Materials writing news and views, February 2020

I’ll hopefully keep this update going this year. Bit busy at the moment so here are a few very quick updates and some useful links.

New releases

Express Publishing are promoting a new book English for 21st Century Skills (Mavridi and Xerri), which comes out Spring 2020. Lots of different contributors, looks good. No link on site yet.

All levels of Language Hub (Macmillan) are out and promo in full swing by the look of things on social media.

Shout out to Jen Dobson, who has written the course ‘Getting Started with Early Childhood English Teaching’ on Language Fuel.

The new global product for teens from the British Council, Secondary Plus, will be rolled out here in Thailand in May. Project-based approach, academic/exam skills add-ons. Looks pretty polished for a first version. It’s already being used in Europe. I’ve had a sneaky peak. Thumbs up. Info here. Disclaimer – had a bit part to play in these, that’s it. (more…)

Video lesson: sickness benefits in the UK

Here’s a fairly topical upper-intermediate level lesson, as we get closer to the general election. I saw this report on Sky News back in mid-February and thought it would be a really good talking point. Apparently, David Cameron is thinking of cutting sickness benefits for people who don’t accept help, or try and help themselves. Most of the report focuses on obesity, but they chuck other things into the mix like alcohol addiction, which seem like a separate issue altogether.

Anyway, take a look…

So this is a completely authentic text. It’s pretty difficult to grasp a lot of it, but learners can definitely get a general understanding of the issues. Obviously this is a touchy topic for some, and the resources I’ve created are designed to provoke discussion and opinions. Consider the audience carefully – mine were students at a humanities school who expressed a desire to learn a bit about the welfare state.

sickness benefits lesson resources

teacher answers

General aims:

  • Students will practise listening for gist and detail in the context of an authentic news report
  • Students will learn about the UK benefits system
  • Students will practising expressing opinions/debating in the context of the provision of state benefits

Lesson time: 90 mins approx


Students discuss the following

What causes someone to become fat?

Elicit ideas (lifestyle, mental health issues, genetics, etc)