Saturday Night Live (NBC, USA), Pitch Meeting

top.jpg

The Video

The Saturday Night Live team takes us inside the advertising department at Cheetos where two teams are pitching for the Super Bowl half-time advert. One team are flatly rejected when they present ideas of kids hanging out having fun. The other team, however, find their pretentious projections of human struggle coupled with corn chips far more welcomed.

The video is a direct reference to the half-time ads of this year’s Super Bowl, but, as long as your students have access to a TV, they should recognize the current trend for the pseudo-philosophical nonsense used by companies to sell us their wares.

The video is designed for an adult audience but remains fairly clean. There are some parts which could potentially spark cultural sensitivity, so be sure to watch the video before showing it to your students!

If you teach any advertising executives, this video could provide some light relief yet still remain connected to their line of work.

Language Focus and Level

The narration in this video is fairly slow and the vocabulary is largely non-challenging meaning you could use this video with good intermediate, upper intermediate and if it’s a good fit (pre) advanced students.

You can use this video to talk about describing the plot of a movie or TV show. The worksheet below takes the student through all the necessary grammar to do this, including the difference between dynamic and stative verbs and the use of present tenses (present simple, present continuous and present perfect) when describing a story. This grammar leads on to a speaking activity in which students write their own “recap” style presentations of their favorite movies/TV shows, great if you are looking to do an extended speaking activity.

Worksheet

thumb  Find the main worksheet connected to the video here: SNL Pitch Worksheet

thumb-ii   There is also a separate handout about Stative Verbs available here: Stative Verbs Handout.

Availability

Find the video over at YouTube.

The other optional video detailed in the worksheet is here.

The Apprentice (BBC, UK), Series 4 Episode 3, “Themed Events”

top

The Video

Another action-packed episode of one of the BBC’s flagship shows, equally peppered with moments of business acumen and cringe-worthy ignorance. This time the two teams are given the task of putting on a themed event in a London pub with one of the teams ending up facing the wrath of the UK’s very own Donald Trump: Sir Alan Sugar, who picks apart where it all went wrong.

There are plenty of moments in which organizing events, marketing strategies, profits and margins and general business are discussed which provides an entertaining alternative for your Business English classes.

Language Focus and Level

The video should not be used with any students with a level lower than upper intermediate. Even if using this video with B2 students, it should be used selectively: we would mostly recommend it for private business students who enjoy challenging/heavy material,  B2 classes with a good listening level who are used to processing a lot of information or classes/private students who are looking to study an academic certificate in the near future (e.g. CAE, IELTS)

With the vast amount of vocabulary, idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs detailed in the worksheet (below), the video would be ideal for pre-advanced and above. Due to the length of the episode and the amount of things that could be focused on, this episode’s accompanying worksheet is quite long and could potentially provide 2+ hours worth of work (depending on how in depth you want to get).

The main challenge to any student watching this episode would inevitably be the high level vocabulary and there is also a grammar section in the worksheet below featuring the third conditional, should have and functional language to talk about what went wrong/blaming others.

Worksheet

thumbA worksheet is available here: The Apprentice – Events

Availability

Watch the video over at YouTube or purchase the episode via iTunes (£1.49, UK).

The Apprentice (BBC, UK), Series 1 Episode 11, “The Interviews”

Top

The Video

The Apprentice launches its UK version with Sir Alan Sugar in place of Donald Trump and the BBC’s slick cinematography using London’s “The City” a beautiful backdrop. Sugar plays his role especially well mixing the super successful businessman with his tell-it-straight, East End beginnings.

In this episode, the remaining contestants, after weeks of grueling tasks, face the ultimate challenge in the form of a series of cutthroat job interviews with a selection of the UK’s top business moguls.

The programme is suitable for adult Business English and general English classes and contains some bad language. Pay attention to the times given on the worksheet and you can skip a lot of the filler and concentrate on the important parts of the episode.

Level and Language Focus

The episode is 45+mins long and designed for native speakers so it is certainly not recommended for learners below an upper intermediate level. If you are going to use the video with upper intermediate students they should be aware of the challenge ahead of them and be open to material of which some of the content they won’t understand. What the episode does offer to these students is a good mix of different speech: there is the clear speech of the voice-overs, more informal moments with some colloquial language and the business tone of the actual interviews.

The video is obviously perfect for Business English students and any students who have a job interview in English on the horizon. Using the worksheet below, the video can be played in a group or one-to-one class.

The worksheet below focuses mainly on the vocabulary used in the episode.

Worksheet

thumb Download the worksheet that accompanies this video here: Interviews

Availability

Catch the episode over on YouTube.

The Office (BBC, UK), Being the Boss

top

The Videos

The Office is a multi-award winning comedy series with both American and British versions. These three clips come from the original Ricky Gervais version in which his lead character David Brent shows us all how not to manage a business. From conducting interviews to appraisals and introducing new staff the office, every boss can surely relate to what they see in these videos.

Level and Language Focus

The worksheet below focuses on the topic of being the boss which has its obvious usage for bosses and business English classes, but the language is not too technical or business-heavy that you could not use these videos in a general English class too.

Although the videos feature situations that use as much social/everyday language as business language, the worksheet below asks what advice the student would give to David Brent in the situations features using modals of advice and other advice forms.

These are not videos to consider using for intermediate or below levels and are probably best for upper intermediate and above.

Worksheet

A worksheet is available here: the-office

Availability

Watch all three videos through YouTube: Most Awkward Interview Ever, Big Keith’s Appraisal and David Brent’s Prank Backfires.

 

BBC News and 5 News (UK), English Sparkling Wine Stories

top.JPG

The Video

Not many people associate great wine production with England, but due to rising temperatures and the same chalky soil running from France, under the channel to Southern England, English sparkling wine production is experiencing a boom that looks to continue long into the future.

Level and Language Focus

The two videos are the clear narration you would expect from TV news channels. The vocabulary used in the videos is not too technical and should be accessible to learners with intermediate and upper intermediate levels.

The focus of the worksheet below is the Business English vocabulary used in the video. You could also use the video as an introduction to talking about the environment and climate change since this is the focus of the news story.

Worksheet

tumb Find a free worksheet here (Right Click, Save As…): Sparkling Wine

Availability

You can watch the 5 News story on YouTube.

The BBC video is available by following the link below. Unfortunately we cannot embed the video on this page but you should be able to watch it freely on the BBC website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-29936464

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

top.JPG

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.