Tobleronegate: a conversation lesson

To Brazilians, the strategy of reducing the weight of a product while continuing to charge the same price is nothing new. So I was a bit shocked to see how Brits reacted to what happened to Toblerone in England. What do I know, maybe they are right to complain and we’re the fools for letting these kinds of things slide.

I first came across this news in a Brazilian magazine and only then did I go online to find out how big a deal this was in the UK and that #tobleronegate was trending on Twitter. I wanted to hear what my students had to say about this matter, so I went looking for an article and video and came up with this lesson.

This can be used with students who are adults or adolescents. Their level should be B2 or above, but it can also be used with B1 students with some pre-teaching.


The steps below are based on a PowerPoint presentation you can download from Dropbox or from Google Drive.

[Slide 1]

Show the picture of a bar of chocolate and ask students to discuss questions in pairs. After a couple of minutes, elicit ideas from the whole group.

Depending on your teaching context you can start the lesson by eating a piece of chocolate to set the context. 🙂

[Slide 2]

In the same pairs, ask students to answer the questions. they should easily be able to identify that these are Toblerone bars, but make sure you get them to explain why.

Some incidental vocabulary that appears in the video/text is likely to come up here. If students need help, provide them with words like shape or triangular.

[Slide 3]

If students guessed why Toblerone has been on the news, board their ideas and use them as a gist task (students watch the video and check their guesses.) If they had no guesses, use the question on this slide as a gist question.

Allow students to compare answers in pairs and then elicit ideas from the whole group.

[Slide 4]

Show specific questions and give students a minute to read them. Play the video again and, after that, ask students to pair-check. Elicit answers from the whole group.

[Slide 5]

There are two possible gist questions you can use here. If students were able to get a lot of information from the video, ask them to read the text quickly and check how much overlap there is.

Alternatively, you can tell students they are going to read an article about Toblerone from the financial times. Ask them to guess the content of the article and board their ideas. Now ask them to read the text quickly and see if their ideas indeed appear in the text.

The original article can be found here and my adapted version is below.


After checking the gist task with the whole group, show specific information questions and give more time for students to read the text again. Give some time for students to pair-check and then elicit ideas from the whole group. Make sure they get the meaning of shrinkflation (question 4) as this is going to be used in the follow-up.

[Slide 6]

In new pairs or trios, ask students to answer the follow-up questions. The purpose here is to compare local culture to what is happening in England.

After some minutes elicit answers from the whole group.

[Slide 7]

Go over the pronunciation of the words in bold – they are likely to mispronounce the ‘a’ in /ˈskeɪ.ðɪŋ/, so focus on that. Draw their attention to the catenation in ‘knock-off’ and ‘stand out’ as well as the word stress in backfire.

Get students to guess the meanings based on the context. If you’re working with B1 students, you may want to give them definitions to match. After a few minutes, elicit their ideas and ask CCQs to double check if students know what expressions mean.

[Slide 8]

In pairs, students answer conversation questions. Feel free to change the questions so that they are more suitable for your students. These were made with adult students in mind, but if you use it with adolescents, the focus needs to be different.

Thanks for reading.


7 thoughts on “Tobleronegate: a conversation lesson

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