Tiny apartments: a conversation lesson

I have a friend who is apartment hunting at the moment and every week she complains about how small and expensive apartments have become. This reminded me of a story I had seen on Facebook a while back about really tiny apartments in Asia. I thought to myself this could be a good topic for a conversation lesson.

This lesson is aimed at adult students, but could work with adolescents if they are looking to move out of their parents’ house to go to university (which is very common in Jundiaí, as 17-year-olds go to bigger cities to attend university). The vocabulary in the text is not particularly difficult, so this can be used with B1-B2 students. Consider using subtitles for the video if your students are not used to a British accent, though.

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Gen X vs. Millennials: a conversation lesson

Technology is a topic that I like talking about and that my students generally enjoy too. A couple of weeks ago I came across this article that said Generation Xers use more social media than Millennials. I found that quite surprising and thought it would be a good starting point for a conversation lesson.

Because I work mostly with adults, I tried to steer the conversation to work. If you decide to use this lesson with younger students, you may want to change the context a bit. I’d recommend this lesson to students who are  B2/C1, but you can also use it with B1 students. The video has no dialogues, but you will need to pre-teach some words in the text to make things easier.

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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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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.

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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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