C1 culture the arts

What place does literature have in the ELT classroom in an ecological emergency?

Extracts from our favourite novels, poems or plays can really bring a language class to live. Like songs, their carefully crafted language, depth and authenticity appeal to students and provide rich learning input. At the same time, we may shy away from using literature, worrying whether we are able to teach it or whether it meets students needs. Despite this there is a strong case for using literature in the ELT class. This article on TeachingEnglish goes into great depth while being highly readable.

What about literature as a teaching tool for an environmentally-concerned language teacher? This is the question I asked myself when I turned to the book that is credited with starting the environmental movement: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. What a stunning first chapter! The focus of the environmental movement has changed over the years, however this book is as relevant as ever, and I was so gripped by it I decided there must be a way to use it in the language class.

I have now created the lesson, and I’m very happy to share it with you (in exchange for your email address!) In this lesson plan students engage with the first chapter of the book. The lesson uses the text-based approach as a way to maximise student engagement with the it while avoiding a focus on right/wrong text-comprehension activities. This is intended to make reading more like how we read in our first language. You can read a fantastic summary of the text-based approach here if you’d like to know more.

Access the lesson materials here:

Does this lesson follow an approach you would use to exploit literature in your language class? What literary work do you think is most relevant in the climate emergency for the language classroom?

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05 May adults Animals biodiversity C1 World Bee Day

20th May: World Bee Day

To Bee or not to Bee? That is the question for class on 20th May. Learn more about these fascinating and vital insects in your English class. This fantastic lesson for B2 and above by Tabea Heimbach and Stan Townsend will give your learners the opportunity to:

  • share their knowledge while discussing the topic of bees
  • read an infographic to add to what they know about the subject
  • challenge their listening skills watching a video while adding to their understanding of the issue
  • share ideas on what can solve the problems bees and people face

Click on the link below for lesson slides and teachers’ notes

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Activism C1 Climate Change climate change Solutions

Climate Strikes

With the Extinction Rebellion strikes and School strike 4 climate in the headlines, why not use this lesson in class? Find out why Greta Thunberg, a Swedish girl who has mobilised thousands of young people to demand action on climate change decided to go on strike. This lesson will particularly appeal to teens but can be used with higher level adults and younger learners too.

Students will:

  • Watch a presentation to pick out the main message
  • Listen for detail to find specific information
  • Reflect on the message in a class discussion
  • Plan and deliver their own speech to the class

Slides containing teachers notes are here: