:

The Vaccine debate – Teacher’s notes

Warmer

Short answers

  • What is a vaccine and how do they work?
  • Have you been vaccinated for anything?
  • Would you get vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 if a vaccine were available?
  • Do you think vaccinations should be compulsory?

Video – Why are some children still not getting the MMR vaccine? | ITV News

Watch the video and answer the questions below

  1. Are vaccinations compulsory in England?
  2. Who is to blame for the falling rate of vaccinations, according to the video report?
  3. Do the British public trust health care professionals?
  4. Where does the British Health Secretary stand on making vaccinations compulsory?
  5. How is the British government planning to stop the spread of fake news about vaccines?

Watch the video again and listen for the words in the gaps below. Discuss the meaning of the words or phrases in the gaps.

Teacher tip → Play twice if necessary.

  1. In the UK it’s _________ parents whether their child gets vaccinated for measles
  2. But if we want to _________ measles outbreaks don’t spread, we need ninety five percent of the public to be vaccinated
  3. But why are we so _________ about measles right now?
  4. More than half a million children in the UK _________ on the MMR jab between 2010 and 2017
  5. Some ________________ what’s known as the anti-vax movement
  6. Many worry that the MMR jab can cause autism, a theory ___________ from the British former doctor Andrew Wakefield
  7. In 1998, he published a paper claiming there was a link, but his results were later completely _________ and he was __________ the doctors’ register.
  8. ___________, Public Health England believes social media isn’t a major factor
  9. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to _________ children being kept out of schools if they haven’t been vaccinated against measles, but infection experts have said that this drastic solution could ________ a rise in the anti-vaxxer
  10. … to remove any post promoting false or misleading information about ______, like MMR.

 

Transcript

In the UK it’s up to parents whether their child gets vaccinated for measles. Last year 87% of children received their full dose of MMR; that stands for measles mumps and rubella. That number sounds pretty high, right? But if we want to ensure measles outbreaks don’t spread, we need ninety five percent of the public to be vaccinated. This is called herd immunity. But why are we so concerned about measles right now? Measles is one of the most contagious diseases; it can cause brain damage, blindness, and it can even be fatal. And now in England cases are rising. They’ve nearly quadrupled in the last year, going from 259 in 2017 to 966 in 2018. More than half a million children in the UK missed out on the MMR jab between 2010 and 2017, and each year the number of those being vaccinated is dropping. So why are vaccination rates falling? Well it’s not just the UK. In America 2.6 million children have gone unvaccinated. Some put this down to what’s known as the anti-vax movement. Anti-vaxxers believed that certain vaccines are not safe. Many worry that the MMR jab can cause autism, a theory stemmed from the British former doctor Andrew Wakefield. In 1998, he published a paper claiming there was a link, but his results were later completely debunked and he was struck off the doctors’ register. Since then the National Autistic Society has said there is no link between autism and the vaccine, but the scare story still continues to spread. Go online in search of information around vaccinations and you’ll find social media is awash with anti-vaccination propaganda. But is the anti-vax movement to blame? Actually, Public Health England believes social media isn’t a major factor. It’s surveyed parents and found that 93% viewed health care professionals as the most trusted source of information on immunization. In fact, public health England think the key to better vaccination rates is sending out reminders to parents and making GP appointments more convenient so that vaccinations can actually happen. So what can be done to increase vaccinations? Well, in France vaccinating children became a legal requirement last year. Could that be adopted here? Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out children being kept out of schools if they haven’t been vaccinated against measles, but infection experts have said that this drastic solution could fuel a rise in the anti-vaxxer movement. For the moment the governor plans to stop the spread of fake news by introducing legislation that would force social media companies, like Facebook, to remove any post promoting false or misleading information about jabs, like MMR.

 

Debate – Set up – Jigsaw Reading

Discuss with your partner or group whether your point is for or against compulsory vaccination. Then, summarize the main ideas to present them to the rest of the class.

Teacher tip → there are 12 statements in total: 3 PRO, 3 AGAINST, and each of their counterpoints. This activity can be structured in many ways depending on class size, level and time constraints. Here is a suggested way of structuring the activity:

 

Jigsaw Reading Phase 1:

  1. Cut up the texts; keep points and counterpoints separate.
  2. Split class into pairs or groups of 3 depending on numbers. Ideally you want either 3 or 6 groups.
  3. Give out one point to each pair/group. Don’t give out the counterpoints for now.
  4. Instruct students to read their text and first decide if it is a arguing for or against compulsory vaccination. Have for/against columns on the board and keep track of the points. Students could even come to the board to write their points in the column.
  5. Have students reread their texts and summarize it in their own words.
  6. Clear up any doubts about meaning.
  7. Students present their summaries to the class.

 

Jigsaw Reading Phase 2:

  1. Now tell students that you have counterpoints to each of the points they’ve just looked at.
  2. Give out the counterpoint texts to each group randomly.
  3. Students must now match their counterpoint to the previous points from phase 1 and then summarize it for the class.
  4. Clear up any doubts about meaning.

 

Language Focus:

Have students look at the underlined words and phrases in the texts they’ve looked at; have them infer meaning from context and take note of collocations and useful expressions.

 

Debate

You can now conduct a class debate on the topic. Divide the class into two teams and decide which team will argue for and against compulsory vaccination. Encourage students to include their own ideas and opinions as well as the points and counterpoints previously studied. You can structure the debate in many ways. Follow the link below for language for debating and suggested debate structures: https://freeenglishlessonplans.com/2017/11/17/debating-at-higher-levels/

 

POINTS FOR COMPULSORY VACCINATION

POINT 1

It’s the state’s duty to protect its community

In an industrialized country such as the USA, unvaccinated people were 35-times more likely to contract measles than vaccinated ones; in developing countries where these viruses are still endemic, the risk would be considerably higher. After a scare about possible side effects of the MMR jab, in 2008 there was a drop in voluntary vaccinations in a part of London (Lewisham). In that part of London only 64.3 % of children were vaccinated and in that year the district accounted for one third of all South-East London measles cases. Unless there is a 95 % vaccination, there is a great threat to public health of infection outbreaks. It is therefore the role and duty of the state to understand these issues and possible threats and provide protection and care, in this case, in the form of immunization.

COUNTERPOINT 1

Voluntary immunization should be enough

Compulsory vaccination is an example of the tyranny of the majority even if it is coming from a democratic government. And in a community that praises itself as democratic and respectful to wishes of others it is in no way acceptable that the rights of some get abused by the wishes of others. Besides, The United Kingdom does not have a system of compulsory health care, but disease outbreaks are still prevented due to the voluntary immunizations. The pediatrician Miriam Fine-Goulden explains: “The risk of contracting these infections is only so low at present because the voluntary uptake of immunizations has been high enough (in most cases) to reduce the chance of contact with those organisms through the process of herd immunity.”

 

POINT 2

Duty to protect children

Each year millions of children worldwide die of preventable diseases before the age of five. The argument presented here is that the state needs to protect the child and immunize him or her from preventable diseases as obviously the child does not have the capabilities at this stage to make informed decisions of their own. The United Nations Right to Liberty and Security of the Person treaty, article 6.2 supports this view – State Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.

COUNTERPOINT 2

Forcing parents to vaccinate could backfire

The key issue at stake here is who gets to decide about the healthcare needs of children – the authorities or parents? Critics of enforced vaccinations argue that it may have the opposite effect to that desired, and end up demonizing parental choice. Indeed, adopting compulsory vaccinations can be counter-productive, causing concerned parents to withdraw their kids from school and entrenching anti-vaccination sentiment.

 

POINT 3

Compulsory vaccines are a financial relief on health system

Commonly used vaccines are a cost-effective and preventive way of promoting health, compared to the treatment of acute or chronic disease. In the U.S. during the year 2001, routine childhood immunizations against seven diseases were estimated to save over $40 billion per birth-year cohort in overall social costs including $10 billion in direct health costs, and the societal benefit-cost ratio for these vaccinations was estimated to be $16.5 billion. Additionally, if less people get sick, productivity rates remain high and less money is destined to social and health programs.

 

COUNTERPOINT 3

The cost of vaccines is itself high

Vaccines themselves are expensive to develop in the lab and to mass-produce for widespread compulsory vaccination programs. The cost of developing a vaccine—from research and discovery to product registration—is estimated to be between $200 million and $500 million per vaccine. In addition to these upfront costs, organizing compulsory vaccination programs across an entire country can be very complicated and expensive. For instance, mechanisms must be set in place to ensure that the program is indeed compulsory, which means establishing a database of those that have and have not received the vaccine.

 

 

POINTS AGAINST COMPULSORY VACCINATION

POINT 1

Compulsory vaccination violates the individuals’ right to bodily integrity

In most countries and declarations, one of the most basic human rights is the one to bodily integrity. It sets down that you have a right not to have your body or person interfered with. This means that the State may not do anything to harm your body without consent. The NHS (National Health Service) explains: “You must give your consent (permission) before you receive any type of medical treatment, from a simple blood test to deciding to donate your organs after your death. If you refuse a treatment, your decision must be respected.” In the case of vaccination this principle should be also applied.

 

COUNTERPOINT 1

Social responsibility trumps individual rights

The problem with the idea of “individual rights” is that those refusing vaccines on account of this effectively violate the same right for other people if, and when, there is an outbreak of the disease against which the vaccine is protecting. Those who wish to opt-out of vaccination (often on behalf of their children, who have no say in the matter) are classic free riders, hoping to benefit from the more responsible behavior of the rest of society. As it is assumed that most of society see it as a responsibility and a duty to protect others.

 

POINT 2

It is a parental right to decide whether or not to vaccinate their child

Through birth, the child and the parent have a binding agreement that is supported within the society. This agreement involves a set of rights and duties aimed at, and justified by, the welfare of the child. As custodian, the parent is under the obligation to work and organize his or her life around the welfare and development of the child, for the child’s sake. Therefore, the parent is endowed with a special kind of authority over the child. If the parent believes the child will be safer and better off in society without being given vaccine it is the parent’s right to decide not to give vaccination to the child.

 

COUNTERPOINT 2

Parents do not have absolute rights to decide for their children

An adult vaccine refusal and a parental vaccine refusal are not the same. Parents do not have absolute right to put their child at a risk even if they themselves are willing to accept such a risk for him or herself. Minors have a right to be protected against infectious diseases and society has the responsibility to ensure welfare of children who may be harmed by their parents’ decisions. As seen not to vaccine children can represent a danger for their future, there should be no ultimate power of parents to prevent vaccine jabs.

 

POINT 3

Vaccines have severe side effects

Some of the used vaccines may have severe side effects, therefore we should let every individual assess the risk and make choices on their own. Besides introducing foreign proteins and even live viruses into the bloodstream, each vaccine has its own preservative, neutralizer and carrying agent. Evidence also suggests that immunizations damage the immune system itself, because vaccines trick the body so that it will no longer initiate a generalized response. In addition, the long-term persistence of viruses and other foreign proteins within the cells of the immune system has been implicated in a number of chronic diseases, such as allergies. Moreover, MMR vaccines may cause a child who is genetically predisposed to have autism, due to the Thimerosal, which is a compound that contains mercury.

 

COUNTERPOINT 3

Lack of evidence for prevalence of severe side effects

First of all, many of the arguments suggesting vaccination is dangerous refer to observations from the 60s or 70s. Since then, more recent studies have reported no link between MMR vaccines and autism. Similarly, a 2011 study from the German Health Institute comparing the prevalence of allergies and infections in vaccinated and unvaccinated children and teenagers, concluded that there was no difference between them, other than the frequency of vaccine-preventable diseases, such as mumps or measles.

 

The text was reproduced and adapted from http://www.idebate.org with the permission of the International Debate Education Association.

Copyright © 2005 International Debate Education Association. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Posted in Listening Classes, Reading Classes, Video Classes

Guest Post: Survival Skills – Reading & Video

How to Start a Fire Without Matches | The Art of Manliness

This is a reading and listening lesson for B2+ students based around the topic of survival skills and myths created by Soleil García Brito. Download the student handout below:

Survival Skills – Student Handout – Word

Survival Skills – Student Handout – PDF

Survival Skills!

Reading – Prediction

Look at these statements about survival. Are they factual or myths?

a) Anyone can start a fire with just two sticks

b) Boiled water is always 100% safe to drink

c) Reality shows about survival will help you prepare for a dire situation

d) You need to find food right away

e) You need to find water immediately to survive in desert heat

f) You can outrun a bear

g) The best way to stop a shark attack is by punching it in the nose

Matching

Read the texts and match the titles a-g

  “In reality, you can survive on just your body’s fat stores for weeks, as long as you have water. Conserving energy, avoiding injury, and sourcing a supply of water are key to surviving,” said Ras. “Hunting and trapping prey are hit and miss activities which often produce nothing and simply end up expending energy and risking injury or illness. It’s extremely rare for someone to die of starvation in a survival situation. Injury, illness, poisoning and exposure are much more likely to result in death. By definition, ‘surviving’ a situation is short-term, and in the short term a person can be fueled by their fat reserves.”
  “None of us would be here today if our ancestors hadn’t mastered the fine art of friction firemaking, but this is a skill to practice on camping trips and backyard outings,” said Tony Nester of Ancient Pathways Survival School. It’s a big mistake to rely solely on friction firemaking in a survival situation, especially when you could end up in a damp environment. Modern survival is about being prepared and carrying at least three firestarters (waterproof matches, spark-rod, lighter) with you at all times,” said Nester. “I teach primitive firemaking skills to show my students how to perform the method but find that, even under the best of conditions, it is a challenge and not reliable for most people.”
  “I’ve worked as a consultant on several reality shows and these shows are heavily-scripted,” said Nester. “On one program, there was a crew of 12 people accompanying us, including two staff whose sole job was to drag around coolers filled with double-shot espressos and sandwiches while filming scenes of the host living off the land. There’s nothing romantic or fun about real survival—it’s only adventure in retrospect.”
  Running away from a bear is a lost cause: Usain Bolt himself couldn’t beat one in a footrace, let alone on uneven terrain. The best thing to do depends on the species. If you encounter a black bear, said Nester, “Hold your ground and make yourself look big—open your coat up, throw your arms up above your head—and shout and scream and, a lot of times, they’re as spooked as you are, and will take off.” Take the opposite approach with a grizzly: “Avoid eye contact, which a bear will perceive to be a challenge. If the bear’s not approaching, back away slowly. If it charges, simply stand your ground. If you have pepper spray, be ready to use it… and pronto. If it makes physical contact with you, cover your vitals and play dead.”
  “Even though it’s true that sharks get stunned if they get punched in the nose, not many people the strength to do this, especially underwater,” said Manighetti. Even if you could manage the strength to hit the nose hard enough, there’s a chance your hand could end up getting injured by shark teeth. “The best way to scare a shark away is to scratch its eyes or gills, it’s impossible to overpower these fierce creatures in attack mode.”
  “While boiling water will kill off organisms and germs, it will not clean harmful particulates from the water. For instance, no matter how long you boil chemically contaminated water it won’t be safe to drink,” said Jack. “This same principle applies to stagnant dirty water. If the water you are attempting to purify is visibly dirty or murky, you should filter the water before attempting to boil it. If you don’t have a commercial water filter available, then you can either pour the dirty water through a clean fabric (towel or shirt) or leave the water to stand until the sediments sink to the bottom. Then just pour the clean water from the top…and then boil.”
  “You will last longer in the heat by holding up in the shade versus searching for water during the afternoon hours,” said Nester. “If you do run out of water, find a north-facing boulder and sit in the shade; keep covered to prevent evaporative sweat loss; stay off the hot ground by sitting on your pack or a pile of debris; and only move around during the cooler hours of the morning or evening.” If you didn’t tell anyone about your travel plans, though, rescue will likely take more than a few hours and you should search for water when the temperature drops.

Text adapted from: https://www.theactivetimes.com/15-survival-myths-could-actually-kill-you-slideshow/

Discussion

  • Were your predictions from the first task correct?
  • Look at the texts again. Why are these things all bad ideas?

Language focus

  • Look at the underlined phrases and the words in bold. What do you think they mean?
  • Discuss with a partner and take a note of the dependent prepositions, collocations, phrasal verbs and idioms.
  • Fill in the gaps with the appropriate preposition or collocation without checking in the texts:

 

  1. In reality, you can survive _______ just your body’s fat stores for weeks
  2. Injury, illness, poisoning and exposure are much more likely to result _______
  3. It’s a big mistake to rely solely _______ friction firemaking in a survival situation, especially when you could end _______ in a damp environment.
  4. … including two staff whose sole job was to drag around coolers filled with double-shot espressos and sandwiches while filming scenes of the host living _______ the land.
  5. Running away from a bear is a _______ cause
  6. … a lot of times, they’re as spooked as you are, and will take_______.
  7. While boiling water will kill _____ organisms and germs, it will not clean harmful particulates from the water.
  8. This same principle _______ to stagnant dirty water.
  9. If you do run_______of water, find a north-facing boulder and sit _______the shade.
  10. you should search for water when the temperature _______.

 

Video – Prediction

You are going to watch a video about surviving in extreme situations. These are the topics; are they good or bad ideas?

  1. Eating snow for hydration
  2. Drinking cactus water
  3. Drinking urine or blood
  4. Using moss for direction
  5. Drinking alcohol to stay warm
  6. Rubbing frostbitten extremities
  7. Sucking venom from a snake bite
  8. Peeing on a jellyfish sting

VIDEO: Click the link – 8 Survival Tips

Questions:

Why are they bad ideas?

  1. ____________________________________________________
  2. ____________________________________________________
  3. ____________________________________________________
  4. ____________________________________________________
  5. ____________________________________________________
  6. ____________________________________________________
  7. ____________________________________________________
  8. ____________________________________________________

Video – Language Focus

  • Read the sentences below and try to fill the gaps
  • Watch the video a second time listening for the words in the gaps and compare to your original predictions.
  1. Too good to be ___________
  2. Which will dehydrate you and make _______ worse.
  3. They still don’t taste good, but they’ll do in a _______.
  4. Going _______ vampire to survive is probably not the best idea.
  5. But that is the exact _______ of what you want if you need to stay warm.
  6. Not to _______, freeze the water those cells were using to live.
  7. Try to sit _______ and don’t risk doing more harm.
  8. In other _______, don’t do it.
  9. You’re best _______ leaving the treatment to professionals.
  10. Last but not _______.
Posted in Conversation Classes, Proficiency, Reading Classes

C1/C2 Reading & Conversation: Barcelona Anti-Tourism March

Image result for barcelona anti tourism

Image credit: Smart Meetings

Article credit: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/29/barcelona-residents-protest-high-rents-fuelled-by-tourism

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan based around an article from the Guardian newspaper about an anti-tourism march that took place in Barcelona last year. Download the lesson plan, key and power point below:

warmer reading tourism

Barcelona tourism effect article + key

Procedure

Warmer: Predict text topic from key words

Project the power point and have students try to guess what the text they’re going to read is about by flashing up the picture and the keywords 2 at a time. Students continue predicting until all the key words are visible.

Article: Reading comprehension, vocab focus and discussion

Go through the activities on the hand out, answer key for comprehension questions is at the bottom.

Barcelona marches to curb negative effects of tourism boom

Community groups join forces to protest over soaring level of rents fuelled by a big rise in visitor numbers

Behind banners reading “Barcelona is not for sale” and “We will not be driven out”, some 2,000 people staged an “occupation” of the Rambla, the city’s famed boulevard, on Saturday.

The protest was organised by a coalition of more than 40 resident and community groups from all over the city, not just the neighbourhoods most directly affected by mass tourism.

Visitor numbers have grown exponentially in recent years. In 2016 an estimated 9 million people stayed in hotels and a further 9 million in holiday apartments. In addition, the city received around 12 million day-trippers arriving by car and train or on cruise ships.

Tourists looked on bemused as the banners were unfurled at the top of the Rambla, beside the Canaletes fountain.

“I don’t understand. What do they mean, Barcelona is not for sale?” asked Qais from Kuwait. “It’s not what we were expecting, but I can see their point,” he said when it had been explained to him. He added: “Things are really bad in the Middle East,” which put things in perspective. “Does it mean they don’t want us here?” his wife asked. Birgid from Denmark was less sympathetic. “Tourism brings in lots of money to the city, doesn’t it? I’m sure it’s changed the city, but that’s life, isn’t it?”

Roger from Wigan, here on his second visit, commented: “I can understand it, the place is very commercial. And if I understand what’s written on some of these placards, they are complaining that tourism is forcing their rents up. I can sympathise with that.”

This was one of the key issues behind the march, as the money to be made from holiday lets is forcing rents up and driving people out of the city.

Christine, an Englishwoman on the march who has lived in Barcelona for more than 20 years, said: “We’ve been renting our flat in the old town for 17 years. In that time I reckon we’ve paid around €150,000 in rent. Now they want to kick us out because they can make more money renting it out to tourists.”

The march coincides with a new law passed by Barcelona city council on Friday that, for the first time, seeks to curb tourism. The special urban plan for tourist accommodation aims to limit the number of beds on offer from hotels and apartments by imposing a moratorium on building new hotels. No new licences will be issued for tourist apartments.

There are currently 75,000 hotel beds in the city and around 100,000 beds in tourist flats, at least half of them unlicensed and illegal. The city is at loggerheads with Airbnb, the principal letting agency. Last year the council fined Airbnb and HomeAway €600,000 each for advertising unlicensed apartments.

Airbnb argues that the overwhelming majority of its clients in the city are people who are letting out rooms as a way of making ends meet during Spain’s prolonged financial crisis.

That may be true up to a point, but it masks the real problem, which is speculation,” says Daniel Pardo, a member of the Neighbourhood Assembly for Sustainable Tourism. Yet people are free to visit the city, so what’s to stop them?

One thing we could do is stop spending millions on promoting tourism,” says Pardo. “We’re subsidising tourism with public money, by exploiting workers in the service economy and exploiting the infrastructure of the city, which we citizens pay for. Furthermore, tourism is distorting the economy and there is little support for anyone who wants to establish non-tourist enterprises.”

The good-humoured march moved to the seaward end of the Rambla, where one of the organisers read out a manifesto calling for more local shops, more homes, rather than businesses, and control of the pollution caused by private cars and cruise ships. “It’s a great turnout,” one of the marchers quipped. “There are more people here than at Trump’s inauguration. The citizens have never been consulted about this, although they’re the ones who suffer the consequences and aren’t enjoying the benefits. [We’re asking for] the debate to be opened to everyone and that we reach some other resolution of the problem, instead of the present one based on continuous growth.”

Comprehension Questions

  1. Who organised the march?
  2. How many tourists did Barcelona receive in total last year?
  3. How did tourists feel about the march?
  4. What is the main detrimental effect that tourism is having on the city’s residents?
  5. How has the council responded to the rising number of tourists?
  6. How does airbnb defend itself?
  7. What suggestions does Daniel Pardo make?
  8. The march was very serious and angry true/false

Language Focus

Work with a partner, look at the underlined expressions in the text, what do you think they mean?

Now try to complete the expressions from memory:

  1. This was one of the k____ issues behind the march,
  2. The protest was organised by a c____________ of more than 40 resident and community groups.
  3. Visitor numbers have grown e_______________ in recent years.
  4. Now they want to k_______ us out because they can make more money renting it o_______ to tourists.”
  5. The money to be made from h_______ lets is f_______ rents up and d________ people out of the city.
  6. They are complaining that tourism is forcing their rents up. I can s________ with that.
  7. The city is at l____________ with Airbnb.
  8. A new law p_________ by Barcelona city council on Friday that, for the first time, s_________ to c___________ tourism.
  9. The special urban plan for tourist accommodation a______ to limit the number of beds ____ offer from hotels and apartments by i__________ a m__________ on building new hotels.
  10. Airbnb argues that the o___________ majority of its clients in the city are people who are l___________ out rooms as a way of m_______ ends m________ during Spain’s prolonged financial crisis.
  11. “That m_______ be true up to a p________, but it masks the real problem, which is speculation,”
  12. The citizens have never been c__________ about this, although they’re the ones who s_________ the consequences and aren’t e_________ the b___________.
  13. “It’s a great t____________,”

Language of opinion

Complete the sentences with one word to make expressions of opinion.

  1. F_____________ where I stand,
  2. In my h_____________ opinion,
  3. As f________ as I’m concerned,
  4. A_______ I see it,
  5. I don’t have very s___________ views on the matter but,…
  6. I t___________ to agree with people who say…
  7. If you a______ me, I’d say that…
  8. I’m co___________ that…
  9. From my p_______ of v__________,
  10. Speaking from p____________ ex______________,
  11. I’m a big s________________ of…
  12. I’m d_______ against…
  13. I’m a f__________ believer in….

Conversation

  1. What do you think of the march? Are you in agreement with their message?
  2. Would you consider protesting on the issue?
  3. What are the pros and cons of tourism in your city?
  4. How does tourism affect your neighbourhood?
  5. What experiences do you have of the downsides of tourism?
  6. Do you think you have enjoyed the benefits of tourism? In what way?
  7. Do you think tourism should be curbed in any way? If so, how?

Language Development

Look at the language from the text, in what other contexts could you use it?

  • The city’s famed boulevard – what other things could be famed?
  • Stage an occupation – what other things can you stage?
  • A coalition of resident and community groups – what other coalitions can you think of?
  • Visitor numbers have grown exponentially in recent years. – What other things can grow exponentially?
  • “Puts things in perspective” – In what other contexts could you use this expression?
  • Tourism brings in a lot of money. – What other things bring in money for a government/company?
  • “That’s life, isn’t it?” – In what other contexts could you use this expression?
  • A new law passed by the council seeks to curb – What other things would the government pass laws to curb?
  • Now they want to kick us out – what other things could you be kicked out of?
  • The plan aims to limit the number of beds on offer. – What other things could be limited?
  • A manifesto calling for more local shops – What other things could a manifesto or a protest call for?
  • They’re the ones who are suffering the consequences and not enjoying the benefits? – What other things could you suffer the consequences or enjoy the benefits of?

Comprehension Questions Key

  1. Who organised the march? A coalition of residents & community groups
  2. How many tourists did Barcelona receive in total last year? 9+9+12=30million
  3. How did tourists feel about the march? Mixed emotions, some understanding, some bemused
  4. What is the main detrimental effect that tourism is having on the city’s residents? Forcing rents up, driving people out
  5. How has the council responded to the rising number of tourists? Laws to curb tourism, limits on flats, moratorium on new hotels
  6. How does airbnb defend itself? Most hosts are just letting out spare rooms
  7. What suggestions does Daniel Pardo make? Stop subsidising tourism with public money, infrastructure of the city is being exploited by tourism
  8. The march was very serious and angry true/false. false, march was good-humoured
Posted in Conversation Classes, Proficiency

Debating at Higher Levels

Image result for debate

Image credit: The Merkle

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for higher levels (C1+) designed to help students develop their discourse management and debating skills. Download the handouts below:

Discourse Analysis: Guardian 5-minute Debates

In this section of the lesson students will watch a video from the Guardian 5-minute debate series in order to analyse the ways in which the speakers structure their arguments and the language they use. The topic of the debate is:

  • Should slang words be banned in the classroom?

In the debate the two speakers (Michael Rosen and Lindsay Johns) are specifically talking about London street slang. A school in South London took the decision to ban street slang from the classroom, the banned words are in the picture below:

slang

If you want to look up any of these words you can use the urban dictionary.

Language to pre-teach:

  • code switching – changing from one language, dialect, or way of speaking to another depending on who you’re speaking to.
  • cultural relativism – the theory that beliefs, customs, and morality exist in relation to the particular culture from which they originate and are not absolute. (What’s considered acceptable in one culture might not be in another)
  • Live in an ivory tower – to be out of touch or to not understand the true reality of a situation. To live in a privileged position and therefore not understand the real world.

Have students watch the debate, while they are watching they should answer these questions:

  • Who wins the debate and why?
  • Useful phrase for debating.
  • Ways of structuring an argument.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2013/dec/09/should-schools-ban-slang-video-debate

 

Discuss their thoughts in open class.

Give out the transcript and show students the powerpoint. The powerpoint will take them through some of the structural techniques that Michael Rosen uses such as:

  • Conceding/partially agreeing
  • Hedging/being more indirect
  • Asking and answering your own questions
  • Presenting evidence
  • Being emphatic

A Less Formal Debate – Debate-O-Rama Cats vs. Dogs

Now tell students they’re going to watch a less formal debate, the topic is dogs vs. cats. Split the class into two groups: the dog group and the cat group. Each group has to watch the video and and write down the arguments that the two people give to support their animal, i.e dogs are smelly, cats are selfish.

Students watch the video and takes notes. (Video from 1:15)

Give out the debate language handout. Tell students that they are going to recreate the dogs vs. cats debate but using the language on the handout and some of the structural techniques we saw earlier. Give them 8-10 minutes to structure their arguments. The debate will follow the following structure:

Debate Structure

  1. Opening statement (90 secs)
  2. Cross examination (30 secs)
  3. (repeat)
  4. Rebuttal #1 (30 secs each)
  5. Rebuttal #2 (30 secs each)
  6. Closing Statements (30 secs each)

Award a winner based on the strength of their arguments and how well structured they are. The debate handout has further debate topics for future classes.

Debate Handout:

Language

Opinion

The way I see it,

In my view,

In my opinion, I think that

My view on the matter is…

As far as I understand it,

As far as I’m concerned,

I’d say that…

I personally am (not) a big fan of…

Evidence/Popular Opinion

All the evidence points to/suggests…

I think you’ll find that…

If you ask anyone,…

The vast majority of people would say…

We have no evidence that…

9 out of 10 people would say that…

There’s no evidence to support that whatsoever.

 

Main arguments

I support/oppose the notion that… for the following reason: Firstly,…

The key issue here is…

The real question/dilemma is… (question form)

The critical/crucial factor here is…

It’s vital to remember that…

By far and away the most important point is…

Adding points

What’s more,

On top of that,

Besides that,

Apart from that,

Another thing to consider is…

We shouldn’t forget that…

It’s also worth bearing in mind that…

Rebutting/Cross-Examining

So what you’re saying is…

So let me get this straight…

Correct me if I’m wrong but…

You’re not seriously suggesting that…, are you?

You can’t possibly be saying that…

I feel I must also disagree with you about…

Conceding/Partially Agreeing

I admit that your point about… may be true, however,

I take/see your point about…

Let’s say I agree with the idea of…

I hear what you’re saying, but…

Conclusion

In a nutshell,

So to sum up,

So in summary,

So to wrap up,

So as I was saying,

All in all,

Debate Structure

1.       Opening statement (90 secs)

2.       Cross examination (30 secs)

3.       (repeat)

4.       Rebuttal #1 (30 secs each)

5.       Rebuttal #2 (30 secs each)

6.       Closing Statements (30 secs each)

Low-stakes Debate Topics

(Credit to debatable youtube page)

Dogs vs. Cats Superpowers:

Flight vs. Invisibility

Pancakes vs. Waffles Hot dogs vs. Hamburgers French fries vs. Patatas bravas
Beer vs. Wine Whisky vs. Rum Are ghost real? Does the internet do more good or bad? Camping, good or bad?
Taylor Swift vs. Ariana Grande Soup vs. salad Pasta vs. pizza Is it ok to pee in the shower? Tea vs. Coffee
Coke vs. Pepsi Burger King vs. MacDonald’s Chinese food vs. Japanese food City vs. Country Morning Showers vs. Night Showers
Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Mind-Boggling Expressions with Mind

Image credit: thetraveledteacher.blogspot.com

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I’m running the Barcelona Half-Marathon dressed as David Bowie to raise money for Cancer Research, sponsor me here:

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This is a vocabulary activity designed with proficiency students (C2) in mind. However, it can be adapted for advanced students. Students will learn expressions with the word “mind” and use them in a discussion. Download the students’ handout and teacher’s notes below:

Mind Expressions teachers notes

Mind Expressions student handout

Sentence completion

Give out the handout and have students work in pairs to complete as many as they can. For lower levels or if students struggle you could write all the missing words on the board and students could use them to complete the activity. Students can use the list on the back to check their own answers.

Key

1.       Great

2.       Load

3.       Meeting

4.       Frame/state

5.       Right

6.       Give piece

7.       Have own

8.       Boggling

9.       In/of

10.   Cast

11.   Bearing

12.   Crossed

13.   If do

14.   Half

15.   Sieve

16.   Tracked

17.   Running

18.   Put

19.   Own business

20.   P’s q’s

21.   Slipped

Definitions

  1. Great minds think alike – When two people have had the same good idea
  2. A load off one’s mind – news that brings relief
  3. A meeting of the minds – group of experts meeting to discuss something
  4. In a frame of mind – in a mental condition
  5. No one in their right mind would – no sane person would
  6. Give sb a piece of one’s mind – to angrily express disapproval to someone
  7. Have a mind of its own – does things on its own
  8. Mind-boggling – so big/complex that it’s difficult to comprehend
  9. To be in/of two minds about something – to be undecided
  10. Cast one’s mind back – think about a specific time in the past/make an effort to remember
  11. Bear in mind/It’s worth bearing in mind – Remember/take into account
  12. Cross one’s mind/It never crossed my mind to – I never thought about (normally in relation to a solution to a problem)
  13. Don’t mind if I do – I would like to, used when accepting an offer, usually food/drink
  14. Have half a mind to – to be considering doing something (normally something you’re not going to do)
  15. Have a mind like a sieve – bad memory
  16. Have a one-tracked mind – always thinking about one thing, almost always sex
  17. Run through one’s mind – something you’re constantly thinking about
  18. Put one’s mind to st – make a considerable effort to focus on doing something
  19. Mind one’s own business – not interfere in other people’s lives/problems
  20. Mind one’s p’s and q’s – be polite and follow social rules (please, thank you etc.)
  21. Slip one’s mind – forget something

Analysis

This section is important as it gives students an opportunity to process the expressions on a deeper cognitive level and relate them to their lives, this will increase the chances of retention. Allow them to discuss the questions and then briefly in open class.

Discussion Key

  1. Sieve slip
  2. One
  3. Cast
  4. P’s q’s
  5. Own business
  6. Gave
  7. Put
  8. In/of
  9. Right
  10. Own
  11. Bear
  12. Load
  13. Running

 

Student’s Handout

Sentence completion

Complete the sentences with 1 word to form expressions with “mind”.

  1. So you’ve decided to do a masters too! ________ minds think alike!
  2. They found the lost pendrive down the back of the sofa. Phew! That’s a ________ off my mind.
  3. The UN has organised a council of scientists to discuss the best way to solve the issue, it’s going to be a real _________ of the minds.
  4. Due to the recent speculation about a move to Real Madrid, the player has stated that he’s not in the right _________ of mind to play tomorrow.
  5. No one in their _________ mind would buy that car, it’s a death-trap!
  6. If you two don’t be quiet and go to sleep, I’m going to come up there and _____ you a ______ of my mind!
  7. My mobile phone seems to _______ a mind of its _______. It’s always calling people in my bag.
  8. The distances we’d have to travel to reach another habitable planet are mind-___________, it’s not going to be possible in our lifetime.
  9. I’m ___ two minds about what to do on Sunday, we could have a picnic or we could go to the cinema.
  10. ______ your mind back to the day of the robbery Mrs. Jones, what time did your husband arrive home?
  11. It’s worth __________ in mind that the sun goes down at 5:30 in winter, so we have to be off the mountain by then.
  12. It never ___________my mind to ask Tony for help, I figured he didn’t know anything about computers.
  13. Would you like another martini George? Oooo don’t mind ____ I _____.
  14. I have ______ a mind to go up there myself and tell them to turn the music down.
  15. I’m sorry but I’ve completely forgotten your name, I’ve got a mind like a _________.
  16. Most teenage boys have a one-_________ mind, and we all know what that means!
  17. Hi babe, are you tired? No, why? Because you’ve been ________through my mind all night.
  18. You can achieve anything if you ______ your mind to it!
  19. I was just sat at the bus-stop minding my _____ _______ when this guy walked up and started insulting me!
  20. You have to mind your ___’s and ____’s around my grandma, she’s quite sensitive about that sort of thing.
  21. Oh no! I forgot to bring you that letter, sorry, it completely ________ my mind.

Key

Below are the expressions from ex 1. Look at them with a partner, how can you express them in other words?

1.       Great minds think alike

2.       A load off one’s mind

3.       A meeting of the minds

4.       In a frame of mind

5.       No one in their right mind would

6.       Give sb a piece of one’s mind

7.       Have a mind of its own

8.       Mind-boggling

9.       To be in/of two minds about something

10.   Cast one’s mind back

11.   Bear in mind/It’s worth bearing in mind

12.   Cross one’s mind/It never crossed my mind to

13.   Don’t mind if I do

14.   Have half a mind to

15.   Have a mind like a sieve

16.   Have a one-tracked mind

17.   Run through one’s mind

18.   Put one’s mind to st

19.   Mind one’s own business

20.   Mind one’s p’s and q’s

21.   Slip one’s mind

Analysis

With your partner, look at the expressions and answer the questions below.

  1. Which ones are easy to guess from the individual meaning of the words?
  2. Which ones do you like?
  3. Which ones sound good?
  4. Which ones can be used in the most situations? And which in the least?
  5. Which ones can you easily relate to your life? Why?
  6. Which ones would you use in a letter/email/text message?
  7. Which ones would you use in speech?

Discussion

  1. Do you have a mind like a ________? What things normally _______ your mind?
  2. Is it true that men have a ______-track mind?
  3. How far can you ______ your mind back?
  4. Is it important to mind your ___’s and ___’s around your family?
  5. Are you a busy-body? Or do you tend to mind your _____ _____________?
  6. When was the last time you _______ someone a piece of your mind?
  7. You can achieve anything if you ________ your mind to it. Do you agree?
  8. Are you ____ two minds about anything at the moment?
  9. Complete the sentence about something in your city/life/country at the moment: No one in their _______ mind would…..
  10. Do any of your things have a mind of their ________?
  11. What should people ________ in mind if they want to do your favourite hobby/past-time?
  12. Can you think of any news you’ve received recently that was a _______ off your mind?
  13. Has anything been __________through your mind a lot recently? What are you going to do about it?
Posted in Listening Classes, Proficiency

Proficiency Podcasts: Radiolab, Words

Image credit: publicradiotulsa.org

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is the second in a series of lesson plans based around podcasts for high level learners (high C1+). This one is based on the first part of Words by radiolab. The link, transcript and lesson plan are below:

http://www.radiolab.org/story/91725-words/

Proficiency Podcasts words, Lesson plan

Words Transcript – divided into sections.

Warmer – Charades

SS have to sign the following sentences:

I don’t like bananas

I love soup

I think it will rain

Where is Joan?

I went swimming yesterday.

Can I have a pen?

Was it easy? Which sentences were the easiest? Do you ever play this game with your family?

  1. Do you know sign language?
  2. How difficult is it to communicate without words?
  3. What’s your favourite word in your own language/English?

Listening – Radiolab, words

1st section 00:15 – 01:02

Listen and answer these questions:

  • What happened to Susan? She was hit by a catering truck while riding her bike.
  • What were the consequences? She had concussion and couldn’t go to school.
  • How did she feel? Very bored

Listen once, ss share answers in pairs. Listen again for specific detail and language.

  • How does she describe the accident? A catering truck hit me.
  • How does she describe her feelings? Bored out of my mind.

Follow same sequence with each section, general comprehension questions, then listen again and clear up language problems.

2nd section 01:02 – 1:40

  • What did she do? Why? Her friend suggested that she crashed classes at the local uni.

2nd listen for language.

Make a prediction in pairs:

  • What happened that changed her life?

3rd section 01:40 – 2:15

  • What happened? She walked into a signing class.
  • What was her reaction? Mesmerised

Predict: What’s going to happen next?

4th sections 2:15 – 3:05

  • What happens next? Becomes a signer.
  • Where does she go? LA
  • Who does she meet? A man born deaf.

5th section 3:05 – 3:50

  • How does she describe the man? Beautiful, great cheekbones, black hair black eyes.
  • What’s the guy’s problem? Copies everything, visual echolalia

6th section 3:50 – 4:48

  • What does he realise about the guy? Has no language
  • How does he think the world works? That we figure stuff out visually

7th section 4:48 – 5:07

  • What questions do they ask?
  • What do words do for us?
  • Are they necessary?
  • Can you live without them?
  • Can you think without them?
  • Can you dream without them?
  • Can you swim without them?

Discuss these questions as a class.

Set the rest of this part of the podcast as homework with the following questions:

5:07 – 8:35

  • What problems did she have teaching him? He copied everything she did, he thought everything was an order. Didn’t know how to say goodbye, didn’t know if he would come back.
  • How did she make a breakthrough? Acted out the role of student and role of teacher.
  • What was his reaction? He broke down in tears.

Discussion

  • Have you ever had to communicate without words? Why?
  • How do you make yourself understood if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language?
  • Have you ever had a misunderstanding with someone in this situation?
  • How much do you rely on signing and body language?
  • Have you ever spoken English on the phone? What was it like?

Accuracy vs Fluency

  • What’s more important accuracy or fluency when speaking?
  • If you spoke extremely accurately but with no fluency what problems would you have? And vice versa.
  • In what situations is it especially important to be accurate?
  • In what situations is it especially important to be fluent?
  • “Only teachers notice your mistakes” Do you agree?
  • “As long as the errors don’t affect understanding they don’t matter” Do you agree?
  • “Little mistakes will go away over time, you don’t have to focus on them.” Do you agree?
  • “Confidence is more important than how much you’ve studied when speaking a foreign language” Do you agree?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class

CPE Study Guide

Here are some materials to help students prepare for the Cambridge CPE exam.

Cambridge CPE Handbook

Download the latest version of the CPE handbook here:

Click to access 168194-cambridge-english-proficiency-teachers-handbook.pdf

It contains explanations of each part of the exam and practice tests with answers.

Quizlet sets:

Here are loads of different quizlet sets on different parts of the exam:

http://quizlet.com/20934139/cpe-use-of-english-2-open-cloze-flash-cards/

http://quizlet.com/15560940/cae-cpe-inversion-transformations-flash-cards/

http://quizlet.com/56144162/cpe-describing-feelings-flash-cards/

http://quizlet.com/16987300/cae-cpe-use-of-english-practice-part-5-flash-cards/

http://quizlet.com/2150978/cpe-idioms-flash-cards/

Join this class for more:

http://quizlet.com/join/gkF6yKCg8

Recommended websites:

These websites have great materials for self-study:

http://www.flo-joe.com/cpe/students/

http://www.examenglish.com/cpe/ – old exam format but still useful.

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams/proficiency/how-to-prepare/

Writing Handouts

Here are a selection of documents to help prepare students for the writing paper:

CPE Writing part 1 (2)

CAE CPE Writing part 2 plan handout

cae-writing-useful-language-1

CPE Report

CPE Review

CPE speaking writing phrases

CPE writing essay 2nd plan

CPE Writing Part 1 walkthrough

Letter of Complaint tim

Narrative Letter

Paragraph Structure

Writing Expressions

Prezis

Here are links to various prezis on types of writing and grammar points:

Relative clauses: 

http://prezi.com/inqmfkuikbbt/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Inversion: 

http://prezi.com/wxy3-yvm3osw/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Inversion 2: 

http://prezi.com/mhabu89gv8-7/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Conditionals: 

http://prezi.com/r8peruvmq8nf/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Academic Writing: 

http://prezi.com/x1qhxvkwahez/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Report: 

http://prezi.com/cc55ukdsa3rk/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Planning Writing:

http://prezi.com/vmxjibrjz3lt/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Narrative/Descriptive writing: 

http://prezi.com/zvhgk3raimei/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Letter of Complaint: 

http://prezi.com/dxsaxacxoquv/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Book review: 

http://prezi.com/tvjva9mynbsj/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Proposal: 

http://prezi.com/faz_7zanfvvb/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

Article: 

http://prezi.com/nwmmfijnmrlv/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Letter of application: 

http://prezi.com/dmwaid3cj4ql/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

Speaking Materials:

Agreeingand disagreeing

CPE Speaking part 1

CPE long turn examples

Speaking Long Turn (1)

CAE Speaking Part 2 speculation

CAE Speaking Part 2

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

CPE use of English quizlet sets

Here are some great quizlet sets I found for CPE revision and cramming: