B2 · B2 Grammar · C1 · Grammar activity · vocabulary activity

The Computer says no

Carol Beer.gif
gif from Gfycat.com

Have you ever been to a hospital reception, a bank or any public place where you were treated rudely or even roughly? What did you feel like?

In the last book I read – by the way it was Andrea Levy’s ‘Every Light in the House Burnin’- the narrator fantasizes on picking up a doctor by the throat because she had referred to her dying father as ‘Old man Jacobs’ and shown a great deal of aloofness. The novel, in fact, devotes some chapters to humorously criticizing the English healthcare system. Fortunately, the novel is set in London during the 60s and many things have improved since then.

As an activity that can raise some subject of debate in an English class or serve as a warm-up activity as well as serving the purpose for practising Your listening skills you can click on the video.

After you can also do some use of English practice with a text from Wikipedia on the same subject which has been adapted as an open cloze for missing prepositions, adverbs, relative pronouns/adverbs or articles.

Click here for open cloze

Disclaimers

  • Video from Youtube channel Beferninand
  • Text for Open Cloze from Wikipedia

B2 · C1 · C2 · culture · Word formation

Why do Brits talk about the weather so much?

People walikng in the rain with umbrellas, UK: Wet and windy weekend for Britain
Photo from The Telegraph

Is it actually true that the British spend a lot of their time talking about the weather, or this just another one of those beliefs like ‘we have to have tea at five on the dot or we’ll go bananas ’,  sort of stuff ?  And, if it is true, is this feature shared by other cultures?

Well, I must say that we are particularly fond of talking about the weather, although I would also say that  it’s  a common topic of conversation in Spain too. However, what I do seem to notice is that people from these countries have a different way to approach this subject even when both typically use it as an icebreaker.

Where I live, people usually make exclamations about it. Sort of like ‘Vaya frio! Where a Brit would most probably make a tactfully brief statement of one or two words and polish it off with a question tag, ‘Cold, isn’t it?

Looking into this aspect of British culture, I found this really interesting article  that I’ve used to create a word formation activity for higher levels of English (C1 more or less).

The  article is from the BBC by Linda Geddes

Read the text and focus on each blank  using the words in brackets. The missing words are either adjectives or adverbs as the focus here is to practise with the different types of prefixes (yes, there are a couple of negative ones), and suffixes used to form these words.

Click for word formation activity

C1 · C2 · Listening

Watching a video: Greenland is melting

Can we really deny this is happening? This beautiful island, populated many centuries ago by the Vikings is under threat. But just as Jason Box claims, ‘What happens in Greenland doesn’t stay in Greenland,’ meaning by this, that this is an issue that concerns the whole of humanity.

I’ve used this news from CNN as a listening activity for C levels. The video is of astonishing beauty as well as an alarming call to urgency.

Click for video

C1 · C2 · Grammar activity · Multiple choice cloze

Multiple choice cloze: Can you be sustainable if you’re into fast fashion online?

Are you a fashion victim? Do you spend huge amounts of money on your wardrobe or are you mostly into second-hand stores? What carbon footprint do you think your clothing issues have on the environment? Here’s a multiple choice cloze for English Advanced levels that may get you into thinking twice before your next click to an online fashion retailer.

Text adapted from BBC News.

Click here