‘Yes! 50 Lessons from the Science of Persuasion’

(by N. J. Goldstein, S. J. Martin & R. B. Cialdini)

Yes 1In terms of value for money, practicality, directness and ease of assimilation of the material this is the best book around in my opinion. It consists of 50 mini articles – each one about 2-3 pages long. Each one is based on one or more scientific studies and there are references at the back of the book. Following the description of the study and a brief discussion of the principle involved, the writers have considered possible applications – in the vast majority of cases in the world of business. The style of writing is clear, jargon-free and humorous.

In terms of the ideas, it is a true treasure-trove! Many of them will be familiar to people with some experience in the field – others far less so! For instance, did you know that if you are going through a job interview, it may be a good idea to start with one of your shortcomings? (p. 102) Or that if that if it is hard for people to imagine using something they are far more likely to ignore it, regardless of how good it is? (the ‘Fluency’ principle – p. 148)  Or that one of the best way to get people to like us is not to do things for them but to get them to do things for us? (‘The Franklin Principle’ – p. 72)

There are simply dozens of ‘take away’ messages for us teachers. Clearly, that hint about interviews might come in handy to us too and the fluency principle is vital whether we are presenting a new strategy or a new Web tool – if something looks too complicated students will shun it. The Franklin principle has immediate applications everywhere; to paraphrase JFK ‘Ask not what you can do for your students; ask what your students can do for YOU!’ 🙂  Incredibly, they are going to like both you and the lesson more!

And that’s not all: on p. 26 we learn that giving students too much choice can backfire! (Moral: whether it is Readers or Essay Topics less is often more!) The ‘consistency’ principle (p. 56) suggests that to get students to do something ‘big’ it pays to start small; language benefits aside, when a student listens to the BBC News for 5 min or brings a single joke in class, they come to see themselves in a different light! And here is my favourite principle: ‘Labelling’ (p. 59) Simply telling people at random that they are above average in civic-mindedness made them more likely to vote! But what about learners? Amazingly telling children that they seemed to care about their handwriting made them practice – even when nobody was present! (p. 60) Excellent!

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Ads for ELT – Dear Kitten [Welcome]

The delights of underwear’; ‘’The importance of jumping’; ‘The monster Vah-Kuhm’; ‘The mysterious red dot’. A cat welcomes the new kitten to the household and does its best to educate the newcomer on its new surroundings [as Maximilian once did for him (her?) – RIP]. This amazing clip is actually an ad, but a bit of creativity plus Ze Frank’s amazing voice make it unique! Enjoy! 🙂

Level: B2 – C1. Topic: Pets / Home / Family.

To get the script and a handout for this clip just click on this link: http://wp.me/a3Y3b8-3z

Ads for ELT – Blind Date

Quite simply one of the best clips ever for the language classroom! Why? Because  a) it’s easy to follow  b) it’s packed full of excellent language chunks  c) the delivery is perfectly clear and  d) it’s very fuuny!

What is the concept? Well, it’s a blind date – with a difference! Apart from the couple, there is also a commentator (none other than Ian Darke!) who gives us a hilarious blow-by-blow account of what is happening as though it were a football match. Student satisfaction guaranteed!  🙂

Level: C1 – C2  Topic: Relationships / Dating / Football.

To get the script and a handout for this clip just click on this link: http://wp.me/a3Y3b8-3y

Ads for ELT – Apple Watch

Fantastic! Comedian Jack Douglas makes fun of all the hype surrounding each and every new Apple product. In addition, he also points out a number of things which the manufacturers never take the trouble to tell us. One could start a lesson with an authentic Apple Watch ad, have a debate about its usefulness and then round everything off with this short clip. The perfect ‘dessert’ to a lesson on Technology.

Level: B2 – C1 Topics: Technology / Shopping / Advertising / Consumerism / Gadgets

To get the script and a handout for this clip just click on this link: http://wp.me/a3Y3b8-3x

Ads for ELT – Tights

Who said tights are just for women?!? It’s one thing to wear your kilt and feel the breeze on your bare legs when you are up in the glen, but it’s quite another to have your skin exposed if you find yourself in the trenches under gas attack. Apparently Scottish soldiers decided that if they had to choose between having people laugh at them or suffering 3rd degree burns, they would go for the former, thank you very much. [Plus, given the reputation of the Scottish soldiers, I somehow feel that others would think twice before making fun of them… 🙂 ]

Level: C1 – C2. Topic: Language / Accents / Dialects.

To get the script and a handout for this clip just click on this link: http://wp.me/a3Y3b8-3B

Ads for ELT – Air Middle Earth

With the last part of the ‘Hobbit’ trilogy coming out this weekend, this brilliantly creative pre-flight briefing will be a treat for your teenage students! Imagine being aboard a plane packed full with characters from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ saga. The crew inform the passengers about the safety features of the plane – and the latter chip in with some tips of their own. The clear language delivery makes it ideal for Listening comprehension practice. Enjoy! 🙂

Level: B2 – C1  Topic: Travelling / Air Travel / Fantasy / Books

To see the script, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’. To download a free handout (with activities, the key and the script) just click on this link: http://wp.me/a3Y3b8-4u.

Comedy for ELT – Language Problems

This has to be one of the funniest sketches ever! 🙂 A number of students are talking about the problems they have with English. Incredibly they do manage to understand each other… 🙂  A hilarious little sketch with huge potential both for the classroom and for presentations. Level: B2 – C1  Topics: Language / Language Learning / Education / Learning difficulties.

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

Comedy for ELT – Technology

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An old guy visits the local grocer’s (!) as his Blackberry is not working! What is the problem? What is the problem with his Apple? And what should he get his grandson as a present? One of the best sketches ever – with two of the all-time comedy greats (and the best way to finish a lesson on IT!) [You have probably seen this one – perhaps more than once! – but I had to have it in the ‘collection’!]  Level: B2 – C1  Topic: Technology

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

Songs for ELT – Lady in Black

What is a good song for ELT? For me, it has to tick 4 boxes: a) It has to have lots of language;  b) the delivery has to be clear;  c) the music should not be too loud/intrusive;  d) it should not have long interludes without words. If on top of all this the song has something to say, so much the better. This is one of my absolute favourites. With a clear, unambiguous anti-war message, this song is a classic.

Level: B1 – B2  Topic: War / Fighting / Justice. To download a free handout (with activities, the key and the script) just click here.

Songs for ELT – The Lidl Song

You are behind with the rent, you have unpaid bills and on top of this there is nothing in the cupboard. In the past, you might have contemplated suicide; today you just go to Lidl (or is it Laidl?!?) A brilliant song by Andy Conway. Level: B2 – C1  Topic: Shopping / Money / Consumerism

To see the script, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’. To download a free handout (with activities, the key and the script) just click here.

Comedy for ELT – The Essay

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How do you mark students’ essays? You start by looking at the content – the ideas, right? Then come questions of organization / structure and finally we look at language – systematic errors, careless mistakes etc… In this fantastic clip which I believe should be compulsory viewing for all language teachers, the student (T. Suitor) has found himself in hot water as his progress has been ‘disappointing’… The Headmaster pulls no punches as he gives him a good talking to…  But what is it that infuriates him about Suitor’s writing? [If you like it, feel free to share it!]

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

 

Comedy for ELT – Job Interview 2

Scott is being considered for promotion and he turns up for the interview. Everything is normal, except that among the three people he has to face there is a guy who is constantly sarcastic and who keeps hurling abuse at him. The bemused interviewee learns that this is done deliberately so that they can see how he copes with ‘Extreme Negative Feedback’. A hilarious little clip from the brilliant comedy duo Mitchell and Webb. Level: C1 – C2 Topic: Business / Work / Interviews.

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

Comedy for ELT – Mistakes 1

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Never mind exams – whether we are talking about pronunciation, grammar or vocabulary, mistakes can be a question of life and death! Literally!! 🙂  In this little clip, a typical business presentation has just come to an end and the speaker has thought of a catchy acronym to round off his talk… Reading it out loud turns out to be a fatal mistake… A brilliant sketch – and an excellent introduction to an accuracy-focused lesson… Topic: Mistakes / Pronunciation / Business  Level: C1 – C2

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

Comedy for ELT – Greatest Invention Yet!

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Many of what we think of as modern inventions have their origins in the Middle Ages… Here, Barbiarry (a great inventor of mostly useless things) goes to his Lordship in order to show him his latest amazing design… With love from me to all technology buffs – feel free to share!   

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

Comedy for ELT – Kevin’s ADD

It is the day when parents meet the teachers at school and Kevin’s parents get to meet Ms Baxter.  Let’s see what she has to say about him….  A short, straightforward and easy sketch (which incidentally helps explain a great number of instances of ADD among teenagers!)  – it is the perfect introduction or conclusion to all kinds of talks (Classroom Management / Teaching Teenagers / Teachers and Parents etc.)  Level: B2   Topic: Teenagers

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

Comedy for ELT – From 29 to 31

Simply amazing!!! 🙂  The woman on the left is 29 – the woman on the right is supposed to be the same one at 31. And what a HUGE difference two years make…

Watch the brilliant Garfunkel and Oates give us the stereotypical perspective of a woman at these two (oh so different) stages of her life. Excellent language and a fantastic springboard for all sorts of role-plays, debates, stereotype dissection etc. etc. – the possibilities are endless!

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

Comedy for ELT – Men and Women 1

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What is strange about the term ‘Best Man’? Why do Men wear tuxedos at weddings? Why is Jerry Seinfeld convinced he will never be able to understand Women? What is it that is really going on inside a Man’s head? And (very importantly) why did Men take that little car with them when they went to the moon? Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up material is exceptionally good for us teachers for three reasons: a) it is funny  b) he speaks very clearly and  c) his jokes are so clean you could use them in a sermon! 🙂   Topic: Men – Women / Relationships  Level: B2 – C1.

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with ACTIVITIES, the KEY and the SCRIPT just click here).

Comedy for ELT – Biases and Stereotypes

We have all read the parable of ‘The Good Samaritan’ in the Bible. What is not generally known however is a recording of the original rendition of the story (yes, by Jesus himself!) actually exists! The recently discovered Roman-built i-Scroll IV had a built-in camera and apparently some disciple decided to record this moment for posterity. As you will see however, there are some differences between the Bible version and what happened in reality… 🙂  Yet another brilliant sketch by the great comic duo Mitchell and Webb. Level: B2 – C1  Topic: Racism / Prejudice / Immigration / Nationalism / Religion.

To see the SCRIPT, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’.
To download a free handout (with activities, the key and the script just click here).

Comedy for ELT – Facebook Manners

You didn’t know that Facebook has been around since the 50s, did you? Well, you do now. Young Alice gets back home and checks her account. To her amazement, she finds that her boyfriend is now ‘single’! Ooops – that looks ominous… 🙂

Not only is this fantastic clip excellent for listening comprehension (the delivery is slow and clear) but it a perfect springboard for all kinds of discussions / presentations about what should and should not be allowed in the social media [talk about motivating topics… 🙂 ]

Level: B2 – C1  Topic: Social Media / Relationships / Manners

To see the script, just click under the video where it says ‘Show More’. To download a free handout (with activities, the key and the script) just click here.