Links: stimulating discussion

"How can I get them talking?"

** Topics occur everywhere in the site, but materials for extended study of subject areas are principally concentrated in:-

Field-based ... based on a field, or cloud, of basic data, which students have to absorb and structure


Text-based 

> Internet morality ... two texts (a news report, and an online Comment) about the subject of  Internet trolls ​provide stimulus for arguing about how and why people can use the internet to hurt other people ... also provides good material for discussing objective reporting versus subjective comment ...


> Money ... always a good topic to get students talking! ... the page How money works presents an unusual slant on the whole concept of money ... and this can be linked to more free-ranging discussion through the Money Quotefield exercise in the page Handling metaphors ...

> Discussing the idea of 'voice' ... small groups activities, related to writing tasks, form the basis of Developing 'voice' which explores the way in which language is used individually by different people ... three exercises or projects: 'Children's Books', 'The Role Play', and 'The Re-write' address different aspects of language selection ...

> Use & abuse of stereotypes ... the page Stereotype jokes 1 looks at a range of jokes that use national stereotypes ... raises the question of when such stereotypes are acceptable or unacceptable ... and also - to what extent are stereotypes true? ... a way of addressing the issue of stereotypes raised in the new Subject Guide (p.22) ...

> Does advertising work? ... the discussion topics stimulated by the BOOK text raise the full range of advertising issues ... "Does advertising affect you? Society? What does it take to be a good salesperson? Is a consumer society healthy?" etc ...

> Parables and Morality ... the page Wise & Foolish contains two versions of the Parable of the Wise & Foolish Virgins with guiding questions ... understanding and interpreting the point ... which leads to two ideas about good behaviour - which do you believe in? ...

> The politics of the Environment ... the correspondence in Dam Beavers offers a starting point for considering how we treat the environment ... to what extent should we control, standardise, administrate nature ... and what do we mean by 'Animal Rights' ? ... humorous in tone, but leads to serious issues ...

> Key elements of all cultures ? ... a specific text about the English concern for 'Being Fair' provides a framework for considering distinctions between Values, Outlooks & Reflexes ... the text itself should provoke some interesting comparisons between cultures ... and the three general categories can then be applied to students' own culture(s)...

> Cultural Awareness: English Tea ... looking at cultural stereotypes, TEA takes a packet of tea and analyses it to look for traces of English cultural patterns ... handout, that can lead either to straightforward class discussion, or to an internet search routine ...

> Cultural understanding, cultural conflict ... The Burka Ban considers the French governement's idea of banning the burka ... provides factual details about muslim dress-codes, uses examples of press coverage, provides a quote-field of opposing views ... also aims to promote a disciplined approach to internet research ...

> How are men & women different? ... the unconventional ideas suggested in Why Men Don't Iron should stimulate lively discussion ... methodical initial approach leads into possibilities for internet-based research to go deeper into the whole topic ...

> On tricking people ... Nigeria 419 Scams involves two samples of internet-based frauds ... examines texts as language study aimed at detecting bullshit ... discussion of language in context ... spin-off into various other areas, such as Seven Deadly Sins, genre(s), novels as lies ...

Video/audio-based 

> from Listening Comprehension to Interpretation ... San Diego Serenade ... Tom Waits song ... cloze-test for basic listening (fairly easy) ... leading into discussion of how to interpret metaphors (fairly challenging)

> Listening to humour with close attention ... Darth Vader ... YouTube video of Eddie Izzard imagining Darth Vader in the Dark Star staff canteen ... for listening comprehension, then discussion of humour, satire, etc

> Lively ironic comment & opinion ... film critic Mark Kermode's review of 'Eat Pray Love' is short and sharp ... ironic slant - will the students detect it ? ... transcript with cloze gaps + guiding questions ... a range of links to related texts and internet sites provide opportunities for further development ...

> Value of Facebook & Twitter ... the three videos and one text presented in Social Media survey are combined to raise a number of issues about this phenomenon ... both pro & con sides to the argument ... can also be used as the basis for reviewing the variety of discourse types available on the internet ... the text handout can stand alone as a straightforward reading + discussion activity ...

> Reactions to violence ... the page Obama at Tucson contains the video of Obama's speech, and an extract in handout form ... the extract focuses on the point where the speech sets out to make sense of how people react to violent tragedy ... play the speech, then raise the issue, then study the speech in detail and see how the argument develops ...

> Caricature, prejudice and bigotry ... Randy Newman's classic Short people ... how stereotypes form the basis of ignorant prejudice ... basic listening exercise + article about scandal caused by the song + online comments ... also, it's an exercise in how Irony works - whether you see it or you don't ...

> Is rhetoric corrupt? ... Greed is Good ... extract from Gordon Gekko's speech in the film 'Wall Street' ... handouts of draft and final versions of the speech ... teaches rhetoric, but raises the whole issue of 'Greed is Good' ... business morality, social responsibility, free.market economics ...

> Colonialism set to music ... Randy Newman again - The Great Nations of Europe is a sardonic look at the epic history of colonisation ... nice jolly tune, sardonic lyrics ... cloze version of lyrics picks out some quite useful structures ... good topic raiser, both about past problems and present threats

Close attention - "How can I get them to listen thoughtfully?"

> Listening comprehension ... Listening Tasks, Listed & Reviewed sets out a range of tasks to practise accurate listening - from the most controlled to the most free ... choose, mix and match ...

> Detailed + key idea listening ... the page Hate speech features two tasks: one is a standard CLOZE, where students have to fill gaps in the transcript; while the other features CLOZE NOTES, where the students have to skim-listen in order to complete generalised notes of the overall argument of the recording

> SKIM listening ... listening to a video interview in Making money globally , students are asked to identify the order in which a number of general points are made ... requires that they first of all grasp the meaning of the simple summaries provided in random order in the handout, then listen carefully to identify each overall point as it occurs ... an unusual combination of SKIM comprehension and careful listening ...

> CLOZE listening ... listening to a video interview in Making money globally , students have to pick out and decipher accurately the words that fit in the gaps in the transcript ... useful start to a discussion about global financial markets, and their (?) morality ...

> About women and Facebook ... in the page Women & Facebook , a short video by the author of a sociological study on how women use Facebook ... two different cloze exercises to choose from: one focused on technical terms and the other on linkers and Transferable Academic Language

Projection-based 

> Men and their upbringing ... companion piece to Little Women, below, Little Men provides a basic photograph is combined with other images in a presentation aimed at raising discussion about what boys like and what boys are like ... each image comes with a series of provocative guiding questions ...

> Women and their upbringing ... the photograph used as the basis for Little women raises issues about the way that women's roles are instilled ... the series of projections offered can be used together or individually to start discussions ... can be used as practice for the new Individual Oral, which is based on a photograph ...

> Use & abuse of stereotypes ... the page Stereotype jokes 1 looks at a range of jokes that use national stereotypes ... raises the question of when such stereotypes are acceptable or unacceptable ... and also - to what extent are stereotypes true? ... a way of addressing the issue of stereotypes raised in the new Subject Guide (p.22) ...

> Exploring a wordcloud ... the page Vocabulary & concepts is mainly for teachers, discussing the teaching of English as the Language of Instruction, but the powerpoint - dealing as it does with command terms in the sciences - should be of relevance to them, and will also illustrate the concept of working with wordclouds ...

Internet-based 

> How does the advertising industry work? ... the page Advertising, reviewed looks at the internet site Ads of the World.com, which has a wide range of high quality ads - on all subjects, so good for topic-raisers ... some useful leads for discussions about the techniques of advertising ...

> Gaza on the Internet ... an Israeli ONG uses an internet game to explain their position on GAZA ... the game and the site make fertile material to introduce the issue ... should lead to in-depth research - with the emphasis on critical thinking ... the game (more an interactive animation, actually) is attractive, but also raises issues about 'propaganda' in the internet age ...

> Page for online access ... the page Student internet wordnet can be made directly available to the students online, via the Student access system ... it provides a cloud of words related to the function(s) of the internet ... students have to sort these out, perhaps with some helpful categories in mind ... could be a helpful way to make sure that students arrive well-prepared for a wider discussion on the internet ...

> Will I get a job in the future? ... the issue of Youth Unemployment is considered through a range of internet sources, including the UN's 2010 report on the topic ... focused discussion based on a controversial article, followed by group work related to a range of Comments on the article ... could form a sound basis for further research by the students ...

> About Conspiracy Theories ... in an extract from The Curious Incident..., Christopher mentions irrational beliefs and Occam's Razor ... perfect lead to look at a range of internet sites about conspiracy theories ... and to advocate scepticism ...

Field-based 

> Sorting vocabulary & concepts ... the word cloud in the page Lists & clouds is about words which express social groupings, from 'tribe' to 'empire' ... the page illustrates a range of different ways in which these can be sorted, thus encouraging discussion about the concepts involved, and their relationships

> In-class versus out-of-class ... the page Internet wordnet provides a cloud of words related to the function(s) of the internet ... students have to sort these out, perhaps with some helpful categories in mind ... the task can be done via handouts - or by using the related page Student internet wordnet, which can be made directly available to the students online, via the Student access system ...

> Seeing patterns in numbers ... the page Number fields provides sets of statistics about situations (about recent British history, and about current British leisure patterns) ... these have no obvious patterns or interpretation, but can provoke some interesting conclusions, if discussed in groups ...

> Discussing politics (+ using conditionals) ... 'What makes people vote, or not, in elections?' ... begins with a quote-field ... students sort out quotes reflecting attitudes to the issue ... discussion, aimed at practising basic conditional use + logical argument

To be continued...

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