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By Maria Zabala Peña at: englishforeso@yahoo.es or mariazabalapena@gmail.com. For ESL without photocopies go to my other blog HERE

New!! VIDEO BLOGS on English for Communications and on English for Office Applications (Computers). See links below.

English for Communications. Click HERE. By Beatriz Papaseit Fernández and myself, María Zabala Peña.
English for Office Applications (Computers). Click. HERE. By Beatriz Papaseit Fernández and myself, María Zabala Peña.

Want to help? Shut up and listen

Ted Talk about the Roles of NGOs
Level: intermediate
Ernesto Sirolli got his start doing aid work in Africa in the 70's — and quickly realised how ineffective it was.

Why you should listen

Ernesto Sirolli is a noted authority in the field of sustainable economic development and is the Founder of the Sirolli Institute, an international non-profit organization that teaches community leaders how to establish and maintain Enterprise Facilitation projects in their community. The Institute is now training communities in the USA, Canada, Australia, England and Scotland.
In 1985, he pioneered in Esperance, a small rural community in Western Australia, a unique economic development approach based on harnessing the passion, determination, intelligence, and resourcefulness of the local people. The striking results of "The Esperance Experience" have prompted more than 250 communities around the world to adopt responsive, person-centered approaches to local economic development similar to the Enterprise Facilitation® model pioneered in Esperance.

Pre watching  questions 

1.What do you think the title of the talk means?
2. Do you think growing tomatoes in Zambia could be a good idea?
3. Do you know the meaning of the words "paternalism" and "patronizing"?
4. Do you think planning is important?
5. Decide what New York will be like in 100 years time
6. What do you think these companies have in common?

Carnegie, Westinghouse, Edison, Ford, all the new companies, Google, Yahoo.

7. Who is Richard Bradson?  

Listen to the video and compare your answers


Our Concept of Beauty

Nick Vujicic
Level: medium to high level. Students should be able to understand related text. 
Aim: students become aware  people with disabilities can be beautiful. I have used this task as a follow up for the TED talk on shame/bullying  by Monica Lewinski . You can find Monica Lewinski talk HERE
  • Puzzle reading text.   Download photocopiable text  HERE
  • BBC Video. See link underneath
  • DV8 Video embedded below 

Teacher tells the students they are going to discuss our concept of beauty.
Students read the text about,  Nick Vujicic , an Australian man who was born with an extreme disorder: tetra-amelia syndrome.   Download photocopiable text  HERE
  • Student A reads his/her part of the text  tells B about it. 
  • Student B reads his/her part of the text and tells A about it 
Students  watch the 4 minute  video on the BBC page HERE. This BBC page is also the source of text used above. 
Alternatively the teacher can  use  other videos as   Mr. Vujicic  presence online is big.
Students discuss the different topics that may arise: bullying and beauty.
  • What is our concept of beauty? How is it created?  
  • Is Mr. Vujicic beautiful? 
  • Would you be interested in meeting him? 

To end up on a high note, see  how beautifully this man dances.

The cost of living. DV8 physical theater 

The Price of Shame. Monica Lewinsky Ted Talk

Aim: Fuel conversation between students/ raise awareness of the harm of pervasive gossip
Level: high
  • Students answer the pre watching questions.
  • OPTIONAL: write Monica Lewinsky in GOOGLE search engine and compare the results with what students mention in question 1 of the  the pre watching questions.  
  • Students listen to the TED. TALK .Yiu may want students to read the script of the talk if their level is not high enough. 
  • Students discuss the talk and/or  write a composition on the subject.  See suggestion below 
To download a photocopiable version of the questions and script, click HERE 

A) Pre watching questions:
Work in groups to answer these questions?
1. Who is Monica Lewinsky?
2. Do you normally read  gossip (magazines  or the net) or watch  reality shows?  
2. What is impeachment?
3. What is sexual harassment?
4. What is bullying?
5. Have you ever been shameful of your behavior or deeply regretted something you did or said?
B) Watch the TED TALK The Price of Shame 

C) Post Watching questions/ composition 
  1. Has Monica Lewinsky talk changed your idea of her? 
  2. Has the talk given you any new insights into the subjects of bullying or harassment ?
  3. Do you think pervasive gossip affects human relations? How? 
To download a photocopiable version of the questions and script, click HERE 

Show and Tell: Cultural Awareness. Culture with small C.

Aim:  Learn culture (with small C)  through language
  • Students choose a topic from provided list or suggest a topic of their interest
  • Everyclass/week one or two students present their topic
  • Teacher insists that these presentations should be short ( about 2 minutes) and to the point.  
This is a list of possible topics:
Jack'-o-Lantern      Simon says    Boxing day   Heckling   Peekaboo  Kermesse

Pancake day  (ShroveTuesday)   Nolliwood   Limerick (literature)   Club/ BLT (food)

M16   Lollipop Lady   Square Mile   Fracturing (geology)   A baker's dozen

Luddite   The Proms   Great British Bake off   Fear of FOMO   Toff Vs. Chavs

Glastonbury   Crumpet   Poppy day   Red Nose day   The Shard   Conkers

Big Issue   Ale   National Trust   Essex girl   Graceland    Geek  SAT exam

Ivy league   Black Friday   Sillicon Valley /Palo Alto   The ig noble prize

Uncle Sam,  The Hansard, Anna Wintour   John Doe  Ted Talks  Redneck  Hajj

Thanks to Maggie Hawes, my teacher Trainer in Barcelona, British Council 2015, for  inspiring me to start this task with my students.
Course I took: UK Today: Sharing Culture through Language

Etiquette for Answering Phone Calls. Pitch, Tone and Inflection.

Aim: students understand the importance of pitch, tone and inflection when answering phone calls.
Students read the questions in the handout
Students answer the questions while/after watching the video
  • Lady in Red video on pitch, tone and inflection (available on  youtube or download from link below) 
  • Handout for students
  • Key  to tasks/instructions (if needed) 
Download the materials  HERE 

A History of Ideas. BBC Animations/Clips

Questions for The 4 truths of Buddhism

Aim: students read,  and listen to short animations about history of ideas. Students use this information  in order to prepare a task.
Level: high
Length of animations: 2 to 3 minutes
Subjects: various: Freud, justice,  Locke, Adam Smith and Economy, What is a human being,  Plato... you name it.

Source of animations: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/3vVjcY47k2p5Wsnj3ZFHV5W/a-history-of-ideas 

  • activate student's previous knowledge on the subject by asking questions
  • OR: I am preparing  some pre-while watching questions for some of the videos. As I prepare them I will post them here for free download. 
Optional : This is the list of tasks I have prepared
  • Buddhism: The 4 Noble Truths: Find task HERE
  • The idea of cultural transmission. Find the task HERE
  • Free will defense. God vs Evil HERE
  • watch the video
  • prepare a task: summary, extension, paraphrasing, show and tell...
Click HERE to access BBC animations online

You may find some of these animations in YOUTUBE: See some samples below.
FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS   (See tasks above)

(See tasks above)

The Free Will Defence: A Good God Vs. The Existence of Evil (See tasks above) 

Airport transfer

Work in progress 
Aim:   Students produce and rehearse an airport transfer.
Level : Intermiediate to upper.  Lower level students can read the transcript of the video before watching/dicussing the video
  • listen  to two airport transfers (arrival and departure). 
  • read the transcript  (if necessary)
  • discuss the content of the video,  body language and speed of the speech. 
  • prepare/rehearse their transfer.
  • perform their transfer in front of the class or in groups .

These videos have been obtained for YOUTUBE
If you want to download the script or videos , please click HERE

Arrival. From the airport to the hotel 
Length: 2 minutes 

Source: Youtube : https://youtu.be/sTh0bTCqB2M

Departure: From the hotel to the airport 
Length: 2 minutes  

Source: Youtube :  https://youtu.be/vqvfJKq_sEk

If you want to download the script or videos , please click HERE