Levels/contexts Archives: upper-intermediate upwards

World Refugee Day

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this 2-hour lesson, the Ss will:

  1. have practised listening to a lecture and noting down the main points made
  2. have created a Situation-Problem-Solution-Evaluation (SPSE) video presentation in a group, using a visual aid and accurate signposting language
Time Stage Procedure
Pre-lesson tasks

·       Topic and vocab

·       Listening and note-taking

·     In the lesson prior to this one, ask Ss to look at their Guess the Topic h/o and discuss in buzz groups (pairs) what the topic might be and how each of the words might be related to it. F/b

·     Hand out the Our Refugee System is Failing w/s. In small groups, Ss discuss Q1.

·     For homework, ask Ss to watch the TED talk and make notes on questions 2-5. Hand out the Our Refugee System is Failing Transcript and ask Ss to check their answers to questions 2-4 after they have listened to the video and made notes on it. They should come to the next class ready to discuss their notes with others. (The rationale for the use of the flipped classroom model here is to give the students an opportunity in their own time to absorb and reflect on the issues presented in the talk, which should lead to a deeper level of critical thinking later)

0’-15’ 1.      Checking understanding of TED talk

·     Go through learning outcomes on board.

·     As a warmer, elicit their opinions about Task 5a – why is this an important topic to discuss? F/b

·     In groups of 3/4, ask Ss to compare notes that they made at home on questions 2-4 (but not yet 5) of their Our Refugee System is Failing w/s, justifying their answers, where necessary, by referring to the Our Refugee System is Failing Transcript. F/b

15’-1hr30’ 2.      Planning and Delivering a Videoed SPSE Presentation

·      Say that they will shortly be sharing their answers to Task 5 with their group . Before they do so, give out the Fixing the Refugee System: Group Video Task h/o. Ss read the instructions and tutor checks understanding of task.

·      Ss follow the procedure below (and the tutor can set the online countdown timer to maintain strict timings for each stage):

·       Task 1 – Brainstorm and evaluate ideas (20 minutes):

o   Discuss, agree and note down the situation and problem (from the video) and suggest their own solutions to this problem (referring to Task 5b-d from their homework sheet)

o   Note down evaluations to these suggested solutions

·       Task 2 – Plan their presentation (20 minutes):

o   Write their ideas up clearly onto a visual aid using coloured paper and pens (e.g. each section can be on one sheet of A4 paper)

o   Decide what signposting language they will use

o   Decide who will say what in the presentation

·       Task 3 – Rehearse their presentation (20 minutes):

o   Practise delivering and videoing their presentation (on their mobile phones)

o   Watch the video back and analyse their (and their peers’) performance, identifying elements to be improved. The tutor can offer formative feedback at this point too

o   Repeat this process as many times as necessary

·       Task 4 – Video their presentation (20 minutes)

o   this may take a few attempts. Ss can spread out into different classrooms to do this, if required. Tutor can circulate, noting down language errors

o   when they have videoed it, they can upload it to the VLE or email it to the teacher

1hr30’-2hrs 3.      Feedback on Videos and Error Correction

·      Ss watch the videos as a class and then vote on the best solution, giving the reason why they chose it. N.B if there is not time to do this in class, Ss can access these videos on the VLE at home and then cast their votes in the following class

·      Conduct error correction on board

Guess the Topic

Screen Shot 2017-09-23 at 11.03.15 AM

Our Refugee System Is Failing. Here’s How We Can Fix It (TED Talk by Alexander Betts)

  1. Look at the title of this TED talk. What is it about and how do you think it will be structured?
  2. Listen to 0:11-0:28 of the talk. How does the speaker feel about being a European?
  3. Why do you think he feels like this? Listen to 0:11-3:55 and note down the reasons he gives
  4. What choices face refugees regarding where to go? Listen to 3:55-7:57 and note down the choices he talks about
  5. After you’ve watched the video (to 7:57), reflect on the following questions:
    a) Do you think this is an important topic to discuss? Why?
    b) What is the situation and the main problems that he talks about?
    c) What possible solutions to these problems can you think of? (write your own ideas here)

Fixing the Refugee System: Group Video Task

Group Task


Make a short video (1-2 minutes) about the refugee crisis to share with the rest of the class. This should be a presentation with a Situation-Problem-Solution-Evaluation (SPSE) structure. You should:

·       Outline the situation and problem (from the video) regarding the refugee crisis

·       Propose one suggested solution and evaluate this solution.


·       Use SPSE structure

·       Use visual aids

·       You could film yourselves talking or use a “voice-over” technique

·       Use presentation signposting language

·       Everyone in your group needs to talk in the video

For who?

You classmates will watch your video. They will evaluate your suggested solution and then vote on which group’s solution is the best, giving a reason why.

Suggested Structure

Situation and problem

·       What is happening?

·       What is wrong with the current Refugee System and why?

Suggested solution:

·       What is your solution?

·       How will this solution improve the situation?

Evaluation of suggested solution

·       What challenges will it face?

·       How effective is it likely to be?




Transcript of the video

0:11        There are times when I feel really quite ashamed to be a European. In the last year, more than a million people arrived in Europe in need of our help, and our response, frankly, has been pathetic.

0:28        There are just so many contradictions:

  • We mourn the tragic death of two-year-old Alan Kurdi, and yet, since then, more than 200 children have subsequently drowned in the Mediterranean.
  • We have international treaties that recognize that refugees are a shared responsibility, and yet we accept that tiny Lebanon hosts more Syrians than the whole of Europe combined.
  • We lament the existence of human smugglers, and yet we make that the only viable route to seek asylum in Europe.
  • We have labour shortages, and yet we exclude people who fit our economic and demographic needs from coming to Europe.
  • We proclaim our liberal values in opposition to fundamentalist Islam, and yet — we have repressive policies that detain child asylum seekers, that separate children from their families, and that seize property from refugees.

1:39        What are we doing? How has the situation come to this, that we’ve adopted such an inhumane response to a humanitarian crisis?

1:50        I don’t believe it’s because people don’t care, or at least I don’t want to believe it’s because people don’t care. I believe it’s because our politicians lack a vision, a vision for how to adapt an international refugee system created over 50 years ago for a changing and globalized world. And so what I want to do is take a step back and ask two really fundamental questions, the two questions we all need to ask. First, why is the current system not working? And second, what can we do to fix it?

2:25        So the modern refugee regime was created in the aftermath of the Second World War by these guys. Its basic aim is to ensure that when a state fails, or worse, turns against its own people, people have somewhere to go, to live in safety and dignity until they can go home. It was created precisely for situations like the situation we see in Syria today. Through an international convention signed by 147 governments, the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, and an international organization, UNHCR, states committed to reciprocally admit people onto their territory who flee conflict and persecution.

3:10        But today, that system is failing. In theory, refugees have a right to seek asylum. In practice, our immigration policies block the path to safety. In theory, refugees have a right to a pathway to integration, or return to the country they’ve come from. But in practice, they get stuck in almost indefinite limbo. In theory, refugees are a shared global responsibility. In practice, geography means that countries proximate the conflict take the overwhelming majority of the world’s refugees. The system isn’t broken because the rules are wrong. It’s that we’re not applying them adequately to a changing world, and that’s what we need to reconsider.

3:55        So I want to explain to you a little bit about how the current system works. How does the refugee regime actually work? But not from a top-down institutional perspective, rather from the perspective of a refugee. So imagine a Syrian woman. Let’s call her Amira. And Amira to me represents many of the people I’ve met in the region. Amira, like around 25 percent of the world’s refugees, is a woman with children, and she can’t go home because she comes from this city that you see before you, Homs, a once beautiful and historic city now under rubble. And so Amira can’t go back there. But Amira also has no hope of resettlement to a third country, because that’s a lottery ticket only available to less than one percent of the world’s refugees.

4:45        So Amira and her family face an almost impossible choice. They have three basic options. The first option is that Amira can take her family to a camp. In the camp, she might get assistance, but there are very few prospects for Amira and her family. Camps are in bleak, arid locations, often in the desert. In the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, you can hear the shells across the border in Syria at night time. There’s restricted economic activity. Education is often of poor quality. And around the world, some 80 percent of refugees who are in camps have to stay for at least five years. It’s a miserable existence, and that’s probably why, in reality, only nine percent of Syrians choose that option.

5:40        Alternatively, Amira can head to an urban area in a neighbouring country, like Amman or Beirut. That’s an option that about 75 percent of Syrian refugees have taken. But there, there’s great difficulty as well. Refugees in such urban areas don’t usually have the right to work. They don’t usually get significant access to assistance. And so when Amira and her family have used up their basic savings, they’re left with very little and likely to face urban destitution.

6:13        So there’s a third alternative, and it’s one that increasing numbers of Syrians are taking. Amira can seek some hope for her family by risking their lives on a dangerous and perilous journey to another country, and it’s that which we’re seeing in Europe today.

6:34        Around the world, we present refugees with an almost impossible choice between three options: encampment, urban destitution and dangerous journeys. For refugees, that choice is the global refugee regime today. But I think it’s a false choice. I think we can reconsider that choice. The reason why we limit those options is because we think that those are the only options that are available to refugees, and they’re not. Politicians frame the issue as a zero-sum issue, that if we benefit refugees, we’re imposing costs on citizens. We tend to have a collective assumption that refugees are an inevitable cost or burden to society. But they don’t have to. They can contribute.
7:57        The first one I want to think about is the idea of enabling environments, and it starts from a very basic recognition that refugees are human beings like everyone else, but they’re just in extraordinary circumstances. Together with my colleagues in Oxford, we’ve embarked on a research project in Uganda looking at the economic lives of refugees. We chose Uganda not because it’s representative of all host countries. It’s not. It’s exceptional. Unlike most host countries around the world, what Uganda has done is give refugees economic opportunity. It gives them the right to work. It gives them freedom of movement. And the results of that are extraordinary both for refugees and the host community. In the capital city, Kampala, we found that 21 percent of refugees own a business that employs other people, and 40 percent of those employees are nationals of the host country. In other words, refugees are making jobs for citizens of the host country. Even in the camps, we found extraordinary examples of vibrant, flourishing and entrepreneurial businesses.7:25        So what I want to argue is there are ways in which we can expand that choice set and still benefit everyone else: the host states and communities, our societies and refugees themselves. And I want to suggest four ways we can transform the paradigm of how we think about refugees. All four ways have one thing in common: they’re all ways in which we take the opportunities of globalization, mobility and markets, and update the way we think about the refugee issue.

9:06        For example, in a settlement called Nakivale, we found examples of Congolese refugees running digital music exchange businesses. We found a Rwandan who runs a business that’s available to allow the youth to play computer games on recycled games consoles and recycled televisions. Against the odds of extreme constraint, refugees are innovating, and the gentleman you see before you is a Congolese guy called Demou-Kay. Demou-Kay arrived in the settlement with very little, but he wanted to be a filmmaker. So with friends and colleagues, he started a community radio station, he rented a video camera, and he’s now making films. He made two documentary films with and for our team, and he’s making a successful business out of very little. It’s those kinds of examples that should guide our response to refugees. Rather than seeing refugees as inevitably dependent upon humanitarian assistance, we need to provide them with opportunities for human flourishing.

10:11     Yes, clothes, blankets, shelter, food are all important in the emergency phase, but we need to also look beyond that. We need to provide opportunities to connectivity, electricity, education, the

10:38     The second idea I want to discuss is economic zones. Unfortunately, not every host country in the world takes the approach Uganda has taken. Most host countries don’t open up their economies to refugees in the same way. But there are still pragmatic alternative options that we can use.right to work, access to capital and banking. All the ways in which we take for granted that we are plugged in to the global economy can and should apply to refugees.

10:58     Last April, I travelled to Jordan with my colleague, the development economist Paul Collier, and we brainstormed an idea while we were there with the international community and the government, an idea to bring jobs to Syrians while supporting Jordan’s national development strategy. The idea is for an economic zone, one in which we could potentially integrate the employment of refugees alongside the employment of Jordanian host nationals. And just 15 minutes away from the Zaatari refugee camp, home to 83,000 refugees, is an existing economic zone called the King Hussein Bin Talal Development Area. The government has spent over a hundred million dollars connecting it to the electricity grid, connecting it to the road network, but it lacked two things: access to labour and inward investment. So what if refugees were able to work there rather than being stuck in camps, able to support their families and develop skills through vocational training before they go back to Syria? We recognized that that could benefit Jordan, whose development strategy requires it to make the leap as a middle income country to manufacturing. It could benefit refugees, but it could also contribute to the post-conflict reconstruction of Syria by recognizing that we need to incubate refugees as the best source of eventually rebuilding Syria.

12:19     We published the idea in the journal Foreign Affairs. King Abdullah has picked up on the idea. It was announced at the London Syria Conference two weeks ago, and a pilot will begin in the summer.

12:31     (Applause)

12:36     The third idea that I want to put to you is preference matching between states and refugees to lead to the kinds of happy outcomes you see here in the selfie featuring Angela Merkel and a Syrian refugee. What we rarely do is ask refugees what they want, where they want to go, but I’d argue we can do that and still make everyone better off. The economist Alvin Roth has developed the idea of matching markets, ways in which the preference ranking of the parties shapes an eventual match. My colleagues Will Jones and Alex Teytelboym have explored ways in which that idea could be applied to refugees, to ask refugees to rank their preferred destinations, but also allow states to rank the types of refugees they want on skills criteria or language criteria and allow those to match. Now, of course you’d need to build in quotas on things like diversity and vulnerability, but it’s a way of increasing the possibilities of matching. The matching idea has been successfully used to match, for instance, students with university places, to match kidney donors with patients, and it underlies the kind of algorithms that exist on dating websites. So why not apply that to give refugees greater choice?

13:54     It could also be used at the national level, where one of the great challenges we face is to persuade local communities to accept refugees. And at the moment, in my country, for instance, we often send engineers to rural areas and farmers to the cities, which makes no sense at all. So matching markets offer a potential way to bring those preferences together and listen to the needs and demands of the populations that host and the refugees themselves.

14:21     The fourth idea I want to put to you is of humanitarian visas. Much of the tragedy and chaos we’ve seen in Europe was entirely avoidable. It stems from a fundamental contradiction in Europe’s asylum policy, which is the following: that in order to seek asylum in Europe, you have to arrive spontaneously by embarking on those dangerous journeys that I described. But why should those journeys be necessary in an era of the budget airline and modern consular capabilities? They’re completely unnecessary journeys, and last year, they led to the deaths of over 3,000 people on Europe’s borders and within European territory.

15:04     If refugees were simply allowed to travel directly and seek asylum in Europe, we would avoid that, and there’s a way of doing that through something called a humanitarian visa, that allows people to collect a visa at an embassy or a consulate in a neighboring country and then simply pay their own way through a ferry or a flight to Europe. It costs around a thousand euros to take a smuggler from Turkey to the Greek islands. It costs 200 euros to take a budget airline from Bodrum to Frankfurt. If we allowed refugees to do that, it would have major advantages. It would save lives, it would undercut the entire market for smugglers, and it would remove the chaos we see from Europe’s front line in areas like the Greek islands.It’s politics that prevents us doing that rather than a rational solution.

15:55     And this is an idea that has been applied. Brazil has adopted a pioneering approach where over 2,000 Syrians have been able to get humanitarian visas, enter Brazil, and claim refugee status on arrival in Brazil. And in that scheme, every Syrian who has gone through it has received refugee status and been recognized as a genuine refugee.

16:17     There is a historical precedent for it as well. Between 1922 and 1942, these Nansen passports were used as travel documents to allow 450,000 Assyrians, Turks and Chechens to travel across Europe and claim refugee status elsewhere in Europe. And the Nansen International Refugee Office received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of this being a viable strategy.

16:46     So all four of these ideas that I’ve presented you are ways in which we can expand Amira’s choice set. They’re ways in which we can have greater choice for refugees beyond those basic, impossible three options I explained to you and still leave others better off.

17:03     In conclusion, we really need a new vision, a vision that enlarges the choices of refugees but recognizes that they don’t have to be a burden. There’s nothing inevitable about refugees being a cost. Yes, they are a humanitarian responsibility, but they’re human beings with skills, talents, aspirations, with the ability to make contributions — if we let them.

17:27     In the new world, migration is not going to go away. What we’ve seen in Europe will be with us for many years. People will continue to travel, they’ll continue to be displaced, and we need to find rational, realistic ways of managing this — not based on the old logics of humanitarian assistance, not based on logics of charity, but building on the opportunities offered by globalization, markets and mobility. I’d urge you all to wake up and urge our politicians to wake up to this challenge.

17:57     Thank you very much.

17:58     (Applause)


This lesson is one of the 4 winning entries for our Special Days Competition 2017. It was created by Aleks Palanac.

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

1. Warmer

a) The title of the song is “Cherry wine”. What images does it bring to your mind? What kind of song do you expect to hear?

b) Show students the following screencaps from the song and play the first instrumental part of the song (00:00-00:25) and ask them to speculate further. (They might come up with ideas like a date, anniversary…etc.) Ask them for feedback.

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3 Slide4

c) Show them the last picture and ask them about the content again. Ask them what might have happened to the girl.

2. First listening and watching

Show your students the video clip:


Ask them to identify the characters and the nature of their relationship. Who is the abuser and who is the victim?

3. Second listening

Listen to the song again and show the lyrics to the students. Ask them to identify the phrases that refer to violence.

Cherry Wine

Her eyes and words are so icy
Oh but she burns
Like rum on a fire
Hot and fast and angry
As she can be
I walk my days on a wire

It looks ugly, but it’s clean
Oh mamma, don’t fuss over me

The way she tells me I’m hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine

Calls of guilty thrown at me
All while she stains
The sheets of some other
Thrown at me so powerfully
Just like she throws with the arm of her brother

But I want it, it’s a crime
That she’s not around most of the time

Way she shows me I’m hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine

Her fight and fury is fiery
Oh but she loves
Like sleep to the freezing
Sweet and right and merciful
I’m all but washed
In the tide of her breathing

And it’s worth it, it’s divine
I have this some of the time

Way she shows me I’m hers and she is mine
Open hand or closed fist would be fine
The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine

4. Discussion

a) Are the roles in the song and the clip identical? How would you explain it?

b) In the clip, what might have motivated the man to abuse his girlfriend? Can his reasons be justified? Usually, what are the main reasons for domestic violence? Why do some people abuse their loved ones?

c) What are the different forms of domestic violence?
c/1., Ask your students to brainstorm some forms, then show them the following definition from https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence )

We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. 

c/2., Match the types of abuse with their definitions. (+ Teach the unknown words)

Sexual Abuse, Economic Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse

(1)________________: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are its types. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.

(2)________________: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. It includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.

(3)_________________: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.

(4)__________________: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.

(5)_________________: Its elements include – but are not limited to – causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.

(adapted from: justice.gov)

d) How might the victim feel in an abusive relationship?
d/1. Ask your students to collect some adjectives and justify them.
d/2. Show them this advertisement and teach the new words.


Ask them whether they think this targeted advertisement is effective or not.

e) Show them these awareness raising ads as well and ask them which one they feel the most effective and why. (Ask SS to work in pairs or in groups, then report back what they have agreed on)

o-DISNEY-PRINCESS-1-570 e9d92b37585de116b997a81050585cfe d614ea97a138cfe119bfd491d5fd2186 d4f369a72781a24fda379df889ea9414 a50797f2810d7671676527b772dba897


f) Are people raising awareness of domestic abuse in your country? How can it be done? Who should be responsible for it?

g) Here are some statistics. Ask your students to try to guess the correct numbers.

Reveal the numbers after that and ask them to reflect on them.


(answers: a. 30, b. 3 – 4 c. 275 d. 90)

h) In some countries, domestic violence isn’t a crime. What do you think of it? How would you punish those who committed this act of violence?

i) What would you do if someone close to you were a victim of domestic abuse? Would you report it? What can you do if someone you know is in an abusive relationship? How can you help them? (Students can check out this website to collect some ideas: http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/support-a-friend-or-family-member-experiencing-domestic-violence.aspx)

(Ask for feedback and try to reinforce the idea that there are certain ways in which they CAN help.)


What could we do to stop violence against women?

Tell your students to imagine that they are working for an NGO which aims to help women who are victims of domestic violence. They advocate for ending violence against women: They have to organise a campaign in which they are raising awareness of the different ways of eliminating violence against women. They have to brainstorm and collect some ideas from other sources to be able to present them in front of their community leaders.

Ask the students to collect ideas from different sources and present them in either a poster format or as a sway presentation. (http://sway.com )

Encourage them to think of what we could do at a societal, at an individual, at a business and at a systems level as well.

Some places where they can find ideas:


This lesson is one of the 4 winning entries for our Special Days Competition 2017. It was created by Rita Divéki. Rita is a temporary lecturer at the Department of Language Pedagogy at Eötvös Loránt University and at Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest and a PhD student in the Language Pedagogy Programme of ELTE. Initially she worked at the International Student Centre at ELTE preparing students from all parts of the globe for their university studies in Hungary. Her main interests include teaching controversial issues, global citizenship education, teaching with pop culture and using mLearning for skills development.

– Rita’s ELT Jukebox: http://ritaseltjukebox.wixsite.com/index
– Talk shows in ELT: http://talkshowsinelt.wixsite.com/talkshows

Additional resources

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Human Rights Day

What do the pictures have in common?

Present the following pictures to your students and ask them what they have in common. What is the main idea behind them? What are they in reference to?




Key: They are all in connection with human rights and Human Rights Day. 1) Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize winner known for her human rights advocacy for female education. 2) Eleanor Roosevelt was an American politician and the chair of the committee that adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. 3) The Empire State Building in blue in honour of Human Rights Day on 10 December every year.

Pictures: www.google.com

Human Rights Day

Once students have the solution, tell them about Human Rights Day briefly. According to the UN, “Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” to defend and promote human rights.

Speed dating

Divide the class into two groups and ask them to form two concentric circles. The students in the circles should face each other, i.e. everyone should have a partner standing opposite them. Tell them that they are going to get questions and have 2 minutes to discuss them. After 2 minutes, those standing in the outer circle will move to the right, have a new partner, and discuss a new question. (You may choose the inner circle and the other direction, of course.) The activity continues for 4-5 questions, depending on how much time you have.

Some of the questions are from the video the students are going to watch later.

  • What are the basic human rights?
  • Who chooses them?
  • What is the most important human right for you?
  • Do all people have equal rights in the world?

Checking answers

Play the video until 2:24 and let students check their predictions to some of the questions. Conduct open-class feedback.

What’s the word?

Give students the transcript of the video excerpt they have just seen with some of the main words paraphrased below it. Ask students to find these words in the text.

The idea of human rights is that each one of us, no matter who we are or where we are born, is entitled to the same basic rights and freedoms. Human rights are not privileges and they cannot be granted or revoked. They are inalienable and universal. That may sound straightforward enough, but it gets incredibly complicated as soon as anyone tries to put the idea into practice. What exactly are the basic human rights? Who gets to pick them? Who enforces them, and how?
The history behind the concept of human rights is a long one. Throughout the centuries and across societies, religions, and cultures, we have struggled with defining notions of rightfulness, justice, and rights. But one of the most modern affirmations of universal human rights emerged from the ruins of World War II with the creation of the United Nations. The treaty that established the UN gives as one of its purposes to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights. And with the same spirit, in 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document, written by an international committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, lays the basis for modern international human rights law.
The declaration is based on the principle that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. It lists 30 articles recognising, among other things, the principle of non-discrimination and the right to life and liberty. It refers to negative freedoms, like the freedom from torture or slavery, as well as positive freedoms, such as the freedom of movement and residence. It encompasses basic civil and political rights, such as freedom of expression, religion, or peaceful assembly, as well as social, economic, and cultural rights, such as the right to education and the right to freely choose one’s occupation and be paid and treated fairly. The declaration takes no sides as to which rights are more important, insisting on their universality, indivisibility, and interdependence. And in the past decades, international human rights law has grown, deepening and expanding our understanding of what human rights are, and how to better protect them.

  1. a special advantage that is given only to one person or a group of people: ________________
  2. something that cannot be taken from you: ________________
  3. to make people obey a rule or law: ________________
  4. a formal written agreement between two or more countries or governments: ________________
  5. a part of a law or legal agreement that deals with a particular point: ________________
  6. to formally state an opinion or belief, especially when someone expressed a doubt: ________________
  7. the fact of being respected or deserving respect: ________________
  8. an act of deliberately hurting someone in order to force them to tell you something or to punish them: ________________
  9. the meeting of a group of people for a particular purpose: ________________
  10. the fact of not being able to be separated: ________________

Key: privilege / inalienable / enforce / treaty / article / reaffirm / dignity / torture / assembly / indivisibility

Note: The definition come from http://www.ldoceonline.com/

Word formation

After clarifying the meaning and the pronunciation of the words, put the students into groups of 3. Each group gets 2 words from the list above and a dictionary (or they use their smartphones) and is asked to look for some other forms of the words, such as adjectives, nouns, etc. For instance, the first group can find “privileged” or “privilege (V)” and “inalienability” or “inalienably” etc. Discuss the findings with the whole class.


After working with the language, students keep on working in the groups of three. Each group receives 5-6 questions (again, from the video) that they need to discuss. Conduct open class feedback in the end and play the rest of the video to see what it says. Ask for feedback again.

  • Why are human rights abused and ignored time and time again all over the world?
  • Can you think of any positive and negative aspects of the UDHR?
  • Are human rights really universal?
  • Are human rights changing?
  • Should there be a right to digital privacy?


At the end of the session, ask students to finish the following sentences.

  1. Today, I learnt that…
  2. I’d like to know more about…
  3. Three new words/expressions I’m going to use are…

Optional task

Ask students to read about what happened to Malala and how she got to hold a speech at the UN and became a Nobel Prize laureate. Interested students can summarise their findings in the next lesson.

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International Day of Friendship

Unjumble the quote

Present the following quotation to students and ask them to put the words in the right order:

can / with / friend / the / Anyone / sufferings / sympathise / with / of / a
sympathise / a / it / nature / fine / requires / to / success / firend’s / very / with / a

Key: Anyone can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success. (Oscar Wilde)

After getting the sentence right, put students into pairs and ask them to discuss the quote. Do they agree or disagree? Can they relate to it with a personal story?

Change topic, change direction

For this activity, it is best if students sit in a circle. Tell them they have to brainstorm words or expressions in connection with 2 topics: friendship and football. They start with one of the two topics, but every student has the right to change the topic or the direction. Do the activity until sufficient amount of vocabulary has been generated.

What’s the link?

Now put students into pairs and ask them what the connection between the two topics can be. You might want to put some ideas on the board.

‘The Friendship Games’

Tell students they are going to watch a video about friendship and football. Ask them to write down the following sentence and while watching, finish it: The main idea of the event is…

After that, give students the following gapped text and ask them to complete it with the missing words. They can consult their neighbours if they are not sure. Check their ideas in open-class and see if there are items students are not sure about. Play the video again to check answers and clarify any problematic vocabulary.

The game of soccer is being used to f______ friendship and s____________ between children in the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It’s part of ‘The Friendship Games’ and includes cross-border events in v_________, b_________, j_____, c_____, s________, and other activities. (…) During the games, fans will be allowed to t_______ f______ between the two countries. (…) Even though Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the same island, their people are divided by language and f___________ cultural barriers. The Friendship Games help b_________ that divide.

Key: foster / sportsmanship / volleyball / basketball / judo / chess / soccer / travel / freely / formidable / bridge

Reflect and share

Put students into small groups and now give them the following 4 sentences to finish and discuss:

  • The video made me realise…
  • I liked / disliked the video, because…
  • One thing I haven’t thought about before is…
  • I’d like to learn more about…

Round off the lesson with some open-class feedback and let the individual groups share their ideas and opinions.

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World Vegetarian Day

Board race

Divide students into 2 groups. Put the word “Vegetarianism” at the top of the board and make 2 columns: one that reads (A-M) and another (N-Z). Give the teams a time limit (e.g. 3 minutes) and ask them to come up with as many words related to the topic of vegetarianism as they can in their column. The letters show what the first letter of the words/expressions can be for the groups. When they have finished, the teams look at each other’s solutions and dispute answers on the grounds of spelling, legibility, word form etc.


After generating a sufficient amount of vocabulary, draw a cline on the board (e.g. under the already existing table) or simply point at two ends of the classroom to indicate the two ends: being a vegetarian or a meat-eater. Ask students to stand along the cline, reflecting their opinion. Then, students with similar opinions brainstorm arguments to support their opinions.

Note: if everybody stands at the same end of the scale, ask them to think about what a person at the other end of the scale would say.

“Why I’m a weekday vegetarian” – video

Play the video once and ask students to pay attention to what the main idea of the video is. After that, to check deeper understanding, play the video for the second time and tell students that they should try to remember some new information from the video. Then, in open-class, do the “Think” section with your class.

Alternatively, you can also think of this activity as a regular listening task: give students the questions on paper before playing it again, let them read through the questions, and have them choose the right answers.

Key lexis

Before watching the video for the second time, you might want to check students’ understanding of and/or pre-teach the following vocabulary items: hippie / hypocritical / mere / emission / tuck into / tastebud / culprit / footprint

1-minute challenge

Ask students to come up with 10 other pieces of information they learnt from the video. These can refer to anything: the content, the presenter, etc.


Put students into pairs and ask them to discuss if they would try being a weekday vegetarian. Conduct open-class feedback at the end of the activity and see if there are any people who would take the challenge and go weekday veggie. If they agree to do so, make sure you get back to this in another lesson and ask for feedback.


For more information, you can use the “Dig Deeper” section that contains multiple additional resources to explore.


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World Day Against Child Labour

Family profile

Put the picture of Halima and her parents on the board (or project them). Put students into pairs and ask them to do a little brainstorming and try to come up with a profile of these three people. They can think of the relationship between the people, their age, the place they come from, their occupation, their dreams, anything. Conduct open-class feedback and put some ideas on the board.

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Prediction check

Play the video and check whether the ideas were correct. While doing this, put together the story of the family with the whole group.

Listening for details

Play the video for the second time and ask students to pay closer attention and jot down the context of the following words and figures: sacks / 40% / widespread / fees / awareness raising / tomorrow

1-minute challenge

Ask the group to come up with 20 questions they would ask from Halima or her parents in 1 minute. If students get stuck, help out.

World Day Against Child Labour

Get students’ attention and tell them that you are going to read out 7 words and figures that they have to memorise. They all come from a text they are going to read and complete with these words. Then give students the gapped text and ask them recall the missing items. You might want to ask them NOT to write in the solutions but make sure they know them. After that, nominate somebody to read out the text; if the student gets stuck, have the other members help him/her.

According to statistical data compiled by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2008, an estimated ____ million children aged 5 to 14 partake in child labour globally. Out of the estimated 172 million, about ____ million children regularly engage in __________ work that can potentially ___________ their personal safety, mental & physical health, and development. A consequence of the child labour issue is that it doesn’t just limit itself to the service, automobile or _____________ industries. Regrettably, child labour extends itself to practices such as selling or trafficking children, the forced recruitment of child soldiers, using or offering children for _______________, production of pornography, or early ____________. Furthermore, children who enter into bonded or indentured labour contracts often deal with corporal punishments and threats of violence from their employers if they choose to leave the job.

To focus global attention on the urgent need to eradicate this practice, the International Labour Organization has designated June 12 as World Day Against Child Labour.

Sources: http://issues.tigweb.org/childlabour and http://days.tigweb.org/world-day-against-child-labour-65

Key: 172 / 126 / hazardous / endanger / agricultural / prostitution / marriage

Petition writing

Put students into groups of 3. Hand out a paper with the word “Petition” on top and ask them to write a petition to take a stand against the support of child labour. When they have finished, ask them to put their compositions on the walls of the classroom, go around, and read them to see what the others have come up with. (Depending on the proficiency level of your group, you might need to pre-teach some language related to petition writing.)

Note: the idea of petition writing came from http://issues.tigweb.org/childlabour


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