By Kevin Dooley via Flickr

By Kevin Dooley via Flickr

A designer Lessons ESL lesson plan developed by Gareth H. Jones

Thank you very much to Gareth H. Jones for submitting another great lesson plan to us.  Gareth is an English teacher in Barcelona and he runs  http://www.inglesnaturalmente.com – an excellent resource for Spanish-speaking ESL students. You can also find Gareth on Twitter – @gar_jones

The lesson is based on a BBC video report focusing on the psychology of music – and how it comes to affect shoppers during the Christmas season. The video is short, but contains a variety of challenging accents and is suitable for advanced students – both in groups and in one to ones.

The plan in full is below, and you can download the Student worksheet and teacher instructions here: Does festive music make shoppers spend more money (Teacher instructions)

  • Level Advanced:  B2+/ C1
  • Video comprehension and gap fill
  • Exposure to various British accents
  • Class discussion

Stage One  Warmer:      

Ask Students – “As quickly as you can, name three Christmas songs. “

Options:

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • I wish it could be Christmas every day
  • Last Christmas
  • All I want for Christmas is you
  • Merry Christmas Everybody (Slade)
  • Jingle Bells, Frosty The Snowman
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  • White Christmas
  • Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
  • Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
  • Donde Esta Santa Claus
  • Feliz Navidad

(100 Greatest Christmas Songs )

Follow up by asking them why those songs came to mind, which is their favourite, etc.

Stage Two – Video comprehension

Play the below video once asking the students to watch and listen. Optionally, ask them some gist questions to focus their attention:

  • How does slow music affect shoppers moods?
  • How do shops benefit from playing music?

Source: BBC.CO.UK

Next give the students the gap-fill exercise asking them to listen again, and complete each space with one word.  Each sentence will require either one or two words.

Gap Fill

The science behind ______________  music could be more complicated than we think.

But actually, they could be enticing you to stay longer and  __________    __________.

Slow it down and we’ll relax, stay longer.  __________  it  ____  and it’ll improve our mood.

No matter how rank and how awful the song is, you  __________    __________humming it and whistling it.

[blonde woman]  It gets on your __________  after a bit but generally it’s all part of it, int’it?

So while the shops are wishing it really could be Christmas every day, your  __________    __________might not thank you.

Answer Key

The science behind background music could be more complicated than we think.

But actually, they could be enticing you to stay longer and spend more.

Slow it down and we’ll relax, stay longer.  Speed it up and it’ll improve our mood.

No matter how rank and how awful the song is, you catch yourself humming it and whistling it.

[blonde woman]  It gets on your nerves after a bit but generally it’s all part of it, int’it?

So while the shops are wishing it really could be Christmas every day, your bank balance might not thank you.

After they have completed the exercise, get students to compare answers in pairs then review the answers as a group.

Next check for any unknown vocabulary. You might like to have the students work with some of this vocabulary, using it to produce their own sentences – either in class as an extension activity, or later on for homework. Words and phrases that may come up include:

  • to slow down
  • to speed up
  • to get on one’s nerves
  • to catch oneself (doing something)
  • a bank balance

 Stage Three

Move on to a paired discussion using some or all of the below questions (add your own as you see fit)

  • Do you enjoy Christmas shopping?
  • How do you feel about:

-  the crowds
– the queues
– the prices
– the Christmas lights

  • Do you like the Christmas songs or do they get on your nerves?
  • Do you agree that Christmas songs might entice you to spend more?
  • What about music in shops in general, is the intention to make people spend more or simply to create a better atmosphere?   Or does the latter influence the former?
  • What effect does music in shops have on you?
  • How important is the Christmas period for the retail industry, especially during this time of recession?
  • Will people spend in the same way as always or will they be more prudent?

Finish with a group review of some of the main points raised in the discussion.

Review any language issues that came up. Write errors you have noted  during monitoring on the board and encourage peer correction.

(ED note: And why not finish on a song)

Creative Commons Licence
Designer Lessons by George Chilton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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