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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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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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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Life before the internet: a conversation lesson

A couple of weeks ago I read an article on Facebook describing the last generation that remembers life before the internet. Most of my adult students belong to that group (as do I), so I thought  this could lead to some interesting conversation.

This lesson is aimed at students who are 30 or older, but if you have a classroom with a mix of students where about half of them are over 30, this could also work well. In that case, you probably want to pair people up in such a way that they can share their different experiences.

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