Tag Archives: Social Issues

Performance-Enhancing Drugs

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Doping means to administer drugs, known as performing-enhancement drugs (PED), to an animal or athlete in order to inhibit or enhance sporting performance. There are numerous reports of the use of PEDs in various sporting events, which led to banning of the condemned players.

Let us take a look at these incidents.

Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Discussion questions:

1. What are some examples of performance-enhancing drugs (PED) and their effects?

2. What is your opinion about the use of PEDs?

3. Who is your favorite athlete? What would you do if s/he were found and convicted of doping?

4. Should the use of PEDs be allowed to a sick athlete who would need to perform in one sporting event? Why or why not?

‘Whitewashing’ in Hollywood

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Whitewashing refers to casting white actors as characters who are non-white or of indeterminate race. There are a couple of movies and TV shows in Hollywood that have had their casting criticized as whitewashing. Critics of this practice claim that this is a form downplaying other races. What do you think of whitewashing?

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/breakfast-at-tiffany-hellboy-hollywood-whitewashing-a7932581.html

Discussion questions:

1. Cite an example of whitewashing in movies or TV that you have watched.

2. What do you guess could be the possible problems whitewashing can cause?

3. If you were a white actor and were chosen to play a non-white character role, would you take it?

Go Beyond the Female Stereotypes

B2 – Upper Intermediate

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Advertisements can subtlely convey a message to the viewers. A veteran South African politician said, “Adverts create a role model that people look up to, even mimic and try to be like.”  Do you think the government should do something to regulate ads? Let’s read the article below and talk about female stereotypes in ads.

UN to Advertisers: Go Beyond the Female Stereotypes

Discussion Questions:

1.Do you think that advertisements are more influential than movies, books, or online content? Why? Why not?
2.Why do you think stereotyping is such a common practice?
3.Would you agree that “adverts create a role model that people look up to?” Why? Why not?
4.Do you think that ads can influence how kids and young adults think about their body?

Ways the Rich Signal Their Wealth

C1 – Advanced

Long time ago, corsets and silver spoons symbolized high social position. In the modern times, more middle-class people can go on fancy vacations and afford luxury bags too. The challenge for the super rich is to look for ways to set them apart in terms of their elite social status.

Read this article to find out how the elites mark their social position.

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170614-the-new-subtle-ways-the-rich-signal-their-wealth

Discussion Questions:

1. According to this article, how are the rich establishing their status now?
2. What are your thoughts on conspicuous and inconspicuous consumption?
3. Why do you think the super rich are spending less on material goods and the middle-income groups are going on the opposite direction?

Middle School Students Advocate for Mitchell’s Law

B1 – Intermediate

Middle schoolers passed a resolution in the Senate to lobby for police animals rights. Everyone awaits whether this will eventually become a law after it passes in the State Assembly.

Find out more about their proposed law below:

http://wivb.com/2017/06/01/hamburg-middle-school-students-advocate-for-mitchells-law/

Discussion Questions:

1. Who is Mitchell and what is the Mitchell’s Law?
2. In your opinion, is Mitchell’s Law relevant to other parts of the world?
3. Do you think it’s acceptable for children to take part in law-making?

Food Waste

B2 – Upper Intermediate

Food waste is food that is discarded or uneaten. Each year, we dispose of a third of the world’s food.

Listen to this podcast to learn more about food wastage and ways to stop it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/6-minute-english/ep-170511

Let’s talk:

1. Where does the biggest percentage of food waste come from?

2. What usually happens to the food we waste?

3. What are the consequences of food waste?

4. What is Selina Juul doing to stop food waste in Denmark? What are other ways to avoid wasting food?

5. What do you tend to do with your leftovers?

6. How’s not finishing your food viewed in your country?

Drunk Driving

B1 – Intermediate

Driving under the influence, or driving while impaired, is the crime or offense of operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or other drugs (including recreational drugs and those prescribed by physicians), to a level that renders the driver incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely.

http://flesl.net/Reading/Stories/Series1/Linda_H/Linda_Hunt.php

Let’s talk:

1. What do you think about drunk driving?

2. What are the penalties for drink driving in your country?

3. Should the passengers/friends of a drunk driver also be punished?

4. Is alcohol the biggest cause of road accidents in your country?

Egg Freezing Perk for Female Employees

B1 – Intermediate

Apple and Facebook are among the biggest tech firms known for giving their employees, some might call, “awesome” work perks.

Recently, some companies decided they will provide financial assistance to their female staff should they opt to go for egg-freezing in their 20s or 30s.

Read more on egg freezing perk through this article:

Egg freezing Perk for Female Employees

Let’s talk!
1. What do you think of this perk?
2. What are your thoughts on this statement: “When [IVF] is done purely to protect their job, I think it’s extraordinary that women think this is liberating.”?
3. What unique perks are given to employees at your company?
4. What perks do you want your company to start giving out to its employees?
5. What do you think is the best age to start having children. Tell some reasons why.

Literature to Explain Migrants to Children

B2 – Upper intermediate

Reading and literature brings about many benefits, especially in children. In Bologna, Italy, a book fair for children is featuring something different and very timely.

Take a look at the video below then express your thoughts.

Video: Book fair features literature to explain migrants to children

Discuss:

1. What is the point of this unique book fair in Bologna?
2. What are other ways we can educate children about migrants and the Syrian war?
3. Are book fairs a popular idea in your country? Have you been to one?
4. What are your preferences in books? Reading materials?
5. What are the advantages of children being exposed to reading books at an early age?

 

Funeral Discounts for Japan’s Elderly

B2 – Upper intermediate

In Japan, the authorities have been encouraging the older people to give up their licenses to reduce traffic related accidents that involve seniors.  A  funeral discount is given to them  to do the trick.  What do you think of this initiative? How successful do you think this strategy will be?

Let’s read more:

Funeral discounts for Japan’s elderly who quit driving 

Discuss:

1. How safe are the roads in your country?
2. Who are the most dangerous drivers in your country?
3. What would you do to make roads safer?
4. Should seniors have stickers on their cars to warn other drivers?
5. Should there be an age at which people should stop driving?
6. What kind or driver are you?