Protests in Brazil: a conversation lesson

This is the second time in less than a year when I have prepared a lesson about protests in Brazil. My political bias aside, I think this is an important part of the nation’s zeitgeist.

This is undoubtedly a controversial topic. Much like the last few lessons I have posted, some sensitivity may be in order when choosing which groups to use it with.

Lastly, although some adolescents students  may not be old enough to vote, I believe this is a topic that will interest adults and teenagers alike.

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Susie Wolff and International Women’s Day: a conversation lesson

Being the unaware man that I am, I only remembered today was International Women’s Day when I checked Facebook this morning. As luck would have it, I was already planning to have a lesson about Susie Wolff, because of a quote I came across last week.

In a short interview, she said: “We are all defined by our strengths and character, not by our gender.” I thought that would strike a chord with my female students, but decided to expand the lesson a bit to generate more conversation.

I do realize she is now retired, but the point is women achieving things in a field dominated by man. She now runs the Dare to be Different initiative to showcase, inspire and celebrate women in motor sports.

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Oscars and Hollywood Whitewashing: a conversation lesson for adults

The Oscars usually provide good material for English lessons, as most students like talking about movies. This year was no different, even though the focus of this lesson is slightly different from the ones I have taught in the past.

Much has been said about the fact that there were no African-Americans among this year’s nominees and this issue was addressed both by John Oliver in his TV show and by Chris Rock in the opening monologue of the Oscar ceremony.

Disclaimer: although adolescents might enjoy talking about this topic, the first video does include swear words, so be mindful of your audience.

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Pink Tax – a conversation lesson

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a really funny Ellen DeGeneres video. In it, Ellen makes fun of the Bic for Her pens and the fact that they are more expensive than regular Bic pens. Having an interesting video, I started looking for an article I could use it with and found out that women pay more than men do for a variety of products. This is now called pink tax, which refers to the premium women pay for certain products (that are generally pink).

This is the lesson I taught to an adult student, but it can probably be used with young adults (16-18 year-olds) as well.

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Talking about the Paris terror attacks

One of the things I like about being an English teacher is that, depending on the teaching context, you can take a variety of different topics to class and discuss it with students.

For the last few days the terrorist attacks in Paris have dominated the news and I wanted to hear what my students have to say about it. It can be a controversial topic, but I haven’t been afraid of tackling those in the past.

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Halloween video lessons for adolescents and adults

As an English teacher Halloween is one of my favourite events. Not because I particularly enjoy wearing costumes (I don’t think I’ve worn one in the past 10 years), but because I love using TV series in my lessons. There are some great Halloween episodes around and these are two of my favourites, one to be used with adolescent groups and another with adults.

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Drug Testing Is Coming to E-Sports

I rarely play video games or online games these days, but as a teacher of people who do, I try to keep abreast of what is going on in that universe.

There was an article on the New York Times a couple of weeks ago that could be used to talk about the topic of online games and ethics in sports. The title ‘Drug testing is coming to E-sports’ hints at the fact that players are using PEDs to try to get an edge, just like athletes in professional leagues do.

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Teaching Curse Words

Today’s post was supposed to be Coursebooks – part 2. However, I’m having problems uploading the videos I want to use, so it has been postponed until next week.

Instead, I’m going to tackle a topic that is somewhat related to my first post. Last year I was teaching a language course for teachers (C1/C2) and someone brought up the subject of curse words. There was enough interest in it that I promised to base a lesson on swear words, including some practice.

This is what I came up with. Please don’t read any further if you are easily offended.

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Talking about drugs in an English lesson

I’ve recently left my job at an English Institute and started teaching more and more private students. One of the things this has allowed me to do is tackle topics that I might not have been able to in the past. Inspired by 52 I started keeping an eye out for thought-provoking articles that I could use with some of my students. Then I came across an article from The Economist, which is one of my favourite sources of authentic texts, discussing the liberalization of marijuana in the United States. That was exactly what I was looking for. Continue reading