Listen to some short extracts from interviews with world-famous writers. Match each extract (1 – 6) with the best heading (A-H) and write the letter in the appropriate box. ONE of the headings does not correspond to any of the extracts. The first extract is an example. You can listen to the clips twice.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced their decision to step down as senior members of the Royal Family last week. As it happens, I am dealing with current affairs and the media in my C2 classes. And as of next week, we will be talking about diversity and inclusion, tackling some aspects of race relations. That is why I decided to use this news story as an excuse to design some activities to link both units.
- Watch this clip from BBC’s Newsnight where royal correspondents discuss their views on the subject (source). Pay attention to the underlined expressions related to ‘getting information’:
2. Read the following opinion article on the treatment that the tabloids (and the media in general) have given to the couple, and especially, to Meghan Markle as mixed-race (source). Some sentences have been removed. Choose from sentences A-G the one which fits each gap (1-6) best. There is an extra sentence which you do not need to use.
The text includes a wide range of vocabulary, with some expressions which might actually be interesting to include in your wordstock; however, they may make it harder for you to understand the text. Should you have any trouble, you can click on this interactive version of the text on Thinglink:
3. Mediation in writing: You are a team of journalists working for El País in English. You have been asked to write a news story for their website on Harry and Meghan stepping down as senior royals.
El País is a serious newspaper. Therefore, they tend to use:
- formal register
- impersonal style (for example, passive voices)
- it should read as objective as possible
- they tend to check collocations carefully. (Help with that: https://natalialzam.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/online-collocation-dictionaries/)
- they like to incorporate some serious media catchphrases
Read the following source https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10721340/queen-arrives-church-summit-meghan-harry/ and select the relevant information
- Think about how you would express those ideas in a way which is more suitable for your newspaper and your target audience.
- Write a 150-175 word news story.
Download the pdf version of the source article (text only)
4. Follow-up: Share your views on Twitter. Use the hashtag #Megxit to be part of the conversation. [I opened a shared Twitter account for my students so that they would not need to use a personal account. Using Twitter provides real online interaction, and it seems only natural to use social media when discussing ‘the media’ in 2020].
- How do you feel about #Megxit? Do you feel for them? Deep down, are you saying ‘good riddance’?
- Do you support their decision to step down as senior members of the family?
- Have they been harassed into leaving by the press, especially the tabloids?
- Should they continue to be supported financially by the Crown (i.e. by British taxpayers)?
Listen to this news report about a new measure that Instagram is trialling in an effort to silence criticism that it has a negative effect on users’ self-esteem.
- Can you see any positive aspects of Instagram? Can you see any downsides?
- Has Instagram had any effect on society (relationships, money-making…)?
- Would you say Instagram has changed the way people see themselves? If so, to what extent?
- How different would your life be if Instagram hadn’t been developed?
- Some people don’t use email anymore, because they prefer to communicate through social media. What’s your take on this?
You can find below a series of resources which can be used if you need to deal with the topic of money and finances:
Debit card ad:
Money and consumerism- Spotify playlist
Word cloud with idioms from songs:
- Listening comprehension exercise (C1)- contenders for the new 50 GBP note
- Listening comprehension exercise (C1)- Alan Turing to feature on the new 50 GBP note
- Listening comprehension exercise (C1)- Charged for paying cash
Edpuzzle quiz– clip captioned in English, questions and comments aimed at working on the vocabulary of money. (C1)
Winning the lottery:
- Cashless societies:
- Pensioners splashing out vs cash-strapped millennials:
- Reading (B2)- My year of no spending
- Buy now-pay later deals:
- Facebook cryptocurrency launched:
- Have you/Would you invest in bitcoins? Why? -Watch these clips from The Big Bang Theory (The Bitcoin Entanglement)
Model declared bankrupt:
Sex and the City- Ring a Ding Ding (the protagonist finds herself broke after years of splashing out on, among other luxuries, shoes)
Crime and money:
- Cybercrime and fraud:
- Measures to prevent fraud:
- Using a dead woman’s card (B2):
Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 show which has been on air since 1942. The premise behind the show is that the guest has been cast away on a desert island, and they are left with eight recordings, a luxury item and a book, all of their own choosing, together with the complete works of Shakespeare and a copy of the Bible or any other religious/philosophical book. During the show, the guest and host discuss the former’s life, while explaining the reasons why they decided on those particular tracks, book and item.
The guests tend to include world-class celebrities from the fields of culture, literature, Science, entertainment…You can access the archive on the BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs archive. You can find a selection of shows here (literature and music-related podcasts).
This same concept could also be used as a speaking activity for a unit on music/entertainment; to practise second conditionals; or as an ice-breaking activity on the first days of the school year, for students to get to know each other, or for teachers to get to know their students better.
- What eight recordings would you take to a desert island? Why have you chosen every one of them? How relevant are they to your life? (If you are pressed for time, ask students to pick fewer recordings- it’s a rather time-consuming decision-making process).
- What luxury item would you take and why?
- What book would you take and why?
It could even be regarded as a mediation activity: in the Companion Volume to the CEFR, mediating a text includes descriptors for expressing a personal response to creative texts (including literature) [p. 116]. In a way, the student describing their choices (the ‘guest’) would actually be mediating those songs and their lyrics to their partner (the ‘host’), as they…
- may express his/her reactions to a work, reporting his/her feelings and ideas in simple language, and say in simple language which aspects of a work especially interested him/her (A2)
- might be relating emotions they have felt to those in the song, describe the emotions he/she experienced at a certain point in a story, or explain briefly the feelings and opinions that a work provoked in him/her (B1)
- could describe his/her emotional response to a work and elaborate on the way in which it has evoked this response, or express in some detail his/her reactions to the form of expression, style and content of a work, explaining what he/she appreciated and why (B2)
- could be asked to describe in detail his/her personal interpretation of a work, outlining his/her reactions to certain features and explaining their significance (C1/C2).
Listen to this clip from Woman’s Hour about children and teenagers who refuse to go to school. Then answer the questions on the google form below. You can listen to the clip twice:
Open form in a new tab
Pay attention to the feedback given to both right and wrong answers.
You can finally listen again and read the transcript: