A vocabulary lesson based on Glee

Some weeks ago BrELT organized its first online event, the BrELT Queer Day. During one of the talks I told my friend Thiago Veigga about the first time I remembered bringing up the topic of sexuality with my students. I did a little digging recently and it turns out it was in 2011, using an episode of Glee.

The lesson’s main  aim was vocabulary, but the pre and post watching activities ended up being very interesting and leading to some very interesting conversation. Initially, this lesson was given to a group of young adults who were at university (19-22-year-olds), but it can also be used with younger or older students by changing the questions slightly. I’d recommend this for students who are B2 or higher. If you have access to the original episode with subtitles, that would work with B1 students as well.

Finally, for this lesson, I’m going to try out writing the post in a similar way to what Cecila Nobre has been doing on her blog (which you should definitely check out by the way).

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6-hour workday: a business conversation lesson.

The length of workday has been a hot topic in Brazil lately and I thought contrasting Brazil’s proposal (having a 12-hour workday) with what has been happening in Sweden (experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of a 6-hour workday).

This is a lesson better suited to adults, but if you have a mixed group (adults and adolescents) you can get the younger students to compare workdays with how long their school days are.

The text has been shortened a little and you can use the material with B1+ students. If you are working with intermediate students, do remember to use the close captions available in the video – they are generally pretty accurate.

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Paralympics: a conversation lesson

I had wanted to have a lesson about the Paralympics for a couple of weeks now, but hadn’t been able to find an article or video to do it. Then Cecilia Nobre shared a video on Facebook entitled ‘it’s time to stop calling disabled people inspirational’ and I thought that was an interesting way to approach it.

This lesson could be used with adults or adolescents who are B2+ but with some support this lesson could also be adapted to B1 students.

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Ryan Lochte: a conversation lesson

The Olympic games are the gift that keeps on giving for conversation lessons. Although the games ended two weeks ago, they are still being talked about and we now have the Paralympic games starting tomorrow.

The Ryan Lochte story interests me firstly because I like swimming, but also because it’s so crazy that you almost end up believing it (as in, nobody would be that stupid and entitled, would they?).

This lesson can be used with students who are B1+, but there are follow-up activities for C1 students as well.

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Burkini Ban: a conversation lesson

The burkini ban created some outrage last week and I thought it would be a good topic for a conversation lesson. The text I chose also touches on the subject of politics, which can be a good segue to talk about other events in Brazil.

This was originally used with a group of C1/C2 teachers, but I have shortened the text. Still, some of the language used in the text is complex and I’d recommend you use it with B2+ students. This discussion is also more appropriate for a group of adults or young adults.

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Charity Water: a conversation lesson

 

Most of the ideas for lessons I post here come from either a video I come across on Facebook or something I read in online editions of newspapers. This one, however, comes from a podcast.

I’ve been doing a lot of driving recently and podcasts keep me entertained. The best one I listened to this year was an interview with Charity Water’s founder Scott Harrison, which you can find here. It really struck a chord with me and I thought it could generate meaningful conversation with my adult students.

This lesson is aimed at students who are B2 or above, but can be easily adapted for B1 students if you don’t use the podcast snippet.

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Olympic Games: a(nother) conversation lesson

If you live in Brazil, like I do, it seems that the Olympic Games is all everybody is talking about. Back in June, I posted a lesson based on this topic and it continues to be one of the most clicked posts on the blog after two months. Because of that, I’ve decided to post a new conversation lesson I used last Saturday, the day after the opening ceremony took place.

The idea behind this lesson is to explore two ideas: the first is that a picture is worth a thousand words and the other is that pictures can be deceiving. This was originally aimed at adult students, but could also be used with adolescents and young adults without making too many changes.

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Post-vacation Blues: a conversation lesson

Whenever my wife and I travel during holidays we have these conflicted feelings at the end of the trip. We usually long to get home but, when we  do, there’s a little sadness to the fact that holidays are over and it’s time to get back to the routine.

With that in mind, this was a lesson for a student who was coming back from a trip to the USA earlier this year and one that I think is appropriate for the first week of classes. If you have a group of students it’s likely that some of them will have travelled in July, but even those who didn’t will already have experienced the feeling.

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Ethical Living: a conversation lesson.

Living ethically is something I have been thinking about recently, particularly how difficult it can be to do good things when you are aware of the consequences of your actions.

I found an article that reflected my opinions on the topic and a new lesson came out of it. This is better suited for adults and young adults, although I imagine some adolescent students who are mature for their age or who are interested in environmentalism will appreciate it too.

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Rio Olympics: a conversation lesson

I had been thinking of having a lesson about the Rio Olympics for a little while. Last week my friends Cristina Serafim and Cecilia Nobre both shared the same article on Facebook describing the situation in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the games. I saw that as a sign that the time had come.

The article shows some of the negative aspects of the games, so I thought it would be a good idea to contrast it with a video showing some of the positives. This lesson is appropriate for both adults and adolescents, even if they are not into sports.

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