Generation Waking Up

Download this eLesson Inspiration in PDF format: Generation Waking

Classroom activities

Here you’ll find some practical ideas for working with the clip.  Choose the ones that suit your teaching aims, particular group of learners, your teaching style, and then plan your own lesson.


‘Our Story’

Put the following question to your students: ‘What’s the story of your generation?’ Give them some time to reflect on the question. Wait for them to ask for clarification. Explain that by ‘story’ you mean:

  • What’s the world like for them NOW?
  • How is it different from what the world was like 50 years ago?
  • What’s it like to be a young adult / teenager now?

Crisis collocations’

Write ‘crisis’ on the board, and ask your students to brainstorm as many words as they can which can stand in front of it. E.g. family -, financial -, economic -, teenage -, world -, environmental -, etc.

Then tell them that ‘crisis’ is one of the key words in the clip they will watch: What kind of crisis is mentioned and what’s the speakers’ attitude to it?

‘Key lexis’

Check understanding of key vocabulary, language chunks. E.g. hardship, adversity, privilege, empowerment, violence, poverty, wealth, spiritual crisis, unprecedented crisis, coming of age, transcend boxes, civically engaged, cliff, edge, cusp.


‘Differences & Similarities’

Ask your students to think about the differences and the similarities among the people who spoke in the clip. They could consider the following:

  • appearance
  • nationality
  • personality
  • views expressed
  • attitude

‘In your own words’

Ask your students to paraphrase, explain the following expressions taken from the clip: ‘we’ll either fall or fly’, ‘civically engaged’ , ‘coming of age’ , ‘unevenly distributed’, ‘see the value in diversity’ . They can then watch a second time listening for these expressions. Who says them? What’s the context? What are they saying?

‘Watch again and choose’

Before a second viewing, ask each student to choose one person as they watch. Their task is to remember as accurately as they can what they say. It’s a good idea to pause the clip in one or two places. After viewing, the students recall the different views expressed. Help with language if necessary.

‘Follow-up discussion’

Here are some questions to facilitate this:

  • What do you think about the name: Generation Waking Up?
  • What does it mean to wake up? Does it happen all at once or is it a gradual process?
  • What experiences, outside influences can help us to wake up?
  • Can you think of any songs, films, books with a similar theme?

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One Response to Generation Waking Up

  1. Bill February 23, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    This initiative, founded in 2010 in California, is spreading worldwide. They are working to ignite “a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, and sustainable world.”

    The ‘who we are’ statement of GENERATION WAKING UP says:

    As we wake up to the world we are inheriting, we recognize that we have been born into the most critical moment in history. A convergence of crises – poverty, inequality, economic instability, materialism, climate disruption, and ecological unraveling – are threatening human civilization as a whole. Amidst these widespread challenges, a record number of young people in our generation are being filled with apathy and despair, living out lives that lack meaning, purpose, or direction. At the very same time, a groundswell of consciousness and social change is emerging within our generation.

    You can easily find the GWU website. They are trying to change things locally, in communities. See what your students think. GWU in your town? It’s possible. Most of their activity to date has been in North America, Australia, a bit in Germany and elsewhere.

    One initial event GWU organizes to get started in a place is a WAKEUP

    ‘The Generation Waking Up Experience – called a “WakeUp” for short – is an interactive, multimedia workshop about the challenges & opportunities of our time, and inspires participants to take meaningful action toward a thriving, just, sustainable world.

    Whether it be social entrepreneurship ventures, community service projects, or hard-hitting advocacy campaigns, the WakeUp has inspired collaborative action by young people around the globe.

    Since its launch in 2010, young people have brought the WakeUp to at least 12 countries including the United States, China, Mexico, India, Kenya, Australia, Egypt, Germany, and Brazil. Thousands have experienced it and over 150 are now trained as WakeUp Facilitators.’

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