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.

Advertisements

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).

BBC News (BBC, USA), “New Child Billionaires”

glass

The Video

These tech-savvy, business-minded children are already making waves in the professional world. BBC News America, visits a number of individuals at the Incubator School, Los Angeles to speak to these fascinating youngsters.

Level and Language Focus

There’s nothing complicated about this simple BBC News story with nice clear narration and easily understandable vocabulary. If you have students who are particularly enthusiastic about listening activities, this video could provide a challenge to high pre-intermediate students. The level is certainly accessible to all intermediate students.

When teaching how to express the future, we often focus on going to and will and completely ignore the fact that simple verbs like want, plan, hope etc. can also express a future idea. These constructions normally do not give students many problems, so the worksheet below could serve as a gentle introduction to the grammar topic of the future.

Worksheet

thumb  Download the worksheet here:child-billionaires

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

ODN (YouTube Channel), “Taxi Hotel”

ny.JPG

The Video

ODN visits New York City and a plucky entrepreneur converting vans and taxi cabs into affordable accommodation for the tourist on a budget. It is a short and enjoyable news story that everyone will have an opinion about.

Language Focus and Level

The grammar used in this video is pretty simple with some more advanced vocabulary included. You can use the video with good pre-intermediate and intermediate level students.

There is no grammar focus with this video but the worksheet below could be used as a quick class introduction to the topics of tourism, hotels, holidays or travel.

Worksheet

thumb   Download the worksheet here: taxi-hotel

Availability

Watch the video over at YouTube.

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.

 

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

Nilofer Merchant - Got a Meeting Take a Walk TED.JPG

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.