The Ellen DeGeneres Show, “The Technology of Yesterday”

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The Video

Talk show favourite Ellen shows a flabbergasted group of youngster some of yesterdays most hip gadgets: a chunky 80s cell phone, a typewriter and an answer phone. Cheeky Ellen starts pulling the kids’ legs for a light-hearted bit of comedy.

Level and Language Focus

The language of the clip is not too complicated so it is recommendable for either intermediate or upper intermediate levels.

Ellen talks about both new and old gadgets so this video could be a good introduction to class about technology or computers.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:

Ellen Worksheet (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube, or on her official website, both with the bonus of option subtitles.

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Graham Hill, “Less Stuff, More Happiness” (TED.com)

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The Video

In this short TED talk (05:49), Graham Hill tells us to strip back our lives if we want to be happy. He talks about the huge personal storage industry which continues to grow as we keep on accumulating more and more stuff.

Level and Language Focus

With subtitles and a transcript available, the video can be used differently for a variety of levels but we recommend using the video in classes of intermediate, upper intermediate or pre advanced level.

There are a lot of numbers used in the video and this is something you could expand on using the worksheet below. The video could be used alongside the teaching of quantifiers for which there is a conversation activity below.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
An extension conversation activity to teach quantifiers (pre-intermediate or intermediate) is available here:

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube, or via the TED website. YouTube offers subtitles and TED has subtitles plus a transcript too.

Home Study
Test your comprehension using this riddle quiz:

Breaking Bad Season 5, “Nothing Stops This Train”

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The Clip

This clip documents the filming of the famous train heist scene in the fifth season of Breaking Bad. Join the crew and actors on set as they film this highly complicated sequence featuring a huge train which breaks down mid-filming. The video is also interspersed with clips from the final take so warn your class of spoilers before you play it to them!

Level and Language Focus

The video should be used with levels Upper-Intermediate and above.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
Breaking Bad Worksheet (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.

 

The Office (BBC, UK) “Nightmare Co-Workers”

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The Clips

Two clips from BBC’s The Office (UK). In the first clip, Gareth annoys Tim by taking personal calls during work hours, they then argue about their job titles and who is more important. The second clip again features Tim and Gareth and this time their boss, David (played by Ricky Gervais). Tim plays a petty practical joke on Gareth who is not impressed.

Level and Language Focus

The clips are short (1:44 and 2:36) so there isn’t a lot of difficult language to teach. The clips could be used with classes of level intermediate and above. As all the action takes place in an office the class could provide a humorous introduction to a business English class, or simply a class discussing work.

As detailed in the downloadable worksheet in the section below, a language extension to these clips could be using infinitive structures to negotiate e.g. I want you to stop taking personal calls at work.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
The Office (Right Click, Save As…)

 

Availability

You can view the videos on YouTube 1 & 2.

MasterCard, “Priceless Elephant” (TV ad)

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The Clip

In this TV advert for MasterCard, an elephant sets out to try and cheer up his flu-ridden keeper by hitting the shops.

Level and Language Focus

The language used in this ad is sparse and simple, therefore making it a way to integrate video into elementary or low pre-intermediate classes.

The worksheet below could accompany a class based around numbers or shopping.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
Elephant Worksheet (Right Click, Save Target As…)

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.

Inside Amy Schumer, “Calling The Cable Company”

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The Clip

Amy’s internet connection is playing up so she takes a deep breath and picks up the phone to the cable company helpline. Full of funny moments, the situation she finds herself in during the call is one everybody can relate to.

Level and Language Focus

The service language used in the clip is not too difficult to understand and could be used for a strong pre-intermediate class upwards. An obvious extension would be an activity on telephone English, or the clip could provide a good introduction to the topic.

Worksheet

A worksheet is available here:

Inside Amy Schumer (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.

 

The Apprentice (BBC, UK) Series 1, Episode 6, “Advertising Executives”

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The Episode

The UK version of this global hit replaces Donald Trump with Sir Alan Sugar producing a far classier, business-focussed affair. In this week’s task, the teams become advertising executives producing a TV and press ad campaign for the mass-market.

Level and Language Focus

The video is perfect for adding a little more fun to business and professional English classes, it also has mass appeal for any adult class. There is a good variety of speaking styles: interviews direct to camera, presenting to a panel, arguing and discussing and the commentary via voice-over. The action does become rather heated and there are plenty of expletives, so the episode isn’t suitable for sensitive audiences.

There is plenty of business English vocabulary to study (see worksheet below) and a possible language extension would be to introduce the third conditional for blame, “If you had spent more time on the press ad, it wouldn’t have looked so terrible”.

Worksheet

A worksheet about the task-part of the show is available here:

The Apprentice – s01e06 Worksheet (right click, save as…)

I would recommend using the worksheet in class and instructing the students to watch the rest of the video at home for homework.

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.

 

Self-Study

Here is a Riddle Quiz that students can complete away from class. It concerns the same material as the worksheet but, depending on the students, it could be useful for them to watch at home before watching in class.