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A lesson on a TED Talk: Procrastination

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I have been procrastinating on writing this blog post for a while, but let’s see what goes on “Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator”!

It is a great and funny talk and fits pefectly to Unit 1 of Pearson’s Longman Exam Accelerator but it can be used independenttly when discussing ways of how we carry out our tasks – whether we are disorganised, distracted, efficient, perfectionists or procrastinators.

In any case students are supposed to know the word procrastination, and could have a discussion of their own personality type. If done together with the Longman book, the lesson works best following hte reading on page 61 (Things to do).

  1. Pre-watching:

Students match words and definitions:

1.  to bump it up a)   (before nouns) related to a government
2.  civil b)  a student’s main subject at college or university
3.  deadline c)   a piece of writing or a talk on an academic subject
4.  government d)  polite
5.  major e)   a long piece of writing that is the final part of an advanced university degree
6.  a paper f)    a way of working
7.  thesis g)   to increase the speed
8.  whole-nighter h)  a specific time or dateby which you have to do something
9.  work flow i)    a whole night that you spend studying while you are at university

2. While watching:

a) Students watch the talk from 0:00 until 2:45 to raise their interest when they summarize what they have just heard using hte words from the first activity.

b) Students watch and listen from 2:45 until 3:38 and fill in gaps in the text:

No, no, it was very, very bad. Anyway, today I’m a (1)……………………………. guy. I write the blog Wait But Why. And a couple of years ago, I decided to write about (2)……………………… My behaviour has always perplexed the non-procrastinators around me, and I wanted to explain to the non-procrastinators of the world what (3)……………………………… in the heads of procrastinators, and why we are the way we are. Now, I had a (4)…………………………………. that the brains of procrastinators were actually different than the brains of other people. And to test this, I found an MRI lab that actually let me (5)…………………….. both my brain and the brain of a proven non-procrastinator, so I could compare them. I actually brought them here to show you today. I want you to take a look carefully to see if you can notice a (6)……………………………. I know that if you’re not a trained brain expert, it’s not that obvious, but just take a look, OK? So here’s the brain of a non-procrastinator.

c) Students are put into three groups. They watch and listen to the video from 3:39 until 10:00. They have to describe how the mind of a procrastinator works but the students in one of the groups listen to and take notes about the instant gratification monkey, the students in the other one about the rational decision maker and the students in the third gourp about the panic monster. They then regroup to have one student from each group and discuss the roles of each participant in the procrastinator’s mind.

d) Finally students watch the rest of hte video and answer the following questions:

  1. What happened when he wrote about it on his blog?
  2. What jobs does he mention?
  3. What was the general answer?
  4. What is the other type of procrastination?
  5. Why is the second type dangerous?
  6. What did he find out about his audience?
  7. Why does he show the Life Calendar?

3. Post-watching:

The follow-up can be a discussion on how they solve similar problems, or writing an essay on the topic or doing a survey on types among their peers.

Key:

Matching task: 1g; 2d; 3h; 4a; 5b; 6c; 7e; 8i; 9f

Gap-fill:  (1) writer-blogger; (2) procrastination; (3) goes on; (4) hypothesis; (5) scan; (6) difference

Answer the questions: 1. He got thousands of e-mails from different people; 2. nurse, banker, painter, engineer, PhD students; 3. Everybody has the same problem; 4. When there is no deadline; 5. The panic monster doesn’t wake up; 6. That everybody is a procrastinator; 7. To be aware of what we are procrastinating on

 

 

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Joey’s Room-Mate Search

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Képtalálat a következőre: „Joey's room-mate search”

This is a video-based lesson connected to the topic of ‘Home’. The level is B1+ but it can be adapted to lower levels as well.

Before wathcing

The students are in pairs and discuss the characteristics of a perfect room-mate. After a couple of minutes of discussion adjectives can be gathered (written on the board) in a plenary.

Following the above discussion the students agree on the “perfect ad” for a room-mate. They can even write the advertisement in pairs, so that the ads can be compared and the best one voted for.

The students are told that we are going to watch a segment from the series ‘Friends’, and discuss the situation why Joey is looking for a new room-mate. (Chandler is about to move out as he and Monica have decided to live together. Monica’s room-mate, Rachel is also looking for a new place to rent.

While watching

The students watch the segment and answer the following questions:

  • What 3 things does Joey offer to Rachel?
  • What does Chandler find strange in Joey’s ad?
  • Why is he advertising like that?
  • What is the misunderstanding between Joey and the girl in blue T-shirt?
  • Why did Joey take the shower curtain down? Is his explanation true?
  • Why doesn’t Rachel accept Joey’s offer for the second time, either?
  • What test does Joey give to the girl? Why?

After watching:

The students are in pairs again and write questions that they find appropriate when looking for a room-mate.

They act out an “interview” situation.

Jimmy Wales on English

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Képtalálat a következőre: „Jimmy Wales”

It is beneficial to remind our students from time to time why they are learning English. I found this video the other day as a supplementary material to a unit in Solutions Upper-Intermediate. The unit focuses on writing biographies – I found it a bit dry so here is a short video to make it more alive and discuss the importance of language learning.

First we read the short biography of Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. Then we worked on the vocab, put events in order, found paragraph titles, so usual stuff… Then came the video:

  1. Students watch the video and answer the following questions:
  • What is the connection between Wikipedia and the English language?
  • What opportunities are there for translation in Wikipedia?
  • Why is English the most popular language in Wikipedia?
  • Where does Jimmy Wales have problems understanding English and why?
  • Why do non-native speakers tend to speak more slowly when they speak in English?
  • Why does Jimmy Wales consider learning languages important?

2. Following a discussion of the answers students were given the possibility to discuss their own views of language learning with the questions below:

a) If you use Wikipedia, what language do you read it and why?
b) Why do you think English has become so important world-wide?
c) What „kind of English” do you find the most difficult to understand and why? What’s the easiest?
d) Are you afraid to speak in English with foreigners? Why/why not?
e) Why are you learning English?
f) List at least 3 reasons why you think it is beneficial to learn languages!

The above activity was done in small groups and a spokespersonn from each group summarised the discussions so we could wrap it up in a plenary.

The World’s English Mania

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Many thanks to IELTS Advantage, where I found the post about the best TED Talks the other day. At the same time some of my students were blogging about language learning, more precisely about learning Icelandic,which I found surprising. Anyway, that post and Jay Walker’s talk on why the world is obsessed with learning English inspired me and the result was today’s English lesson.

The lesson is appropriate for levels B1-B2 and focuses on listening and speaking mainly.

1. Warmer

Students are in groups and they come up with a definition of the word ‘mania’.

After discussing their ideas, they get the words of the definitions of ‘mania’ on cards that they have to unjumble to make up the definitions themselves.

Definition 1: An extremely strong enthusiasm for something especially among a lot of people

Definition 2: A mental illness that makes someone behave in an extremely excited and active way.

They brainstorm ideas of what manias people can have, and share them with the whole class.

2. Pre-watching acitivity:

We agree that today we are looking at mania according to the first definition. I put the title of the talk on the board – the students discuss in groups what they think the title means. They try to guess how many people are trying to learn English, why they are trying to learn English and what the benefits of learning Englsih are.

3. During watching:

The students watch the video once to check their predictions.

They watch it for the second time to answer some questions on their worksheet.

3. Post-watching activity

The students discuss in groups if they agree or disagree with the speaker and why. They also discuss why they are learning English and what motivates them when learning a language. The spokesperson from each group reports about their discussion to the whole class.

Survival stories

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This is a video-based activity but in fact I’d rather call it a listening task although the background stories are part of a video clip.
The topic comes from a coursebook: Solutions Upper-Intermediate but as it is based on a true story, it can be used with any theme discussing survival stories, or luck or even disasters with happy ending.
The original story in the coursebook is that of the Baileys, but it was just obvious that other exciting survival stories could be discussed here.

So I took this video and the students only listened to the first 10 stories. As the video is counting down from 25, we listened till nr. 16. The students had to match some key words to the survival stories.
Then they had to understand numbers/dates and what they refer to. They discussed that in pairs before frontal feedback.
Finally they could listen to the 3 and half minutes again and in pairs put together each story as they had heard them.

As follow-up the students have to look for other interesting survival stories, one each of them and present it to the class in detail, thus practising the use of narrative tenses.

The worksheet can be downloaded from here.

Nothing special, just a hint of history…

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There are great teaching materials on the history of England on-line, so you really don’t have to reinvent the wheel to run a history lesson in English. The big question is how to adapt the materials to my students’ language level.

This was the first one in a series and I’d like to express special thanks to www.engames.eu (Zdenek Rotrekl) and tes.co.uk where I could find most of the materials and what’s even more important inspiring teaching resources!

 

Lead-in: As we had done a lesson on the history of the English language, the students quickly recollected the nations and people that contributed to the formation of English, which was a great introduction to the main topic: The Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror.

 

1. I presented the vocabulary with a selection of cards. The sutdents were in groups of “Kingship, Fight and Other Words. All the cards were scattered along the desks and the students had to select the ones that belonged to their group. They had to explain the reason for their choices so new vocabulary was immediately explained.

2. To make sure everything is clear the students had to select the synonyms for their vocabulary set.

3. The groups were now given the most important events of the year 1066 on cards. The task was to put them in the correct order. From time to time a little help was provided with a simple animation of the events.

4. The students then listened to a short text on the Battle of Hastings. To make it easier for them the tapescript can also be watched on the video.

5. I asked some comprehension questions and then different games followed, the best being the On Target game.

6. A light-hearted follow-up can be a song about the English kings and queens.