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Discussion task worksheet: Echo Chamber

Invite your students to discuss whether the internet is helpful or harmful in shaping the opinions of its users based on the text “The web’s “echo chamber” leaves us none the wiser” from E2.

Download the worksheet here

Teaching suggestions:

Relevant competency aims:

  • understand, elaborate on and discuss lengthy discourses on general and specialized subjects
  • analyse and assess the role of some English-language media in international society
  • reflect on how cultural differences and dissimilar value systems can affect communication

 

Possible starter/pre-reading activity:

Let students discuss in what ways they believe the internet to be helpful or harmful in general.

The following clip might also serve as a useful introduction:

*Prince Harry and Barack Obama on social media* (“Balkanisation” and “cocooned” may need to be explained)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-27/obama-warns-of-dangers-of-social-media-in-prince-harry-interview/9288942

Preconditions:

Students need to have read Alan Martin’s text “The web’s “echo chamber” leaves us none the wiser” (pages 149-150).

Approximate use of time: 25-30 minutes, depending on class size.

Possible follow-up activities:

As the arguments are clearly split into pro and con arguments, this might form part of a broader debate on internet use, with one half of the class being assigned roles as Internet-sceptics, whilst the other half play the roles of avid supporters of the internet.

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Discussion task worksheet: Will It Pay Off?

Invite your students to discuss education and future career based on the text “Will it pay off?” from E2.

Download the worksheet here

Teaching suggestions:

Relevant competency aims:

  • understand, elaborate on and discuss lengthy discourses on general and specialized subjects.
  • locate, elaborate on and discuss international educational options and employment options.

Approximate use of time: 25-25 minutes

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Discussion task worksheet: Brexit

Invite your students to discuss Brexit based on S. Toubeau’s text “Brexit: Europe’s new nationalism is here to stay” from E2.

Download the worksheet here

Teaching suggestions:

Relevant competency aims:

  • understand, elaborate on and discuss lengthy discourses on general and specialized subjects
  • elaborate on and discuss various aspects of multicultural societies in the English-speaking world

Approximate use of time: 25-35 minutes

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Save the date!

Our annual seminar for English teachers will take place on 4 May in Oslo. Stay tuned for the programme and registration, but save the date!


What:
 Free seminar for English teachers in VGS
When: 4 May 2018
Where: Gyldendalhuset, Oslo

“I was born in London but I no longer recognize this city. I don`t know if I love the new London or if it frightens me: a city where at least 55 per cent of people are not ethnically white British, nearly 40 per cent were born abroad, and 5 per cent are living illegally in the shadows. I have no idea who these new Londoners are. Or even what their London really is.”

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Christmas adverts and the art of persuasion

In December, we find our cynical selves, usually alert to the danger of commercial manipulation, wiping away an unexpected tear while watching a… television advert. They hit on key elements of the human psyche, triggering strong emotions like joy, sadness, excitement or endearment. A company’s use of effective visual layout in advertisements can greatly add to the viewer’s evaluation of it. Emotion is also a great shortcut to virality. The adverts become the talk of the town. Consequently, the credibility of the company increases and we are more likely to buy their products.

Study these adverts from two popular British household names with your students.

  1. Ask your students about their favourite adverts? Which ones are they? Why?
  2. Watch the films together.

Marks and Spencer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfaSxIkLslE (1:35)

John Lewis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw1Y-zhQURU (2:10)

  1. How do these adverts play on viewers’ emotions?

Making use of the rhetorical mode of pathos means triggering the feelings of your audience.

  • Use vivid language
  • Tell a story
  • Use anologies and metaphors
  • Show pictures
  • Use humour
  • Be confident
  • Vary the tone of your voice
  • Use music and images to evoke feelings
  1. Which of the Christmas adverts is your favourite? Why?

Time: 30 minutes

  1. Wish to see more? The Telegraph, amongst others, has ranked the best Christmas ads of all time:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/0/the-10-best-christmas-adverts-of-all-time/

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Discussion task worksheet: Fix the Men!

Invite your students to discuss aspects of gender inequality, based on Binah Shah’s text Fix the Men! from E2.

Download the worksheet here

Teaching suggestions

Relevant competency aims:

  • understand, elaborate on and discuss lengthy discourses on general and specialized subjects
  • elaborate on and discuss a number of international and global challenges

Approximate use of time: 25-30 minutes, depending on class size.

Required reading: Binah Shah’s text “Want to end sexual violence against women? Fix the men!” (page 47-48 in E2).

Possible follow-up activities: The arguments gathered in the class discussion might serve as a starting point for a discussion on other aspects of gender inequality as found in E2, as well as a broader discussion on the topic of #metoo. The groups might be invited to invent their own strategies for combatting gender inequality and the related problems presented in the midst/in the wake of #metoo.

Hanna Kvalem Oltedal, Sørumsand VGS

 

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Dirty Money: Panama Papers

Tax avoidance – a multibillion-dollar industry

Since the late 1980s, several multinational companies have been criticized for avoiding taxes by jumping through different European tax loopholes. A system called the “double Irish”, for instance, has made this possible. This is how Apple has used and enjoyed the
system:

Through a scheme literally called the “double Irish”,
a company can create two Irish subsidiary companies,
and the first Irish company (usually in the Cayman
Islands) licenses everything to a second Irish
company, the upshot being that the mother ship
is not considered a tax resident anywhere thanks
to differences between the US and Irish definitions
of residence. The result of all this is that Apple had
a “head office” in Ireland with no premises, no employees
and no real activities. But because they had
pulled the double Irish, the European commission
has ruled, Apple deprived the EU of $14.5bn over
the last 10 years.
                       -Mike Daisey, The Guardian, 7 September, 2016

Tax evasion is illegal. It means not paying, or underpaying, taxes. It has been estimated that about 5.1 per cent of annual world GDP is lost to tax evasion. Tax avoidance is the use of legal methods to pay as little tax as possible. Although a given tax avoidance
scheme could be strictly legal, it is usually in contradiction with the intent of the law. In this video you can learn more about tax avoidance (YouTube).

Instead of studying the technicalities of European tax laws, we would like you to focus on the effects of the loopholes. In groups of 3–4, choose either Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft or Starbucks as your case study.

• How much has the company paid in corporation tax
in EU countries in recent years?
• How is the company’s tax-avoidance case
commented on in the media?
• In your own opinion: How fair is the system? What
would be a reasonable level of corporate tax for
“your” company? Make sure you support your
claims with concrete evidence based on reputable
sources.

Create a collaborative document, for instance in Google Docs, and write a few paragraphs where you present your findings and views.

This task is taken from E2 International English. You can read more about E2 here.