The IT Crowd (Channel 4, UK), Series 1, Episode 1

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The Video

The IT Crowd is a British-Irish sitcom centred around the IT department of a big business. The comedy is a perfect bridge between old-style classic British comedy and modern tastes. Despite the odd reference to sex and mild cursing it would be suitable for teens and adults with the official age-rating being 15. A feel-good geeky comedy for a general audience, this video contains little material that could be seen as offensive.

In this episode, new employee Jen is sent to manage the IT department after writing on her CV that she has expertise in the area. It transpires that the extent to said expertise really goes no further than “sending emails…receiving emails…I could go on…” and the boys in the IT department are none too pleased at her arrival.

Level and Language Focus

The worksheet below concentrates on the Phrasal Verbs littered around the script ranging from the most common in usage (come in, shut up, get out) to more juicy examples for the vocabulary experts (size him up). If you are planning to use the worksheet, make sure you plan for enough time; it could take up an entire 90 minute lesson or two hour-long lessons. You may consider setting some parts for homework so you can watch the episode without pausing for too long.

The language used would definitely suit upper intermediate to advanced learners. You may consider using the video with especially eager intermediate students or those that work in the IT industry.

Worksheet

thumb A worksheet featuring vocabulary and phrasal verbs is available here (right click, save as…) The IT Crowd

Availability

Watch the episode on Vimeo. You can also watch the video via the Channel 4 website but you will need to complete a short registration process (free) and be navigating from the UK. If you access the video through Channel 4 you have the added bonus of subtitles.

The Office (BBC, UK), Being the Boss

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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.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC, USA), Donald Trump Interviews Himself

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The Video

Chat show host Jimmy Fallon dresses up as Donald Trump for this sketch in which Fallon conducts a spoof-interview with the man himself; the real Donald Trump.

This is a comedy video in which Trump is able to laugh along with Fallon’s cartoonish portrayal of him. There is nothing offensive in the video and it is suitable for all adult or possibly teenage audiences.

Level and Language Focus

The video can be used with levels intermediate and above. The vocabulary used is fairly basic but there are a few moments where the speech speeds up.

During the interview, Trump talks about policies he will introduce if he becomes president. Using the worksheet below, you could use this video to teach future tenses and forms and the first conditional.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.

Self- Study
A riddle quiz is available here:
riddle

The Late Late Show (CBS, USA) – Alanis Morissette Updates ‘Ironic’ Lyrics

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The Video

Chat show host James Corden invites Alanis Morissette to perform a 21st century version of her classic “Ironic” featuring references to racist Facebook friends, electronic cigarette breaks, having a house full of DVDs and getting Netflix and many more.

The lyrics include a few America-specific references, but with the help of the worksheet below the video is universal enough to appeal to audiences worldwide.

Level and Language Focus

The video could be used in intermediate, upper intermediate or pre advanced classes although it may prove a little easy for the latter.

One possible grammar extension is to use situations in the song to practice the third conditional as detailed in the worksheet below. This could then easily be extended to mixed conditionals if it is on your syllabus.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube.

Graham Hill, “Less Stuff, More Happiness” (TED.com)

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The Video

In this short TED talk (05:49), Graham Hill tells us to strip back our lives if we want to be happy. He talks about the huge personal storage industry which continues to grow as we keep on accumulating more and more stuff.

Level and Language Focus

With subtitles and a transcript available, the video can be used differently for a variety of levels but we recommend using the video in classes of intermediate, upper intermediate or pre advanced level.

There are a lot of numbers used in the video and this is something you could expand on using the worksheet below. The video could be used alongside the teaching of quantifiers for which there is a conversation activity below.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
An extension conversation activity to teach quantifiers (pre-intermediate or intermediate) is available here:

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube, or via the TED website. YouTube offers subtitles and TED has subtitles plus a transcript too.

Home Study
Test your comprehension using this riddle quiz:

The Office (BBC, UK) “Nightmare Co-Workers”

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The Clips

Two clips from BBC’s The Office (UK). In the first clip, Gareth annoys Tim by taking personal calls during work hours, they then argue about their job titles and who is more important. The second clip again features Tim and Gareth and this time their boss, David (played by Ricky Gervais). Tim plays a petty practical joke on Gareth who is not impressed.

Level and Language Focus

The clips are short (1:44 and 2:36) so there isn’t a lot of difficult language to teach. The clips could be used with classes of level intermediate and above. As all the action takes place in an office the class could provide a humorous introduction to a business English class, or simply a class discussing work.

As detailed in the downloadable worksheet in the section below, a language extension to these clips could be using infinitive structures to negotiate e.g. I want you to stop taking personal calls at work.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
The Office (Right Click, Save As…)

 

Availability

You can view the videos on YouTube 1 & 2.