Category Archives: Business

Beware of Deepfakes: Digital Impersonations That Can Deceive Us

“To those fearful of a future in which videos of real people are indistinguishable from computer-generated forgeries, two recent developments that attracted an audience of millions might have seemed alarming.” D. Victor, The New York Times, March 10, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Lesson Plan

A video of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died last year, was created using MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia tool.

Excerpt: Your Loved Ones, and Eerie Tom Cruise Videos, Reanimate Unease With Deepfakes,By Daniel Victor, The New York Times, March 10, 2021

“First, a visual effects artist worked with a Tom Cruise impersonator to create startlingly accurate videos imitating the actor. The videos, created with the help of machine-learning techniques and known as deepfakes, gained millions of views on TikTok, Twitter and other social networks in late February.

A looping video of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was created using a photograph and a tool on the MyHeritage genealogy site.

Then, days later, MyHeritage, a genealogy website best known for its role in tracking down the identity of the Golden State Killer, offered a tool to digitally animate old photographs of loved ones, creating a short, looping video in which people can be seen moving their heads and even smiling. More than 26 million images had been animated using the tool, called Deep Nostalgia, as of Monday, the company said.

The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media, which could lead to significant improvements in the advertising and entertainment industries. But the technology could also be used — and has been — to raise doubts about legitimate videos and to insert people, including children, into pornographic images.

The creators of the viral Tom Cruise TikToks said the expertise required to use the technology makes abusing it much harder, and the company behind the photo-animating tool said it put in place safeguards to prevent misuse…‘Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening,’ said Sam Gregory, the program director of Witness, a nonprofit organization focused on the ethical use of video, and an expert on artificial intelligence…The Deep Nostalgia tool was created for MyHeritage by D-ID, an artificial intelligence company based in Tel Aviv. Gil Perry, the chief executive of D-ID, said that the company works only with partners it can trust not to abuse the technology, and that it had a four-year relationship with MyHeritage.

Videos created using the tool have watermarks to indicate that they aren’t real, and the videos do not include audio, a decision that Mr. Perry said makes it harder to use them for unsavory purposes…The effects could also be used in Hollywood to better age or de-age actors, or to improve the dubbing of films and TV shows in different languages, closely aligning lip movements with the language onscreen… Of course, people who have died can’t consent to being featured in videos. And that matters if dead people — especially celebrities — can be digitally resurrected, as the artist Bob Ross was to sell Mountain Dew…Henry Ajder, a deepfakes researcher, imagined a future in which our own voices could be used with assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing us to stay connected with loved ones after our deaths.”

STAY SAFE — KEEP LOVED ONES SAFE

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

LESSON PLAN

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities KWL Chart

The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about Digital Impersonations.Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

Advanced K-W-L chart.Intervention for Reading — Michigan State University

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Videos of real people are indistinguishable from computer-generated forgeries.
  2. A visual effects artist worked with a Tom Cruise impersonator to make the forgeries.
  3. MyHeritage is  a genealogy website.
  4. The website offered a tool to digitally animate old photographs of loved ones.
  5. The tool is called Deep Nostalgia.
  6. The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media.
  7. Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening.
  8. Many people are focused on the ethical use of the videos.
  9. The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat.
  10. Creating these videos required extensive expertise and time.

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. More than 26 million image had been animated.
  2. The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media.
  3. Experts say the two examples are not overly alarming.

II

  1. The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat.
  2. Most of what you sea in the videos is the body and voice of Miles Fisher.
  3. Videos like this would require extensive manual work.

III

  1. A nongovernmental organization created a videos of a Mexican journalist.
  2. As the technology advances, it will be used more broadly.
  3. People are always trying to think about the perfect deepfake.

 

While Reading: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening.”
  2. “The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat. they required extensive expertise and time…It’s like a small Hollywood studio with the two of us. It’s not something you can do at a home computer, pressing a button.”
  3. “The technology could also have a destabilizing effect on global affairs, as politicians claim that videos, including genuine ones, are fake in order to gain an advantage that they have called “the liar’s dividend.”
  4. “Imagine a future in which our own voices could be used with assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing us to stay connected with loved ones after our deaths…In what cases do we need consent of the deceased to resurrect them?”

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. What is the purpose of the tool Deep Nostalgia? What safeguards has D-ID, the company behind the tool, created to prevent its misuse?
  2. What are some benefits to using ‘synthetic media’? What are some dangers in using this type of media?
  3. Name two ways that people can tell which videos were created using the The Deep Nostalgia tool.
  4. Who was Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas? Joaquin Oliver? Why are they important to this article?
  5. What are some other ways this technology be used?
  6. (e.g., In the movies/TV shows–in Politics)
  7. How can this technology  have a destabilizing effect on global affairs?
  8. Have you ever seen a deepfake video? If so, where did you see it? Did you think it was real or could you tell it was fake?  If Yes, explain how you knew.
  9. The article concludes with a discussion of consent from people both living and dead. In your opinion, in the future, will we need the consent of dead people to reanimate them? Explain your answer.
  10. Write down three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review all  responses as a class.

Extra Activity:

Main Idea / Debate

Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and additional articles from various newspapers including the New York Times to support their arguments.

Team A will list reasons that support arguments for Deepfake technology.

Team B will list reasons that support arguments against Deepfake technology.

Each team will have time to state their points of view,  and the teacher decides which team made their points.  

For organization, have students use Pros and Cons Scale organizer  from Freeology

Pros and Cons Scale

Additional Articles on Deepfakes:

Facebook Says It Will Ban ‘Deepfakes’ (New York Times)

Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future‘ (New York Times)

Deepfakes Are Going To Wreak Havoc On Society. We Are Not Prepared.” (Forbes)

Deepfakes and the New AI-Generated Fake Media Creation-Detection Arms Race” (Scientific American)

What Are Deepfakes — and How Can You Spot Them?” (The Guardian)

ANSWER KEY

How to Keep Achieving Job Success Virtually

“Plenty of offices will be empty until well into 2021, so there’s no time like the present to seek feedback from the boss and brush up on your skills.”  J. Weed, The New York Times (November 2, 2020)

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- The New York Times

 

Excerpt:  How to Keep Climbing the Ladder While You Work From Home, By Julie Weed — The New York Times (November 2, 2020)

“You’re stuck working from home, but does your career need to be stuck, too? Worried about keeping employees safe, many companies are pushing return-to-office dates deep into next year, so workers face more months toiling from spare bedrooms and kitchen tables. To keep progressing professionally, reach out for feedback, polish your skills and stay visible (on Zoom, Slack or however you keep in touch with your bosses).

Credit- Recursource

It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office, said Wonya Lucas, chief executive at Crown Media Family Networks, which owns the Hallmark Channel.  It’s also more important than ever to keep track of your to-do list, with quick check-ins to clarify or confirm directions.

Employees may wonder if they are checking in too frequently — or not enough — to make sure they are on the right track. The simplest solution is to ask your manager how he or she wants to be briefed (by Slack message, email or phone call), how often or under what circumstances, and with what level of detail.

‘Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you,’ said Elizabeth Umphress, a management professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

‘Sending an email asking to meet about communications expectations gives them time to think about what they want,’ Dr. Umphress added, “and you can come to that conversation with ideas, too.’

Level Up Your Skills

Ask your manager what you should focus on improving or which skill he or she is using most right now, Ms. Lucas said. There are plenty of free or low-cost online classes, video tutorials and other resources on every aspect of the business world. It may even be beneficial to go back to school part time… Volunteer for tasks outside your job description to gain new knowledge and get in front of new groups, Ms. Lucas said. Experience and exposure go hand in hand…If you’ve made the effort to acquire a new skill or do some interesting research, offer to hold a ‘lunch and learn’ virtual meet-up to share your new knowledge and gain recognition that way.

Seek out employees with different job descriptions like marketing, finance, human resources and learn what they do. ‘You will always be judged on how well you do in your own area, but unless you understand how your group’s work fits into the company’s overall goals and strategy, you wont rise far,’ Ms. Lucas said.

Take advantage of the virtual break rooms, happy hours or lunchtime hangouts your company is hosting, to meet people, she said. Connecting with someone about a shared interest like sports or pets ‘can lead to the courage to ask that person to a virtual lunch,’ she added.

If Your Boss Doesn’t Support You

Gaining visibility can be especially challenging in a virtual workplace if your boss isn’t passing your good work up the chain or, worse, is taking credit for it. Ask to join the meeting where your work is being presented. Ask peers to speak up for you and acknowledge your contribution to the project.

Give Yourself a Break

If you do need to tread water at work, that’s OK, too. Careers can span 50 years, and for this moment, personal health may need to eclipse professional growth.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes. 


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine the photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

 

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You can use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. You’re stuck working from home.
  2. Workers face more months toiling from spare bedrooms and kitchen tables.
  3. It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office.
  4. It’s also more important than ever to keep track of your to-do list.
  5. The simplest solution is to ask your manager how he or she wants to be briefed.
  6. Ask your manager under what circumstances you might talk to them.
  7. Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you.
  8. If the time you’re saving on your commute travel hasn’t been subsumed by your children’s online schooling you might study improving your skills.
  9. Learn a new skill like wrangling complex PowerPoint presentations or wielding infographics software.
  10. Try to come up with one smart comment or provocative question in the meetings.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Your stuck working from home during the pandemic.
  2. To keep progressing reach out for feedback.
  3. Be sure to clarify or confirm directions.

II

  1. Employees should make sure they are on the right track.
  2. Ask your manager what you should focus on now.
  3. Getting started can sometimes take courage.

III

  1. Don’t be shy about asking a co-worker for help.
  2. People like to be noticed for there strengths.
  3. Figure out the other person’s style and adapt to it.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from speakers in the article. Then try to identify the speakers.

  1. “It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office.”
  2. “Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you.”
  3. “Getting started can sometimes take courage. “Terrified of writing? Take a writing class!”
  4. Figure out the other person’s style and adapt to it, to communicate most effectively with them…Learn how to express empathy better, as well. “

II. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. What does the author suggest doing to keep progressing professionally?
  2. How do you make sure that you are on the right track with your boss?
  3. Where can you find classes and tutorials if you need to improve on a skill?
  4. Which skills are very important?
  5. What advice does Jean Choy give for communicating effectively with other people?
  6. What advice does Ms. Lucas give for engaging in online meetings?
  7. Name at least  three things you can do to gain new knowledge and exposure in your job.
  8. What can you do online to to meet people involved with your company?
  9. What advice does Dr. Umphress give to managers?
  10. How do you handle a boss who does not support your work?
  11. List 3  questions that you  would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Share questions as a class.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

2021: Assessing Applicants Online Without Interviewers

“Video responses to set questions, online games that measure a person’s traits and skills: The future of interviews is coming to a wider variety of professions in the pandemic.” J. Weed, The New York Times, Nov. 27, 2020

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image- Northeastern University

 

Excerpt: Job Interviews Without Interviewers, Products of the Pandemic, By Julie Weed, Nov. 27, 2020

“So much of our work lives has moved online during the pandemic: group meetings, chats with the boss — even interviewing for a new job. The pandemic has also led companies to conduct ‘interviews’ without an interviewer. Job applicants are being asked to video record answers to set questions about their experience, skills and personal qualities, rather than speaking with a recruiter by phone or video chat. So-called case questions that pose a business problem and would typically lead into a 30-minute conversation with a hiring manager may now require solely written responses. Online tests in the form of games aim to measure job-seekers’ cognitive and personal traits.

Image- The Addison Group

The new systems are used most often for high turnover hourly jobs like fast-food worker, phone representative or warehouse employee, said Madeline Laurano, founder of Aptitude Research, a firm based in Boston that studies business hiring practices. But the systems are beginning to be used more often for professional jobs, too, especially in the financial, consulting, technology and health industries, she said.

Recruiters who use the systems no longer have to spend large parts of their days in the back and forth of scheduling interviews — the software handles that.

Image- The Confident Career-Conquering Virtual Interviews

The company can evaluate more applicants by reviewing more videos, written responses and game results, less encumbered by interviewers’ schedule restrictions.

Hiring bias, too, can be reduced using the new technology, since each applicant is asked the same questions in the same way, making performances easier to compare objectively… The pandemic has accelerated the use of this technology. In February… 58 percent of businesses were using or considering using digital hiring systems, including ones with the ability for applicants to schedule their own appointments online and participate in video interviews, either with a recruiter or recorded.”

In Response to the Attack on Our Capitol By Cowards:

“My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week’s attack on the Capitol.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger~ January 6, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic. Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming chart by UIE

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Now there are online games that can measure a person’s traits.
  2. In the past, applicants spoke with a recruiter by phone.
  3. So-called case questions that pose a business problem would typically lead into a 30-minute conversation.
  4. Online tests in the form of games aim to measure job-seekers’ cognitive and personal traits.
  5. The new systems are used most often for high turnover hourly jobs.
  6. The company can evaluate more applicants by reviewing more videos.
  7. Hiring bias, too, can be reduced using the new technology.
  8. Some of the new systems can answer questions about benefits using chatbots.
  9. There are tools that can be used to test the programming acumen of software engineers.
  10. Technical snafus still happen.

 

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.  For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,  as, across, around,  about, by, during,  for, from, in, into,  of, on,  to, over,  off, through, up,  with, since,

  1. So much ___our work lives has moved online ____the pandemic.
  2. Job applicants are being asked ___video record answers ___set questions ___their experience.
  3. Recruiters who use the systems no longer have ___spend large parts ___their days ___the back and forth___scheduling interviews.
  4. Some ___the new systems can contact references, answer questions___ benefits using chatbots, and send along training modules ___newly hired employees.

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. The new systems are used most often for high turnover hourly jobs like fast-food worker, phone representative or warehouse employee.”
  2. “The face-to-face interviews don’t really work that well because there is unconscious bias, and some people may not know how to do an interview well.”
  3. Sixty percent of the nearly five million interviews conducted so far this year using his company’s video recording software were completed after work hours.”
  4. It feels weird… With a person, she can receive cues on how things are going, like encouraging nods or requests for details.”
  5. They reduce bias in hiring because they evaluate personal qualities that applicants can possess without attending elite colleges or fitting into a preconceived image of what a ‘good’ candidate looks like.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. What is the purpose of online tests in the form of games?
  2. Which professional jobs are starting to use the new technology?
  3. Why are recruiters no longer required to conduct job interviews?
  4. How does a company evaluate applicants with this new process?
  5. How is hiring bias reduced  with the new  technology?
  6. When using video recorded interviews, what can an applicant do if they do not like the manner in which they answered a question?
  7. According to the article what a some of the problems that might occur with the new technology?
  8. According to Ms. Tobón which part of the recorded interview takes more practice? Why?
  9. What are some of the ways companies can reduce the stress on applicants making videos?
  10. After reading this article which do you prefer, online or in-person interviews? Explain why.
  11. What new information have you learned from this article?

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

 

If Kids Return to School Masks Are Must!

“Crayola, Old Navy and Disney are among the brands making colorful masks for children. Child psychologists see this as a positive step toward “normalcy.” D. B. Taylor, The New York Times

Crayola-NBC news

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Excerpt: This Year’s Must-Have Back-to-School Item: Masks for Children By Derrick B. Taylor, NYT

“Fall is drawing near, and right on schedule, ads offering discounts on backpacks, notebooks and pencils are beginning to pop up on television and online.

But this year, during a pandemic that has school officials agonizing over how and whether to safely reopen masks are appearing among the glue sticks and glitter as essential back-to-school items.

Crayola Masks – Credit- Crayola NYT

Companies like Crayola, Old Navy and Disney have begun selling colorful masks for children in packs of four and five as part of their back-to-school offerings… Dr. Andrew Adesman, the chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, said the reality is, you want children to go back to school in the safest way possible…” Having child-friendly face masks in terms of fit and appeal are probably more part of the solution than the problem.”

Credit- Freepik

With the school year quickly approaching, schools across the United States are grappling with how to reopen — and whether they can reopen safely at all… There are concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks, especially among older children. A large study from South Korea found that children younger than 10 transmit the coronavirus much less often than adults, although the risk is not zero.

Credit- Krayola

Children between 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as efficiently as adults do, the study found…The research does not necessarily prove that children are spreading the virus, but experts said the findings should influence the debate over whether and how to reopen schools…Though scientists and health authorities say that masks reduce the spread of the coronavirus, even adults can’t agree on wearing them.”

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

“2020 Election Live Updates: Democratic convention speakers will include the Clintons and Obamas, along with Sanders and Kasich. The big names will be augmented by testimonials from “from voters of all kinds — delegates, parents, teachers, small-business owners, essential workers, activists and elected leaders,” culled from “1,000 crowdsourced videos,” officials with the convention’s organizing committee announced on Monday.” The New York Times

Democratic Convention Begins:  Monday August 17 — Ends Thursday August 20  Visit  The Democratic National Convention  Schedule Information Here

Congratulations! Kamala Harris Is Biden’s Choice for Vice President!

Biden taps Kamala Harris as his pick for vice president-New York Times

“A former rival for the Democratic nomination, she will be the first woman of color to be nominated for national office by a major political party.” By A. Burns and K. Glueck, The New York Times

Joe Biden with his VP choice Kamala Harris

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Fall is drawing near, and right on schedule.
  2. But this school year there is a pandemic.
  3. School officials are agonizing over how and whether to safely reopen.
  4. Face masks are appearing as essential back-to-school items.
  5. The idea of colorful masks is all very bright if a little dystopian.
  6. Some educators feel child-friendly face masks  will appeal to kids.
  7. There are concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks.
  8. It had been found that infected children have at least as much of the coronavirus in their noses and throats as infected adults.
  9. Experts said the findings should influence the debate over whether and how to reopen schools.
  10. More than half the states have issued mask requirements in recent weeks.

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Masks was designed to help children adapt to the new normal.
  2. Fall is coming and some schools might open.
  3. This school year is during a pandemic.

II

  1. Schools have two major concerns.
  2. Some companies is making large quantities of masks for children.
  3. In addition, items such as face shields are being made for kids.

 

III

  1. It’s all very bright and colorful for kids.
  2. There  is concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks.
  3. Some stores want children to pester their parents for masks.

 

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. “The reality is, you want children to go back to school in the safest way possible.”
  2.   “The key to getting children to wear masks in school was to make them fun.”
  3. ” The company had designed its masks to help children adapt to the new normal and feel comfortable in school.”
  4. “The company had started making face coverings for families at the outset of the pandemic.”
  5. “Some stores want children to pester their parents for masks, “for kids to say, ‘I want that mask because it’s nicely designed.”

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. What are the two main concerns school officials have?
  2. Which three major companies are selling masks for children?
  3. In addition to masks what other items are being made for children to wear this fall?
  4. Dr. Andrew feels that face masks for kids should be viewed in what way?
  5. The article states, In most districts where students will be allowed to return to the classroom, they’ll do so with a requirement to wear masks or face coverings, though that directive is not universal.”
  6. In your opinion, should face masks be required for  some kids but not for all? Why or why not?
  7. The article states, Children between 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as efficiently as adults do, the study found.”
  8. Do you think schools should reopen at all this year? Explain why.

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideasyou’ve learned about the topic from the reading,two thingsthatyou did not understand in the reading, and one thing youwould like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

Main Idea / Debate

Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and sources from the Webto support their arguments.

Team A will list five reasons that support arguments for children returning to school.

Team B will list  five reasons that support arguments against children returning to school

Each team will have time to state their points of view,and the teacher decides which team made their points.  

For organization, have students use this Pros and Cons Scale organizer from Freeology

Pros and Cons Scale

ANSWER KEY

Your Job Title: What’s in a Name?

“Late last summer, I traveled to San Francisco to give a talk at a conference on corporate communications. There, one speaker identified herself as a corporate storyteller... Next up was a story strategist…Batting third was Robert Scoble, a futurist at a cloud computing company called Rackspace... I don’t mean to judge — my own job is hardly less opaque. I am the vice president for content at Contently…” S. Slaughter New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo-makeameme

Excerpt: Your Job Title Is … What? By Sam Slaughter,  The New York Times

“Mr. Scoble showed slides of virtual reality headsets, and a device that looked something like a TV remote control that will provide detailed information about objects around you. You can aim it at a box of Cheerios, or even a dog, he told the audience… I have had meetings with a brand ambassadors (a bit like celebrity endorsers, but with more tattoos).

Credit- A Dilbert Book (Dilbert Collections) Amazon

Credit- A Dilbert Book (Dilbert Collections) Amazon

I have coffee with thought leaders (those with “authority” in a given field) and customer happiness managers. (Your guess is as good as mine, but I assume that it used to be called customer service.)

Credit- A Dilbert Book (Dilbert Collections) Amazon

Credit- A Dilbert Book (Dilbert Collections) Amazon

Job titles as we traditionally know them — vice president for marketing, or East Coast sales manager — emerged in the 1930s as a way to define roles in organizations that were becoming increasingly complex, said Peter Cappelli, the director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. That started to change in the 1990s, when employees began to be concerned with how their job titles might be interpreted.

Photo- Barclays-slideshare

Photo- Barclays-slideshare

As for myself, I will admit that I have drawn my fair share of Venn diagrams on whiteboards and had plenty of meetings about meetings — none of which would have helped my mom understand my job at all. I think the vice president of the content is like something from ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ she told me a few weeks ago.”

Visit ESL Voices Business Section for great Job Hunting Tips!

AND

Don’t forget ESL Voices Lesson Plans for the Classics

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and  Word Map from  Education Oasis for assistance.Word Map Education Oasis

  1. The job was to humanize narratives.
  2. Both used pictures of cave paintings in their presentations.
  3. The point was to emphasize humankind’s ancient connection to the craft.
  4. Mr. Scoble showed slides of virtual reality headsets.
  5. My own job is hardly less opaque.
  6. We help companies understand the changing media landscape.
  7. I’m personally branding myself according to what I want to do.
  8. My younger brother is a lawyer, with no such issues.
  9. These titles emerged in the 1930s.
  10. In the 1990s  employees were concerned with how their job titles might be interpreted.

Reading Comprehension

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students are to circle or underline the correct word or phrases from the article. This exercise reinforces students’ attention on words that have been introduced in the reading. Have them skim the article to check  their responses. Students should also find the meanings for all unknown words.

“There was a tin/time, Dr. Cappelli said, when/while employees actually/actual had two sets of busy/business cards: one that identified/identity you within the company, and another for purple/people on the outside.

Employment is ever more fragmented/fragrance, freelance/freehand, entrepreneurial and digitally/digital focused, and there are plenty of jobs that never existed/extinguish before. In many cases, the roles are changing faster than the titles can even revolve/reflect.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. This days, two business cards would hardly be enough.
  2. My boss was having a hard time figuring out the titles.
  3. They start small, with little to no structure.

II

  1. The company is founded in 2012.
  2. In that kind of environment, a title seems like an afterthought.
  3. Mystifying job titles have spread far beyond the start-up universe.

III

  1. Now, certainly, there is a bit of willful fakery at work.
  2. I have known a intern who worked as the head of marketing.
  3. There is a whole universe of solo practitioners.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.

1. The following  two statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“There was a time,when employees actually had two sets of business cards: one that identified you within the company, and another for people on the outside…These days, two business cards would hardly be enough. Employment is ever more fragmented, freelance, entrepreneurial and digitally focused, and there are plenty of jobs that never existed before.”

“Yet it is also true that changing titles reflect real shifts in how businesses operate and, let’s be honest, a very real need to reimagine traditional roles, especially in jobs that involve managing people or that require creativity…”

2. If you are presently working, what is your job title? Does your  title  accurately  describe your duties?

3. If you could change your title, what would it be?

4. With your group, create a list of job titles for various jobs. The list can be funny or serious.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about job titles from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

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