Starbucks vs. Trump’s immigrant ban: a conversation lesson

So, I’m finally back posting a conversation lesson since December. The reason I didn’t post any lessons in January is twofold. I was busy with an intensive CELTA course (my first time as a Main Course tutor, no less), but more than that, I just didn’t teach that many lessons.

Trump is someone I imagine will provide fodder for many classes in the next few years, and his first few actions as president are a good example of that. My Facebook timeline was full of articles and opinions on the ban. In addition to that, there were some really nice Super Bowlo commercials that motivated me to create this lesson.

As it is almost always the case, this is aimed at adult students but can be used with adolescents in the 15-17 range too, as they are likely interested in world news and may be able to discuss it. I’d recommend this to B1 and B2 students, as the vocabulary from the text is not too complex and the video has very good subtitles.

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Communication at work: a business conversation lesson

If you are still teaching this week, as I am, it likely means you have business students. At least in Brazil most regular classes have wrapped up in preparation for the holidays.

Because fo that, I have decided to post a business lesson I’m using with my last few students this week. I personally hate talking on the phone, so I saw myself in the article and thought it made for some great discussions of business practices. This is aimed at adult students who are B1 or B2.

As a side note, this will be the last lesson posted this year, so thanks everyone for stopping by and spreading the word about the blog.

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Like my Addiction: a conversation lesson

Some of my friends who also post lessons online have tackled some difficult topics recently. Beatriz Solino posted a lesson about abortion and Cecilia Nobre had one about rape. Although I must admit I’m not brave enough to discuss those topics with my own students, talking about these lessons with them and also with my dear friend Natália Guerreiro motivated me to work on today’s lesson.

A couple of months ago a popular Instagram account revealed itself to be a publicity stunt to raise awareness of alcoholism in social media. This, in turn, was covered by many newspapers and TV channels and the news went viral. You can find a link to the Instagram account that started things here.

This is aimed at adolescents (16-18) and adults who are B2 or C1, but it can also be used with B1 students if you include pre-teaching stages before the video and the text. The topic may be controversial in some cultures (it is a PARSNIP topic, after all), so be mindful of your own students and their backgrounds.

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Word of the Year: a conversation lesson

I’m a big word nerd and I usually pay attention to dictionary news. About a year ago I posted a lesson on the topic of new words that had been added to the Oxford Online Dictionary. I’m also interested in which words different dictionaries pick as their ‘word of the year’ and a couple of weeks ago my friend Debora Schisler shared an article on Facebook on this topic. And thus a lesson was born. 🙂

Now, this one is aimed at advanced students, both because of the length of the text and because some of the words mentioned in the article are very abstract, which may cause difficulties for lower level students. Age-wise, I have used it with both adults and teenagers and both had a lot to say about post-truth, which is definitely relevant about the political moment in Brazil.

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Thanksgiving: a conversation lesson

Many of the lessons I post on the blog are things I come across during the previous week, reacting to things that are happening in the world or to things I read or watch. This one, however, had been waiting in the wings for a while.

Although Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Brazil, most people who study English know about it, because of how often it is depicted in American films and TV series. I thought this text, which focuses on family, would be an ideal way to talk about it.

This lesson is aimed at adult students who are B1 and above. I haven’t tried using it with adolescents, but if you do, make sure you change the questions in the last slide.

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Death by Selfie: a conversation lesson

One of the great things about being a Celta tutor is that you get to work with people that are very creative and whose ideas you can borrow. That is true for things teaching techniques and ideas for activities, but also for texts to be used with students.

Today’s lesson is based on an assignment written by Daniel Sheeran, who is one of my Celtees this semester and it is used here with his authorization. Daniel is an English Teacher from Ireland who has been living and working in Brazil since 2014. He is based in Piracicaba and is currently taking the CELTA at Seven Idiomas in Sao Paulo. He claims not to be related to Ed Sheeran, but I’m not sure I believe him.

I have used this lesson with both adults and adolescents and it worked really well even though reactions were quite different. It can be used with students who are B1+ but you will want to pre-teach some words before the reading.

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Doing things alone: a conversation lesson

I think I’ve said it before, but one of the biggest sources of inspiration for the lessons I post here is Facebook. So many of my friends are teachers and they are always sharing interesting articles and ideas. This lesson is no different, based on something Isabela Villas Boas shared a week or so ago.

Personally, I’m a fan of doing things alone, but I wanted to find out how my students felt about it. This is aimed at  adults and young adults who are B2 or higher. However, much like other lessons, some pre-teaching of vocabulary would make this accessible to B1 students as well.

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