Category Archives: Homework

French “Right to Disconnect” Law

working-from-home

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Work-life balance is a global issue now since we are constantly asked by our employers to be always online. The pressure is high and the stakes are high. If we don’t follow them we might lose our jobs but is it worth the stress?

France had declared a new law that allows employees to have the right to disconnect. Some say it is what the every country needs but is it really possible (to be TOTALLY disconnected from work)? Let’s read and start a discussion about the topic.

French “Right to Disconnect” Law Goes Into Effect

Discuss:

1. What can cause a lot of stress according to this article?
2. What do you think about this new French law?
3. What are the advantages of this law for the employees? What are the disadvantages of this law for companies?
4. “Stress is the cause of all illness.” Do you agree?
5. Do you think it is possible to avoid stress all the time?

Making Someone Redundant

B2 – Upper intermediate

If you’re faced with redundancy, your employer must treat you fairly and act in accordance with your contract and legal redundancy rights. That includes making sure you’re consulted, following the right selection process and giving you a proper notice period. Do you know your rights when you are faced with this issue?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/english-at-work/50-language-used-making-someone-redundant

 

Discussion Questions:

1. Is work redundancy common in the workplace in your country?

2. What are the rights of an employee who has been terminated due to redundancy?

3. In your opinion, how long should the notice period be?

Compulsory Voting

 B2 – Upper intermediate

There are currently 32 countries with compulsory voting around the world. They include Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Singapore, Cyprus, Greece, and others. Of these 32 countries, 12 aggressively enforce their mandatory voting laws with penalties of varying kinds, including nominal penalties and small fees of as low as $15 and the deprivation of government services or the freezing of one’s bank account.

Listen to this podcast to know more about exercising our right to vote:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english/ep-150813

Discussion Questions:

1. Are you a voter? Why is important to vote? Should it be made compulsory?

2. Does compulsory voting contradict the concept of free will?

3. Do you agree with some people who choose not to vote as a form of political expression?

Why Do We Dream?

B2 – Upper intermediate

Dreaming is a part of our everyday lives and yet we don’t know much about it. While we don’t fully understand its purpose, a couple of theories might shed some light on us. Why do we dream? Watch the video below to find out:

Discussion Questions:

1. According to the video, what are the possible purposes of dreaming?
2. What do you usually dream about?
3. What do you think are the meaning of your dreams?
4. Do you think dreams can be interpreted?

Why Do We Age?

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Aging is a natural process that we are very well aware of. However, the process itself is still poorly understood. How and why exactly do we age? Watch the video to find out:

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the factors that contribute to aging?
2. Like Jeanne Louise Calment, would you like to live for 122 years? Why or why not?
3. How long do you think is the ideal lifespan?
4. Do you think it is possible for people to not age at all?

The Pros and Cons of Pesticides

B2 – Upper Intermediate

For many years, people have relied on using pesticides in order to prevent agricultural catastrophes. However, it is not without consequences. What are the negative effects of using pesticides? Watch the video below to find out:

Let’s talk:

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using pesticides?
2. After banning DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), do you think Paul Hermann Müller’s Nobel Prize should have been revoked?
3. Are there strict regulations regarding the use of pesticides in your country?
4. What do you think will happen in the event of an agricultural catastrophe?
5. Can you think of alternatives to chemical pesticides not mentioned in the video?

Potential New Planets

kepler_all-planets_may2016

B1 – Intermediate

NASA scientists on Monday announced the discovery of 219 new objects beyond our solar system that are almost certainly planets.

What’s more, 10 of these worlds may be rocky, about the size of Earth, and habitable.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nasa-new-planets-kepler_us_594969b4e4b04c5e5025661a

Discussion Questions:

1. How close do you think we are to finding a “second” Earth?

2. Why do you think scientists are so invested in finding new planets?

3. If the time came, would you consider moving to another planet?

Uber’s Added and Improved App Features

B1 – Low Intermediate

Following the resignation of Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, the company announced a few app changes and added features. One of them is enabling cashless tipping.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/21/technology/uber-gratuity-changes-what-you-need-to-know-about.html

 

Discussion Questions:

1. Are you an Uber rider? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of using transportation mobile apps such as this?
2. What other ride-sharing apps are present in your country?
3. In your culture, how important is paying gratuities?
4. What other areas of Uber do you think need attention?

Olive Oil Protects Brain

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Extra-virgin olive oil is said to “protect memory and learning ability and reduce the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain – classic markers of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Read more about the results of this study on the benefits our brains get from olive oil.

https://www.voanews.com/a/mht-olive-oil-protects-brain-from-alzheimers-study/3911487.html

Discussion Questions:

1. In your own words, define and describe Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Aside from Alzheimer’s disease, what other conditions exhibit cognitive decline?
3. What are the other benefits of olive oil?
4. Does olive oil have any negative effect on the body?

Mediterranean Sea Acidification

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Research shows that a portion of the Mediterranean Sea’s acidity has reached an almost 7-percent increase. This phenomenon poses a threat on sea creatures like oysters and mussels.

https://www.voanews.com/a/rising-temperatures-acidification-threaten-mediterranean-sea-species/3913767.html

Discussion Questions:

1. In your own words, describe the cause/s and effect/s of ocean acidification.
2. Based on the article, what caused the acidification of the Mediterranean Sea, and what are its effects?
3. In your opinion, what will be the impact of this phenomenon on countries like Italy, France and Spain?