Monthly Archives: September 2015

More Selfie Deaths than Shark Attacks

C1 – Advanced

Isn’t it puzzling or hilarious hearing news about someone dying because he took pictures of himself while on thin ice or in a dangerous spot?  How ironic that we risk our lives just to make others like or envy us on social media.

More people die from selfies than shark attacks  

Discuss:

1. Are you fond of taking selfies?
2. Will you be willing to risk your life to get a picture of yourself hanging on the edge of a cliff?
3. Is there such things as taking too many selfies? Or do you think that people should just mind their own businesses?
4. When on holiday, do you enjoy taking photos?

Volkswagen: The scandal explained

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C1 – Advanced

It has been more than a decade since car makers started focusing on producing diesel vehicles thinking that these cars are excellent for the environment. According to some recent scientific evidences, this is not exactly the case, and there are even pleads to decrease the number of diesel cars in several cities.

Diesel sales were already waning. Needless to say, this controversy came at a bad time. Find out more about this scandal on this BBC article:

Volkswagen: The scandal explained

Discuss:

1. What are thoughts on this scandal involving Volkswagen?
2. How has this accusation affected the company and other car manufacturers?
3. In your country, do a lot of people drive a VW car? Or do they prefer other brands?
4. What are your preferences when it comes to cars?

Social Media are Changing Relationships

B2 – Upper intermediate

Social media networks have helped people share pieces of their lives to the community.  But what is the effect of social media networks to our relationship to other people?

Read the article below and be ready to express your thoughts.

Social media networks are changing our way of having relationships

Discuss:

1. What springs to mind when you hear the term ‘social networking’?
2. What are the pros and cons of social networking?
3. Are social networking sites for people who aren’t good at meeting people face to face?
4. Have you ever tried to find friends on a social networking site?

Poverty In A Rich World

B2 – Upper intermediate

We are living in a wealthier world. The number of people living in extreme poverty has halved in recent decades. More people own cars and mobile phones. But why do we still see poverty?

Listen to the podcast then be ready to answer some discussion questions.

Poverty in a rich world

Discuss:

1. Is poverty a big issue in your country?
2. Would you say that there is a big gap in Spain between the rich and the poor?
3. Are you able to see your taxes at work?
4. What are ways for government to solve poverty?

Are Models Too Skinny?

B2 – Upper intermediate

Should skinny – or very thin – models be stopped from working on the catwalk? We’ve accepted the norm of fashion models to have very slim and slender figures.

Listen to this podcast on how thin is too thin for catwalk models then express your thoughts.

Are models too skinny?

Discuss:

1. Summarize the discussion about skinny models.
2. Do you think that agencies should be responsible for their models?
3. Do very skinny models really give out a negative impression on children and young adults?
4. How would the fashion industry change if female models were not as skinny?

Low Levels of Vitamin D Might Hurt Your Brain

B2 – Upper intermediate

As we know, vitamins are essential to our health and vitamin D helps protect the body from diseases like diabetes and cancer. A study says it might also prevent brain diseases called dementia.

Read the article below and be ready to talk about health.

Low Levels of Vitamin D Might Hurt Your Brain

Discuss:

1. Are you diet- conscious?
2. The article mentions dementia. What do you know about dementia?
3. How do you think poor memory affects ones life?
4. Do you think taking supplements is a good idea, or should you get your vitamins from just food?

Five bizarre ‘lessons’ in Indian textbooks

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C1 – Advanced

Education is an enlightening experience we all deserve to have. Countries worldwide aim to have high literacy rate thus proper education should be catered to the citizens. However, in India, some textbooks were found with worrying information.

Read the article below to check some of the bizarre information in their textbooks.

Five bizarre ‘lessons’ in Indian textbooks

Discuss:

1. What do you think about the article? Discuss the mentioned erroneous lessons.
2. What is the best way to rectify this issue?
3. Have you read history books that were erroneous?

Amazon – Largest Internet Company

B2 – Upper intermediate

Online shopping has gained popularity over the years. It is efficient, hassle-free and you don’t have to leave the comforts of your own home. Amazon is one of the most popular internet shopping sites in the world. It operates its own websites in Europe, Asia and South America.

Read the article below to know a little more about Amazon.

Amazon.Com – The World’s Largest Internet Company

Discuss:

1. Do you shop online?
2. Which online shopping sites do you often visit?
3. What is the most popular online shopping site in Spain?
4. What do you think of Amazon.com?

Rent a Foreigner in China

C1 – Advanced

In China, being Caucasian can open doors to a Hollywood style career. With thousands of high-rise apartment units to sell, housing developers have turned to talent agencies that specialize in renting out foreigners to clients. A white face is supposed to make a place “truly international”  which should then translate into sales.

Watch the video and see how the Chinese use image to solve the real estate glut and in the process transform the average Joe into a celebrity of sorts.

Discuss:

1. Do you think foreigners being made to pretend to be people they are not is acceptable?
2. Can you think of an experience you’ve had whereby you were treated in a special way because of the color of your skin?
3. Why do you think the Chinese associate white people with prestige?
4. Would you agree to be a foreigner for rent in China? Why or why not?

Denver May Allow Pot In Bars, Restaurants

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C1 – Advanced

Smoking pot. It’s been a controversial and long-running issue in the United States. But the city of Denver is trying to move forward albeit with some challenges.

This article has an audio clip. Feel free to listen to it.

Awesome Tips, Dude: Denver May Allow Pot In Bars, Restaurants

Discuss:

1. Explain the situation of Denver when it comes to smoking marijuana? How different is it from Amsterdam?
2. What is the intention of legalizing marijuana in bars and restaurants?
3. What is your take on legalizing marijuana?
4. How do you feel about legalizing other practices such as prostitution and illegal drug use?