Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wikileaks: The Interview

Hello everyone.

In our Level 3 classes (Intermediate) we have been looking at the case of a young librarian, Jessica, who, for a month, trained as a television journalist, interviewing politicians. I promised you that I would give you some real life examples of interviews in a future lesson.

And as luck would have it, the BBC's Radio 4 (domestic) carries an interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. He is being interviewed on the "Today " programme by John Humphrys, who is one of Britain's best-known radio journalists and presenters.

When you click on the link I have provided, below, you will go directly to the "Today" web site. You'll be able to listen to the interview, during which Mr Assange explains why he does not want to return to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault. As you listen, you can read the transcript of the interview.

I recommend this to everyone. This is authentic, spoken English, yet the speech is not too rapid. And if you have problems, you can refer to the transcript.

Here is the link to the interview. When you have finished listening, please do leave a comment or a message on the Tag Board to give everyone your reactions.

Coming soon: a guide to web sites to help you with our latest grammar, plus a further Six Minute English Quiz.

Ciao for now!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Answers to Six Minute English: The Weaker Sex

Hello everyone. Here are the answers to the most recent 6 Minute English Quiz:

1) Tenfold - ten times the number.
2) Men find it difficult to ask for help when they need it.
3) Men are more likely to die from cancer and to commit suicide.
4) Doug didn't return to hospital when he continued to get chest pains because he 'didn't want to be a burden'; he 'didn't want to be a fuss'. (burden = nuisance; 'be a fuss" = draw attention to himself)
5) 'Lifestyle choices' include drinking and smoking too much, a bad diet, and not getting enough exercise.
6. Men fail to consult doctors because they don't like to admit weakness or that they have a problem, or that they are vulnerable.
7. We've got to educate men to be more aware, and we have to make the health care system much more accessible.

Very many thanks to all those who participated, namely:
Maya, Giovanni, Maria, Francesco Mileo, Pierluigi and Marzia.

In my very next message: current top sites and recommendations for further work on topics we have recently covered in class.


Friday, December 03, 2010

Six Minute English: Why are men the weaker sex?

Hello and welcome to this week's Six Minute English quiz. We're going to discover why men are, in reality, the weaker sex when it comes to health. It 'ties in' - that is to say, it is connected with, some classwork we did recently, in which we examined some of the differences between men and women.

When you have finished the listening exercise, do post your own opinions on the Tag Board (up to 200 characters) or in a Comment (longer messages.)

Before you listen, read these questions:

1. This week's official question:

Compared with the early 1960s, each year, the number of men who enter medical schools in the UK has doubled. But how many women enter medical school each year?

a) About the same number; b) Triple the number; c) Ten-fold (= ten times as many)

You will hear the answer towards the end of the programme. For the next few questions, give an answer in your own words based on what you hear.

2. Why, basically, are men the weaker sex?
3. Men are more likely to ............. and to commit ........... . [give a short answer.]
4. Why didn't Doug return to hospital when he continued to get chest pains?
5. Give some examples of 'lifetsyle choices'.
6. Why do many men fail to consult doctors when, in fact, they are seriously ill?
7. What can be done to change this situation in which men are 'the weaker sex'? Give Peter Baker's two suggestions.

Now listen to the programme. When you have finished, give your answers on the Tag Board or in a comment.

And discuss this question: in your opinion, who are stronger: men or women?

I look forward to answers from absolutely everyone ... and it makes no difference whether or not you are currently studying at the British Council. You are all equally welcome to participate.