Amanda Palmer (TED.com), “The Art of Asking”

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The Video

This is a TED talk by alternative musician Amanda Palmer, most famous for her work with the band The Dresden Dolls. Palmer talks through the rise of her band and how they came to use crowd funding to release their music.

This video will obviously appeal most to music fans, but the crowd funding-model itself could provide an interesting discussion.

You could use this video in conjunction with New English File (Oxford), Upper Intermediate, Unit 9A, especially the Would You Pass the Bagel Test? article as the idea of honest contribution and “The Art of Asking”, is common to both.

Level and Language Focus

There is a lot of vocabulary in this video that students below upper intermediate level may find too much of a challenge, so this is definitely a video only suitable for upper intermediate students and above.

Inspired by the theme of asking, the worksheet below features a grammar section on the functional language of asking, specifically the use of the infinitive in constructions like “I would like you to do me a favor…”

Worksheet

thumb.JPG Find the free worksheet to accompany this video here: The Art of Asking.

Availability 

Watch the video on YouTube or directly from the TED website (subtitles available on both). A transcript is also available through the TED website.

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.