Migration, facts & fiction

Migration is a global issue ... but this is nothing new. Throughout recorded history (and before, presumably), there have been waves of migration. And, frankly, current concerns about migrants are insignificant compared with, say, the problems caused by Goths, Vandals and Huns - modern migrants don't go in for much burning, sacking and pillaging.

However ... a lot of people are agitated about migration, and immigration policy is a very sensitive issue in the politics of many countries. To cite one powerful example, immigration was arguably a major factor underlying the UK's decision to leave the European Union in June 2016.

The recording presented in this page is from the BBC's programme More or Less, which attempts to determine hard statistical facts about how much immigration there really is in the UK, as well as present some of the ideas about how those statistical facts should be interpreted and what should be done about them.

The recording may be played as a whole, straightforwardly, in order to raise the issue, provide students with background information about the UK, and discuss how to apply critical thinking to statistics.

The material may also be used to practise detailed and accurate reading comprehension, by deploying the following exercises.

Listening tasks and skills

Four sections of the recording are covered by four different types of task:

1. Detailed cloze listening ... an ear-training exercise, requiring students to identify precise words accurately

2. Listening for True/False ... practice in skimming for overall meaning, but also requires scanning for the relevant sections of the text which prove whether each statement is True or False. ** This exercise is provided in both 'off-screen' (handout), and 'on-screen' (projected) modes

3. Listening to complete cloze notes  ... 'cloze notes' means that a framework of notes are provided, summarising the key ideas of the text, but with gaps which students have to fill by detecting phrases central to the overall meaning

4. Open listening, leading to discussion ... 'open' means that students should think about whatever catches their attention - i.e. thinking critically (and probably taking notes)

Note that the sequence 1 > 4 above reflects a movement from 'controlled & structured' listening to 'free & unstructured' listening.

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More or Less podcast

   More or Less on immigration 

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The tasks, explained

1. Detailed cloze listening (beginning - 2'09") ... Best practice, I would assume, is to play the section of recording three times, in a sequence like this:-

Play 1 - ask students to grasp the general sense of the section. You might take questions, even discuss the ideas a little.

Play 2 - first, give out the worksheet, and allow a brief read-through to notice where the gaps are. Then play the section through again, requiring students to write in quickly the target phrases in the gaps. (With weaker groups, you might allow a Play 2 B, going through again to give them a second chance to grasp the target words.)

Play 3 - go through the section slowly, stopping at each gap and checking answers. This may be a good point to reinforce the meaning of the various target words and phrases, since they are of value in terms of Transferable Academic Language.

Here are the words / phrases that fit into the gaps, listed in the order in which they appear in the text:-

... migrants ... currently ... increase ... growth ... had access ... for example ...

... somewhat ... mystery ... typically ... net ... unusually ...

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2. Listening for True/False (2'10" - 6'09") ... An exercise in skimming for overall meaning - although, as always with True/False questions, students then have to scan for the precise point in the text where relevant information is given.

This exercise can be done in two ways: off-screen (print and give out the relevant worksheet), and on-screen (project the online quiz provided below)

Off-screen

As with the Detailed Cloze above, I would suggest that best practice is to play the section of recording three times, in a sequence like this:-

Play 1 - ask students to grasp the general sense of the section. You might take questions, even discuss the ideas a little.

Play 2 - first, give out the worksheet, and allow a brief read-through to understand each of the eight statements. You might mention that the statements follow the order in which the answers appear in the text. Then play the section through again, requiring students to select True or False for each statement. (With weaker groups, you might allow a Play 2 B, going through again to give them a second chance.)

Play 3 - go through the section slowly, stopping at each gap and checking answers. This may be a good point to reinforce the meaning of the various target words and phrases, since they are of value in terms of Transferable Academic Language.

On-screen

The quiz is provided at the end of this page - click here to jump to the quiz. Project the quiz using full-screen mode.

I would suggest that it is best to play the section of recording twice, in a sequence like this:-

Play 1 - ask students to grasp the general sense of the section. You might take questions, even discuss the ideas a little.

Play 2 - first, project the quiz (in full-screen mode). Allow the students to read the 1st question / statement - then play the recording. Tell the students to shout out when they think they know the answer ... stop the tape ... ask the student(s) to explain what they have just heard which tells them the answer ... enter the answer and check whether it is right.

Proceed question by question through the recording. (With weaker groups, you might allow a Play 2 B, going through again until they have tried all of the statements.)

ANSWERS : 1. False ... 2. True ... 3. False ... 4. True ... 5. True ... 6. False ... 7. False ... 8. True ...

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3. Listening for cloze notes  (6'10" - 9'09") ... Here are the expected answers (underlined) to complete the notes. These phrases are taken directly from the wording of the recording - but actually, it is reasonable in the cloze notes exercise to accept other wordings, with the same meaning.

What will happen after UK leaves the EU? Two possibilities...

1. like Norway or Switzerland – with access to the European single market

however – will have to allow European citizens to move and work freely

so, nothing will change

2. UK gives up access to single market

then, UK able to apply same restrictions on migrants from EU as from outside EU

Migration Watch  

(organisation’s position: current levels of migration are completely unsustainable)

Matthew Pollard :  if same sort of restrictions on work migration as for non-EU migrants would mean significant cut

60% of EU migrants in low-skilled work – so wouldn’t have qualified for a visa

therefore – about 100,000 fewer (out of current figure of 170,000)

 (an educated guess – other experts say not unreasonable)

but if true - cut net migration by a third – from 300,000 to 200,000

Neither Leave campaigns say immigration will stop altogether, just

(1) happen differently  +  (2) more targeted

Andrew Lillicoe Vote Leave campaign believes ...

(1) long term, numbers of migrants wouldn’t change – although more from outside Europe

(2) some parts of UK need more not less immigration

(3) idea of stopping immigration is “silly” ...

(4) the growth of the issue of immigration “completely unnecessary

After Brexit –

first 2 or 3 years : government gets immigration down to “tens of thousands

... to “prove it could do it” ***... then “much more relaxed

*** I find this one of the most remarkable statements made in this recording. What is the logic, the rationale, behind the government having to "prove it could do it" ? Is the immigration issue, then, just some sort of social neurosis, that can be treated by a form of psycho-drama? Or what ...?

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4. Open listening, leading to discussion (9'10" - end 11'40") ... If you've worked through the recording methodically, step-by-step up to this point, the students should by now be pretty clear about what are the central issues raised by the programme. Encourage them to think critically about the final two and a half minutes, noting down any points which seem interesting, or surprising, or controversial. This should practice their independent note-taking skills, and ability to respond to, and analyse, what they hear.

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Migration True/False quiz 

1.   UK immigration statistics are based on precise total figures.

 

 

2.   Overall immigration figures are estimated from a limited sample

 

 

3.   The International Passenger Survey (IPS) concentrates on migrants.

 

 

4.   The IPS is regarded as the official measure of migration.

 

 

5.   Statistics based on National Insurance (NI) information are different from the IPS figures.

 

 

6.   The NI statistics prove that the IPS figures are wrong.

 

 

7.   People who stay in the UK for less than a year are considered to be immigrants.

 

 

8.   On balance, the IPS is considered the best way to estimate migration figures.

 

 

Total Score:

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