C1 · Listening

Listening: How do you become a marine biologist?

Rachel Butler, marine biologist and underwater film-maker speaks about how she chose a career that she was passionate about.

The video is from BBC Earth Unplugged.

C1 · C2

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.

B2 · C1 · Listening

Watching a video: The Panda who didn’t know she had twins

Giant panda
Featured image by Getty

Here’s a short video activity to help practise the listening skill for Upper Intermediate and Advanced levels.

The news broadcast  BBC Earth.

C1 · Multiple choice cloze

Multiple choice cloze: The panda who didn’t know she had twins.

Here’s a multiple choice cloze for advanced levels based on news from BBC Earth.

B2 · C1 · culture · Word formation

Never liked him anyway

Trump

Looking  for some authentic stuff for my teaching syllabus, I came across the Website ‘Never liked it anyway’. This website was set up as a mean by which broken-hearted people could get rid of their pain by actually selling a ‘reminder’ of their split up relationships as well as offering them the chance to emotionally cleanse feelings by telling the story that is behind the object they wish to flog.

Many were the stories I read, but there was one that really caught my eye and provoked a spasmodic burst of laughter I found impossible to repress. As a woman who cannot believe that individuals of this type should be able to climb so high up on the social ladder, and as a woman who constantly feels insulted by his utter stupidity, misogynist interventions and vulgarity, I feel I must do ‘my bit’.

I never liked him anyway. What’s more, I think he’s absolutely loathsome. But what worries me most, isn’t that this person finds no limit in vomiting outrageous content, but the fact that he rules a democratic country and is supported by a group of people who obviously find him amusing and applaud his ‘interventions’ by giving him pats on the back along with chokes of laughter.

If we allow somebody (especially somebody in power), to insult a person who has been emotionally or sexually abused, or look the other way when he’s  mocking an impaired journalist, and refuse to acknowledge his constant curbing of human rights, we are showing the symptoms of a sick civilisation, the very one we sustain as an icon of the ethical and cultural heritage we feel so proud of.

These are no longer the times of the Roman Empire and their bloody violent circuses. Neither should political meetings be modelled on WWE RAW. He has got it all wrong and fortunately, there are many that are willing to point this out in some way or other. Someone called yesimserious wrote a post on Never Liked it anyway, and because I fully agree with the content and absolutely love her/his witticism, I’ve turned the entry into a word formation activity for my blog.

Click for word formation activity

B2 · C1 · culture · Listening

Skara Brae

Skara_Brae

So you thought you  knew all about interior design and comfort at home, right? You thought that we, modern-day humans, had invented comfortable beds, hygienic bathrooms and all those things that make our homes tasteful and cosy. Well I have some news for you, because that is what I thought until I discovered Skara Brae.
Skara Brae is a Neolithic settlement consisting of eight stone-built houses located on the coast of Mainland (the Orkney Islands). Its origin dates from 3180 BC and was occupied by families for about 600 years. The theories that explain why its inhabitants left the village are several.  Some historians say that this was caused by an abrupt climate change, while others claim that a violent storm forced the inhabitants to flee from the village leaving behind many of their belongings.  Whatever the reason was, the result was that the village remained covered with sand and earth for many centuries and was forgotten until 1850 when a severe storm hit Scotland, stripping a large tract of land off the coast and consequently, uncovering the village.
It was then when the locals discovered the settlement that was in such a good state of preservation that it has provided a wide insight into the lifestyle of the people who lived there. Thanks to this, we now know what these people ate and did for a living. We also know that they had stone-made furniture and a primitive form of toilets. These folks really knew about comfort!

Skara Brae gained Unesco World Heritage Site status and is probably older than the Pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge. It is also known as the Scottish Pompeii and is a ‘must visit’ whenever going to Scotland. However, when visiting, have in mind that strict rules are applied to visitors as the settlement is extremely sensitive to the effects of these, which could cause irreversible damage.

The video is from Archaeosoup productions Youtube

B2 · C1 · Listening

Can you eat just one?

corn_puffs

Have you ever felt that you couldn’t control a a strong drive to eat something? Are you one of those people that have to fight against themselves in order to avoid buying certain products on display at the supermarket? Do you often find yourself visiting your refrigerator, at late hours (while everybody is fast asleep), hoping, wishing and keeping fingers crossed that there is still, half a jar of chocolate spread left?

If you identify with these situations,  you could be suffering from the effects of a behavioural addiction called food addiction. This addiction is characterised by a compulsive consumption of high fat and sugary foods that activates the reward system in humans, making them want more and more of the same thing. This doesn’t happen to be a coincidence as the food industry is well aware of this, and consequently, creates food that will be highly palatable for the great majority, despite the adverse consequences that this has on people’s health.

Here you have a listening activity from The National CBC News programme.