A designer lessons ESL Lesson plan developed by George Chilton

An advanced ESL video lesson aimed at practising listening comprehension, comparatives and superlatives.

Lesson aims:

  • Discussion
  • Forming opinions
  • Writing
  • Public speaking

Two pairs of eyes in the dark, cartoon-styleI’m typing in the dark. I’m not being artsy or figurative here – this is quite literal. My touch-typing skills are being put to the test. I’m apparently not very good at it either. I moved into a new place over the weekend and I’m really hoping that power-cuts aren’t a regular feature. It’s probably okay though – as I think, perhaps, that the weather is to blame. The thing about living in Barcelona is that, although it’s a nice city with plenty to do, see, learn and experience, they really don’t deal with mildly unpleasant weather at all well.
It is sunny most of the time, cloudless and even warm in winter as the city’s sheltered by the mountains. It sounds wonderful, right? But, as a consequence, the people have become soft. Cumulonimbus and cirrostratus fill the Mediterranean-reared Catalan with an overwhelming sense of dread, and they come to shake with fear if the sun is even slightly covered. They don’t go out in the rain for any reason at all. Wind is an unnatural force that makes things move in an unexplained, uncanny way. I’ve been here over three years and I too have become similarly weather-afflicted. The infrastructure in this city is no better; the internet slows down to a dial-up era trudge when it rains and when it comes to travel, it gets worse; the underground metro station roofs leak so badly that you need to take an umbrella with you to avoid the torrents of rain water that’ve been filtered through the sewer. No-one’ll fix this though, because they refuse to go out in the rain.  Today, during “Europe’s cold snap,” as the BBC christened it, it’s a little nippy at around 5 degrees centigrade – so the power gave out. For this, I type in the dark.

Enough whining. On with the lesson plan I guess.
This is one I’ve tried and tested a few times, and is wont to make your office-addled adult students a little bit bitter, but don’t worry. Offer them a wry smile and have them get on with it. I’m giving this one an GE slant, but it can be adapted to suit almost any type of class, Extensive FCE, BE and YL included.

It’s a simple interactive video lesson that involves comprehension, discussion and writing. The majority of the language should be generated by the students themselves. There are lots of discussion breaks and the students have to opportunity to give their own opinions.

You may well already be aware of the “Best job in the world” competition that Tourism Queensland  began back in 2009. It was a wonderful opportunity for people to take on an AUD $150,000 post, caretaking an island on the Great Barrier Reef for six months. Take a look at the campaign launch video, as found on Youtube.

Candidates had to submit a 1 minute video explaining why they were the right person for the job.

Note: These videos can now only be found 0n youtube, as the original website has been redesigned.

You can find the job description here: http://www.slideshare.net/DragonI/59-island-caretaker-great-barrier-reef-presentation (thanks to Sophie Yates for passing this on)

Stage one -Warmer

Ask your students where in the world they would most like to work. Visa restrictions don’t apply – they can choose anywhere they like, so long as they can justify it. If your class is small enough, brainstorm places on the board and ask for their thoughts. This is a great opportunity for them to use some interesting language.

Useful phrases the students might look for:

good quality of life, low cost of living, scenic, stress-free, good job opportunities, high salaries

Next ask them what job they would like to do. It can be any job – it’s up to them. They should think of the ideal situation for them. Again, experience and qualifications are no obstacle. Give them a few minutes to talk and explain their reasons.

There should be a variety of ideas as to what the ideal job is. So far I’ve heard – the King of Spain, A fighter pilot (to protect the world from aliens) a CEO, a Ship’s captain, a hairdresser and more. Each had some very interesting justifications!

Now give them error correction as a class.

Stage two

Introduce the website for the Best Job in the World. If you are not able to display it on a projector, it might be an idea to knock up a printed version. That shouldn’t take long if you’re MSWORD or Publisher savvy.

Show the Campaign Launch Video http://youtu.be/Of6EBA1pmdg (it has to be on youtube or downloaded via Zamzar.com as they do not allow embedding). Ask the students if it is a job that would appeal to them. They tend to say yes.

Now ask them what the job entails. You’re looking for points along the lines of:

  • To be an island caretaker

    Deutsch: Tauchen am Great Barrier Reef

    Image via Wikipedia

  • To promote tourism in Queensland
  • To write a blog
  • To encourage eco-tourism

Then get the students to brainstorm personal qualities / traits that would be beneficial for a strong candidate. you can do this as a whole class.

Adventurous, fit, active, intelligent, a good communicator, nature-lover, etc.

There are 16 finalists featured on the website – http://islandreefjob.com/about-the-best-job/

Explain that candidates had to produce a video or no more than 1 minute long.

Split the class into groups of 5 – they are going to act as a panel of judges, choosing the ideal candidate for the job of island caretaker and basing their decisions on the criteria they just decided on.

Show each video twice and ask each individual student to take notes based on each candidate regarding:

  • Video Quality
  • Personality
  • Experience
  • Personal Skills

They must then individually give the candidates a score out of 10. After each video has been shown, the students should share their thoughts with the rest of their group. They should do this briefly;

I liked the video, but I thought the candidate was too self-confident.

After the students have watched all five videos, they should compare and contrast the candidates. This useful for revising comparative structures and vocabulary.

  • The more he spoke  the less I liked him (the/the)
  • She was as enthusiastic as he was (as/as)
  • X was more qualified than Y (more/less than)
  • I thought X was similar to Y (similar to)

Stage Three – Writing

Students must now write a paragraph declaring their chosen winner. They can revise superlatives here.

Once they have finished, you can hold a class-wide vote and find out their overall winner. You can tell them it was in fact Ben from the UK that one.

So far, all my classes have also chosen Ben as the winner.

Follow up homework

It only seems natural that the students write and present a one minute presentation on why they are the best person for the job. Or, if you have time, you can do it at the end of the class.

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