Brazil’s meat scandal: a conversation lesson

If you live in Brazil you have certainly had a conversation about the meat scandal that made the news last Friday. It stands to reason that students will have conversations about the same topic if they work for multinational companies or if they have foreign friends.

With that in mind, I choose this topic to provide students with vocabulary to talk about this topic in English. This is aimed at adult students who are B2 or C1. You may need to adapt the text further or pre-teach more vocabulary if you want to use it with B1 students.

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DNA Journey: a conversation lesson

My wife sent me a video some weeks ago that I knew would be able to generate some interesting conversation. However, at the time, I couldn’t come up with an idea for a text for it and just saved it for future use.

Yesterday I came across the video again, this time on Facebook, and remembered having read something about Trump coming from an immigrant family. I put two and two together and a conversation lesson was born.

This is aimed at adult students, but could easily be used with teenagers who are 15-18, or any group that you think is mature enough to deal with the idea of heritage.

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Casey Affleck and International Women’s day: a conversation lesson

At this time last year, I posted a lesson about the International Women’s Day. I wanted to tackle the same theme this year but wasn’t sure how to go about it. And then the Oscar happened.

Now, for most people, the most memorable moment of the Oscar was the fumbled best picture award, but I was more interested in the controversy surrounding Casey Affleck’s win. Then Audrey Duarte shared a very interesting article on the topic and my mind was off to the races.

This lesson is aimed at adult students but it can also be used with young adults. The level is aimed at B2-C1 both because of the length of the text and its vocabulary.

Finally, if you liked this lesson you may also want to check out this one about Hollywood Whitewashing.

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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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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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