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.

 

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Expedia (YouTube Channel), “San Francisco Vacation Travel Guide”

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The Video

Expedia is a leading online travel company offering informed videos for tourists featuring cities from all over the world. This video features the jewel of the US West Coast, San Francisco, with the narrator talking us through the scenic beauty, cultural attractions, diverse communities and world-class cuisine this popular Californian destination has to offer.

Level and Language Focus

As a video with a potentially large ESL audience, the narration is slow and very clear for English learners. Adapting activities to suit your class (the use of the script, subtitles etc.), you can use this video with classes of levels intermediate and upper intermediate.

The worksheet below concentrates on the grammar of quantifiers used throughout the video. Quantifiers are usually studied at most levels with increasing difficulty as the student progresses.

Worksheet

thumb Download the accompanying worksheet here:San Francisco WS (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

Watch the video freely through YouTube.

watchwellcast (YouTube Channel), “How to Be More Confident”

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The Video

“You can’t always get what you want…but you can try!” watchwellcast tells us. This short but informative video gives a few helpful tips on making ourselves heard and our needs recognised. A light-hearted animation and humorous content makes the subject easily accessible and stimulating to all, especially those who need an injection of  confidence in their speaking.

Level and Language Focus

The speed and level of vocabulary make this video good for intermediate and upper intermediate levels. There are some tricky words but these are covered in the worksheet below.

A possible grammar extension you can teach using the worksheet is to look at constructions which use the infinitive, for example I want you to…, I need you to…, I would like you to… to form assertive statements and then conduct role-plays.

Worksheet

thumb Get your free worksheet here (Right Click, Save As…): watchwell worksheet.

Availability

Watch the video on YouTube.

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.

Ric Elias (TED.com), 3 Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed

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The Video

Ric Elias had a front-row seat on Flight 1549, the plane that crash-landed in the Hudson River in New York in January 2009. What went through his mind as the doomed plane went down? At TED, he tells his story publicly for the first time.

As you can imagine, the content of the video is quite weighty and the speaker asks some searching questions. If your class do not know each other too well then they may not want to share some of the more personal information that may arise in discussion of the topics raised.

Level and Language Focus

The language of the video is not too difficult and would be suitable for levels starting low intermediate to upper intermediate. If your student(s) have a good vocabulary base, the video could even be used with pre-intermediate if subtitles are used.

The worksheet below includes an activity involving hypothetical situations past and present, the main focus being the use of the verb wish and the associated grammar.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:
TED Bucket List (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can watch the video on the TED.com website with the added benefit of subtitles (in an array of languages) and a full transcript.

You can also watch the video over at YouTube.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show, “The Technology of Yesterday”

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The Video

Talk show favourite Ellen shows a flabbergasted group of youngster some of yesterdays most hip gadgets: a chunky 80s cell phone, a typewriter and an answer phone. Cheeky Ellen starts pulling the kids’ legs for a light-hearted bit of comedy.

Level and Language Focus

The language of the clip is not too complicated so it is recommendable for either intermediate or upper intermediate levels.

Ellen talks about both new and old gadgets so this video could be a good introduction to class about technology or computers.

Worksheet
A worksheet can be found here:

Ellen Worksheet (Right Click, Save As…)

Availability

You can view the video on YouTube, or on her official website, both with the bonus of option subtitles.

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: