The One Ronnie (BBC, UK), “My Blackberry’s Not Working!”

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The Video

The late Ronnie Corbett delivers his  classic style of double-entendre-filled British comedy in this video. Simple yet hilarious, this video should appeal to adults and even teens everywhere, although it should be advised that the talk of Ronnie’s “dongle” problems could take some explaining!

Level and Language Focus

This video is great for higher level students to explore word-play, one of British comedy’s key features. Using the worksheet below, you can allow the students take to piece the tricky double meanings (juice=liquid from a fruit/battery power, orange=citrus fruit/mobile phone company etc.)  that can sometimes prevent learners of English fully appreciate this type of comedy.

You can then go on to look at the functional language of describing a problem and resolving a problem, essential for any language course and perfect for role-play.

We recommend this video for higher intermediate, upper intermediate and pre advanced levels. The word play is far too complicated for lower levels although the vocabulary is not too tricky.

Worksheet

You can find the worksheet here: The One Ronnie (Right Click, Save As).

Availability

Watch via YouTube.

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National Geographic (YouTube Channel), “Steel Drums”

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The Video

National Geographic takes on an educational trip to Trinidad and Tobago to learn about arguably their most famous export, the steel drum. The video is short but sweet and would be a good introduction to a class centred on music, culture or travel.

Level and Language Focus

With slow, clear narration, you can use this video with pre intermediate or intermediate levels. There is some difficult vocabulary which can be cleared up by using the worksheet below.

This video is a nice introduction to set up class presentations. You could use the National Geographic YouTube channel and have your students find a video to summarise in the form of a presentation.

Worksheet

thumb ws.JPG Find the accompanying worksheet here: Steel Drums National Geographic (right click, save as…)

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

Dragons’ Den Next Gen Den (CBC, Canada), Culinary Pitches

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The Videos

Dragons’ Den is the Canadian version of the American series Shark Tank, a business based reality show in which budding entrepreneurs bid for the investment of a panel of successful venture capitalists.

These three clips feature food-based business propositions: Junked Food, a gourmet take on of your favourite snacks, DineCasa, an interesting proposition in which you pay to dine in a stranger’s home and Picnix, an al fresco catering service for those wanting to avoid the hassle of preparing their own cucumber sandwiches.

Level and Language Focus

The programme is perfect for business English classes, especially if have to prepare presentations or pitch similar to the videos as the worksheet highlights the specific vocabulary for business presentations.

With this being a fast-paced reality TV show, the language is not easy for English learners and we would only recommend these videos for strong upper-intermediate and above.

Worksheet

ws thumb.JPG Download the free worksheet: Dragons’ Den Canada WS (right click, save as…)

Availability

All the videos are available on YouTube: Junked Food pitch, DineCasa pitch and Picnix pitch.

 

I Didn’t Know That (National Geographic, YouTube Channel), “Making an Artificial Eye”

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The Video

The I Didn’t Know That team visit a medical laboratory to see how artificial eyeballs are made. Every single eye is made by hand and precisely tailored to its wearer. This short video is an interesting introduction to this strange world but maybe not one for the squeamish!

Level and Language Focus

The narration is fairly slow but the vocabulary is very technical in places. Vocabulary like varnish, acrylic, mould and fibres are on the technical side but not completely useless in general life. With the downloadable transcript (below) you could use this video with levels intermediate and upper intermediate.

The video is full of examples of the passive voice (passive tense) and is ideal if you are teaching this grammar point.

The video could be especially interesting for young learners due to the content but it is equally engaging for adults too.

Worksheet

handout thumb  You can download the worksheet here: Artificial Eye Handout (right click, save as…)

Transcript thumb The transcript is available here: National Geographic (right click, save as…)

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube or on the National Geographic website.

 

 

Nilofer Merchant (TED.com), “Got a Meeting? Take a Walk”

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The Video

Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health: next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it into a “walking meeting” — and let ideas flow while you walk and talk.

With over two million views on TED.com alone, this video speaks to everybody, especially professionals who maybe spend a little too long in the office.

Level and Language Focus

This video can be used with either intermediate or upper intermediate classes. As with most TED talks, the speaker presents in a clear manner which is not too difficult to understand plus you have the added bonus of subtitles and a transcript if needed.

During the talk, Merchant uses a wide array of tenses past, present and future. One idea for a grammar extension is to use the worksheet below to do a complete tense review of the majority of the tenses needed at B1/B2 level-it’s one way of dealing with the student who claims they want to learn “all the tenses”!

Worksheet

thumb ws  Find the accompanying worksheet here: Merchant WS

You can also access a copy of the transcript through the TED link below.

Availability

The video is available on TED.com or YouTube.

Jamie’s Dream School (Channel 4, UK) “Alvin Hall’s Guide to Making a Million”

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The Video

TV chef Jamie Oliver invites American financial adviser Alvin Hall to deliver a maths class to inspire a group of under-performing high school teenagers. Hall tells the kids about his hard upbringing and his rise to financial success through self-discipline. Will this story inspire the teens to realise their dreams of one day making a million pounds?

Level and Language Focus

Hall’s diction is slow and clear, and the video should be accessible to learners with a level of intermediate and above.

You can use the worksheet below to introduce the grammar topic of hypothetical situations including the second conditional and the construction I wish…

The video is full of money vocabulary and could be used as an introduction to this important topic.

As the lesson takes place in a high school classroom, young learners may identify more with some of the characters in the clip, but it is suitable for adult classes too.

Worksheet

alvin thub Download the worksheet here: Alvin Hall Talks Maths (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can watch the video on YouTube.

Jamie’s Dream School (Channel 4, UK), “Cherie Blair’s Guide to Prison”

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The Video

This clip is taken from the documentary series, Jamie’s Dream School, in which celebrity chef Jamie Oliver enrols a group of struggling teenagers into a school in which all the lessons are taught by celebrity “specialists”, all of which are leaders in their field. Jamie has selected Human Rights lawyer and wife of ex-PM Tony Blair, Cherie, to open a debate on whether prisoners in the UK should have the right to vote.

Level and Language Focus

The video provides a range of different comprehension challenges. Cherie Blair, a professional speaker, is easy to understand, the pupils however prove a little more difficult. The worksheet below provides quite a good deal of transcript which could make the video more accessible to a good intermediate class. The video can also be used with upper intermediate and pre advanced classes.

The video is great for setting up a class debate. You could take the subject in the video or choose a different one. The grammar focus of the worksheet below is zero and first conditional in debates.

Since this debate is conducted in a high school with a group of teenagers, the video would work especially well in a young-learners class, but not exclusively.

Worksheet

worksheet thumb.JPG Download the free worksheet: Cherie Blair Human Rights Worksheet (right click, save as…)

Availability

You can watch the video on YouTube.