Commuting: a business conversation lesson

I have been going to São Paulo once a week for the past year. Because of that, the topic of commuting has been on my mind quite frequently and I thought it would be a good topic for a conversation lesson.

This is a lesson aimed at adult students, particularly those who deal with long commutes. However, I have also used it successfully with students that have short commutes. The former get to think whether their life-choices are worth it while the latter get asked what would take for them to give their short commutes.


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You are what you wear: a conversation lesson

I have a student who is majoring in psychology at university. Every now and then I try to find texts that talk about psychology but that are general enough that I can understand and take part in the conversation.

For a while, I have had a video activity to talk about clothes and dress codes and I finally managed to find an interesting text to match with it (from Forbes, of all places). This lesson can be used with adults to discuss the importance of appearance in a work context but could also be adapted for younger students, mainly those who are about to go to university.

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Netflix and online piracy – a conversation lesson

Last year I read Australian newspapers quite often as I was preparing a student to go on a 6-month exchange to Melbourne. I have actually already posted one of the lessons I prepared for him, about Vegemite.

Another lesson was about Netflix in Australia and how it can be compared to what we have in Brazil. I have recently used this lesson again, in light of internet providers trying to limit the amount of data broadband connections can use. This lesson can be used with both adults and adolescents and my students have enjoyed it so far.

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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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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – A conversation lesson

I have recently discovered that one of my one-to-one students is a big Star Wars buff. I had been promising him to have a Star Wars-themed lesson for the past few weeks and the week after Thanksgiving was perfect for it.

Why so, you may ask? It turns out that Thanksgiving weekend in the USA is a big date not only for eating turkey and shopping but also to advertise your blockbuster film. Because of that, new videos and articles were published and those were ideal for the type of lesson I like to teach.

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The Greek Crisis and The Big Bang Theory

Last week I read an article about whether tourists should still travel to Greece despite the economic crisis the country is going through. It reminded me of one of my favourite scenes from the Big Bang Theory and I thought a good lesson would come out of it. I have used it with both adult students, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work with adolescents as well.

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In defence of idioms

A couple of weeks ago I read Damian Williams’ blogpost explaining the problems he sees with the way idioms are taught in English lessons. It got me thinking about why I do like teaching idioms but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Fast-forward to this week when I was preparing a video activity and came across this scene in an episode of New Girl. It made me realize exactly why I think idioms are worth teaching.

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