Cameron Russell, (TED, ted.com), “Looks Aren’t Everything”

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The Video

Model Cameron Russell delivers a frank take on her industry, dispelling myths that we would all be happier if only we were a little skinnier. Perhaps the best part of the talk is when Russell deconstructs the tricks of the glamour world, showing us personal photos taken on the same days as sleek, professional snaps.

The talk has racked up over 10 million views on YouTube, 16 million on TED and would prove interesting to both a male and female audience. There is a professional tilt to the talk and the worksheet below extrapolates the language of giving presentations. There is also an extension task were you can set your student(s) up to give their own presentations on their respective industries.

Language Focus and Level

The main bulk of the talk is delivered in a clear, easily understandable manner and would be suitable for upper intermediate and above. There is extra vocabulary help included in the worksheet (below) and you always have the option of subtitles either through ted.com or YouTube.

There is a section in the worksheet dedicated to conditionals and how they can be used in presentations.

Worksheet

thumb  Download the worksheet here: Cameron Russell

Availability

You can access the video either through ted.com or YouTube.

 

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.

What Would You Do? (ABC News, USA), “Too Young to Shoot Guns?”

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The Video

What Would You Do? is an American feature in which actors stage socially delicate situations to see the reaction of the public. With a generally liberal outlook the series is a feel-good pat on the back for Americans which at times seems to suggest that problems such as racism, sexism and homophobia no longer stand. Having said this, the series is pretty good for looking at hypothetical situations in class.

The video connected to the worksheet below looks at attitudes to kids using guns at a gun shop in Texas. The video shows just how much support for guns exists (albeit in a gun shop!) and may provide a good insight into the American psyche as the adage “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is throw into the debate again and again.

The video does feature the sale and use of guns which could be a sensitive subject to some. If you have a class of people who used to live in warzones please consider the use of this video carefully.

Use the worksheet below to include more videos from this series either in the lesson or as homework.

Level and Language Focus

A lot of the interaction in this video is subtitled, aiding understanding but also providing listening practice. The main listening practice however comes from the helpful narration over the top of the action which is clear and simple making the video accessible and useful for intermediate and upper intermediate levels. If you have a particularly adventurous class, even a strong pre-intermediate class could follow the action, but we would only recommend this if you have a good knowledge of your class.

The video is great to teach the second conditional.

Worksheet

thumb Download the worksheet: What Would You Do (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can watch the video via 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.

 

Would I Lie To You? (BBC, UK) Truth or Lie?

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The Videos

The programme is a British comedy panel show in which celebrities tell largely unbelievable anecdotes with the objective being that the other team, after a bout of heavy questioning, guess the validity of the story.

The three celebrities in these clips are The Daily Show star Trevor Noah, broadcasting favourite Sir Terry Wogan and last-but-not-least Des O’Connor.

The three clips are light-hearted and suitable for adult classes, or could be used in most teenage classes.

Level and Language Focus

The activity Two Truths, One Lie is always  a good ice-breaker activity on the first day of term etc.. With the videos (spoiler alert!) being two truths and one lie, you could use them to introduce the activity in class or as a follow-on. Caution, however, is advised using these videos with a class you have never met before as the general level needs to be quite high, not great if you have no knowledge of their strengths or if they are a little rusty after a long summer holiday. The activity doesn’t only need to be presented as an ice-breaker; you could use the two truths, one lie activity at any point to review/introduce a grammar point providing the three statements utilize said grammar. One obvious grammar point connected to the three videos would be past tense(s) and/or used to and would for past habits.

Recommended levels for these videos are good intermediate, upper intermediate and pre advanced.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
Would I Lie To You ESL (Right Click, Save As…)

 

Availability

All the videos are available on YouTube: Trevor Noah, Terry Wogan and Des O’Connor

Room 101 (BBC, UK), Selected Clips

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The Videos

Room 101 is a BBC comedy series in which celebrities are invited to discuss their pet hates and persuade the host to put them in Room 101–the place where the world’s most foul evils are stored.

The four clips feature the popular UK comedians Ross Noble, Jason Manford, Phill Jupitus and Jack Whitehall. The show is clean, inoffensive and suitable for adult or teenage classes.

Level and Language Focus

The videos are a rewarding challenge for good upper intermediate groups, and are perfect for pre advanced and advanced classes.

The worksheet below looks at phrasal verbs using the particles “up” and “down” in relation to the video.

Worksheet

Find a worksheet connected to these videos here:

Phrasal Verbs Room 101 Worksheet (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

All the videos are available on YouTube: 1, 2, 3 & 4.

 

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.