Category Archives: Culture

To Mr. Rogers “A Beautiful Day” in the Neighborhood Included Telling The Truth to Kids

“It’s hard to imagine anyone sending hate mail to Fred Rogers, but there was one episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that brought the beloved children’s TV star a bit of blowback: ‘He did an episode about Santa Claus,’ explains filmmaker Morgan Neville. ‘And he didn’t like the idea that there was somebody who snuck into your house in the middle of the night … so he told kids the truth … and a lot of parents wrote a lot of angry letters.’ Aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood made its nationwide debut in 1968 and aired for more than three decades. It’s now the subject of a new documentary called Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, directed by Neville.” M. Kelly, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

 

Mr. Rogers

Excerpt: Mister Rogers Talked Frankly With Kids About ‘Grown-Up’ Issues, By Mary Louise Kelly, NPR

“Santa aside, ‘Rogers generally flew under the radar’ Neville says, even when he was engaging kids in conversations that some adults considered well beyond their years. With a toy trolley, talking puppets and a simple set, the show had low production value, but the host was cutting edge, the filmmaker explains, in respecting the emotional intelligence of children; helping them grapple with ‘grown-up’ issues such as death, divorce and disturbing current events…”Most of us have a relationship with Fred Rogers that predates our memory …’ Neville says. ‘It’s very deep in us and he speaks to us almost like our own inner child.’

Trolley gets pulled over for speeding, has a few words, but soon gets on his way.

On being ‘cutting edge’ in respecting the emotional maturity of children: What he’s doing is not just providing joy for children but really trying to allay fear. When he looked at children what he realized is that most adults condescend to children.

Along with his trusty puppet, Daniel Tiger, Fred Rogers explained a complex world to kids in terms they could understand.

When bad things happen they say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ or ‘It wasn’t anything.’ And kids are way too smart and intuitive to not know when those things are happening. So what he decided to do is to level with kids — to really speak to them honestly and say, ‘Yes something bad happened, but let me tell you why, and let me explain it in age-appropriate terms.’ Because he really felt that fear was was the most destructive force in our society.

Some Difficult Topics Mr. Rogers Discussed on His Show:

Mister Rogers invited Officer Clemmons to share a wading pool at a time when that could still be considered radical. John Beale:Focus Features

On the episode when Mr. Rogers invited an African-American police officer, played by François Clemmons, to rest his feet in a wading pool on a hot day. That’s his subtle way of saying: There’s nothing wrong with sharing a pool with a person of a different race.

[After Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968] Fred knew that children would be home and they would know that this bad thing had happened. And so he quickly put together an episode that aired [ahead of the televised funeral] … where he could explain to people how to speak to their children about something as horrific as an assassination.

 

Fred Rogers

He did it again and again. He did things around the Challenger disaster, the Gulf War, 9/11, Reagan’s assassination attempt. … He really felt like it was in those moments he was really doing the best of what he wanted to do. That that’s when people really needed him.”

 

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 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 Activities

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 Chart for assistance.

  1. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had many interesting episodes.
  2. One particular episode brought the beloved children’s TV star a bit of blowback.
  3. Many times he engaged  kids in conversations that some adults considered well beyond their years.
  4. Mr. Rogers helped  them grapple with grown-up issues.
  5. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood made its nationwide debut in 1968.
  6. The show has aired for more than three decades.
  7. What he’s doing is not just providing joy for children really trying to allay fear.
  8. Kids are  very smart and intuitive.
  9. He really felt that fear was was the most destructive force.
  10. Mr. Rogers was a profound, deep, willful and  intellectual person.

Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted Learning

 

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: The following sentences are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space from the word listor make up your own words.

He ___that ___was going to be this ___that was going to be___ and also that there were going to be generations of___being raised by this___ and somebody had to use ___to do something more than just sell ___and toys to kids.

WORD LIST:sugar, device,transformative, television, realized, device, children, television ,

 

Grammar: Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

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 for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss 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 topics mentioned.

  1. The article states, “[Mr. Rogers] in respecting the emotional intelligence of children helped  them grapple with ‘grown-up’ issues such as death, divorce and disturbing current events.” Do you think this was a good idea on the part of Mr. Rogers? Explain why or why not.
  2. The article further states that Mr. Rogers “really felt that fear was was the most destructive force in our society.” Do you agree with this statement? Do you think that fear is still a destructive force today? Explain your answer.
  3. With your group create a special neighborhood. Draw pictures of the way you think it would look. Describe the rules of the neighborhood (for example Mr. Rogers always made everyone feel accepted in his neighborhood).

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture | Tags:

2018: Business Schools Add #MeToo, Business Ethics and Values to the Curriculum

“Tim Vogus, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s business school, was stoking the debate in his classroom one day  asking first-year M.B.A. students about one of the most successful, and controversial, companies of the day… An M.B.A. education is no longer just about finance and economics. As topics like sexual harassment dominate the national conversation… business schools around the country are hastily reshaping their curriculums with case studies ripped straight from the headlines.” D. Gelles and C. Miller, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Business Schools teach #metoo-Buzzfeed

Excerpt: Business Schools Now Teaching #MeToo, N.F.L. Protests and Trump-By ” D. Gelles and C. Miller, The New York Times

“A toxic culture might be obvious when you think about Uber,” Professor Vogus said. ‘But I’m an old person. What is this whole ‘bro’ thing?’ It’s carrying fraternity culture with you into adult life, said one student, Nick Glennon. Another student, Jonathon Brangan, said, ‘It’s arrogance mixed with the feeling of invincibility.’ ‘You basically have these 20-year-olds who are in charge of these companies that are worth billions of dollars,’ said Monroe Stadler, 26. ‘And they fly too close to the sun.”

Uber sued by female passengers -The Mercury News

At Vanderbilt, there are classes on Uber and ‘bro’ culture. At Stanford, students are studying sexual harassment in the workplace. And at Harvard, the debate encompasses sexism and free speech. ‘There’s a turning point in what’s expected from business leaders,’ said Leanne Meyer, co-director of a new leadership department at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business. ‘Up until now, business leaders were largely responsible for delivering products.

Now, shareholders are looking to corporate leaders to make statements on what would traditionally have been social justice or moral issues.’ Several factors are contributing to these revised syllabuses. Bad behavior by big companies has thrust ethics back into the news, from Wells Fargo’s creation of fake accounts to sexual harassment at Fox News to the litany of improprieties at Uber. Some millennials are prioritizing social and environmental responsibility. And a new generation of chief executives is speaking out about moral and political issues…

Business Schools Now Teach#MeToo and NFL Protests and why corporate leaders are expected to get involved.

‘Something has changed,’ said Ed Soule, a professor at the Georgetown McDonough School of Business. ‘I would be kidding you if I told you there wasn’t a different vibe in the classroom.’ This fall, Professor Soule assigned coursework covering sexual harassment at Uber, how companies like Amazon respond when attacked by  Trump and the social justice protests by N.F.L. players.‘Ethics and values have taken on more significance,’ Professor Soule said. ‘It has to do with all of the things going on in this administration, often things that challenge our understanding of ethics and leadership.’

Professors are reacting to the news, but they are also responding to calls from students for classes that deal with ethics. In recent years, students have said ethical issues, not finances, are a business’s most important responsibility, according to a survey of business school students worldwide conducted by a United Nations group and Macquarie University in Australia. ‘There’s a growing body of M.B.A.s who are really passionate about this,’  said LaToya Marc, who graduated from Harvard Business School last spring and now works in sales and operations at Comcast. ‘It may not affect your bottom line directly, but it needs to be affecting how you make decisions.’

At Vanderbilt, Professor Vogus solicited ideas from the class about how Uber might change its ways. One student suggested hiring fewer star engineers and more team players. Another proposed hiring a woman to lead human resources. When the Uber conversation turned to gender and power dynamics, a female student suggested that women in the Vanderbilt M.B.A. program had to work harder than their male counterparts.

‘The women who do make it to business school are all super strong personalities, whereas the men here can float through without being the cream of the crop,’ Natalie Copley said, adding of the women in the class, ‘They’re not meek little timid things.’That drew jeers from the men in the group, and Professor Vogus changed the subject.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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 picture(s) in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming Map by rentonschools.us

 

II. While Reading Activities

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 Chart for assistance.

  1. An example of a toxic culture would be Uber.
  2. Many people carry fraternity culture with them into adult life.
  3. Some bosses have a feeling of invincibility.
  4. Several factors are contributing to these revised syllabuses.
  5. Students also realize that they will be  leaders of increasingly diverse work forces.
  6. Gender is an issue that students are particularly interested in.
  7. Schools also use role-playing scenarios about sensitive situations.
  8. Some of that brashness was actually critical to the company being successful.
  9. She only got the promotion because she’s a woman is inappropriate.
  10. The goal is making sure that women  are  equal to men in the workplace.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

During one___, students___ whether players should have been more ___to the wishes of team___ and the league, or whether the league should have supported players more vocally. The ___grew tense when the ___turned to___for the national___, and Mr. Trump’s ___response to players who continued to kneel as it was played.

WORD LIST:  forceful, anthem, respect, topic, conversation, owners,  deferential, class, debated, 

Grammar Focus

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

A new topic/top this year is sexual harass/harassment, and how to create/crate  a workplace cult/culture in which people feel comfortable reporting it. The Stanford students studied/studying psychological research showing/show that people are more willing to challenge authority if at least one other person/persons joins them, and discussed ways/way to encourage such reporting.

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 for Comprehension /Writing

“Common Personality Assessments — And How Employers Use Them”

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following article on personality assessments required by employers. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. Here are some  questions for students to think about after reading the article:

  1. In your opinion do you think these assessments would be  helpful with topics like sexual harassment in the workplace or sexism and free speech? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think the author’s  evaluations of the personality assessments were accurate?
  3. Which questions (if any) would you change and why?

 

Interview Test Prep:  Common Personality Assessments — And How Employers Use Them By Camille Chatterjee,  Forbes

“Once upon a time all you needed to land a new job was a typo-free résumé, some interview smarts, and a few good references. But these days more and more candidates are finding that getting the gig may very well come down to … your innate personality?  Enter personality tests, which ‘look at behavioral traits, and by analyzing them can indicate competency for a job,’ says Paul Gorrell, Ph.D., founding principal of development firm Progressive PGR -0.34% Talent. So if you haven’t had to take a personality assessment yet during an employment search, chances are you soon will.

‘All the hiring tools are good for employee development—but not all the development tools are good for hiring,’ Gorrell cautions. So we decided to assess the assessments. Our findings? Three popular personality tests pass the, well, test—and two actually fail because they say very little about your at-work worthiness.”

The Caliper Profile

What it is: This assessment, which has been around for some 50 years, measures personality traits—from assertiveness to thoroughness—that relate to key skills needed on the job, such as leadership ability and time management. Take empathy, for example. The test screens for ‘a combination of traits that can help you see how well a person reads a room,’ Gorrell explains. ‘Are they flexible or rigid? That’s extremely insightful when hiring someone who has to be responsive to customers or change in an organization.’

Sample question: Candidates are asked to select one statement that best reflects the viewpoint most like theirs in a grouping, and fill in the ‘most’ circle on an answer sheet. From the remaining choices, they then select the one statement that least reflects their viewpoint, filling in the “least” circle.

For example:

A. Sometimes it’s better to lose than to risk hurting someone.

B. I’m generally good at making “small talk.”

C. Established practices and/or standards should always be followed.

D. I sometimes lose control of my workday.

The verdict: Pass! The Caliper Profile is especially strong at discerning what really drives a person, Gorrell says. Unlike other tests, it examines both positive and negative qualities that, together, provide insight into what really motivates a person.

Gallup StrengthsFinder

What it is: This test was created a few decades ago, when research by Gallup (yep, the same folks who conduct all those polls) suggested that personality assessments focused too much on weaknesses.

So let’s say you rank highly in positivity. This might mean you’d be stellar in a position that has you dealing with rejection on a regular basis, such as at a call center or in fund-raising.

Are you an achiever? You could naturally excel at Type-A gigs, like an executive or another high-level manager role.

Sample question: Two statements are presented on each screen of the test.

For instance: “I like to help people,” and “When things get tough and I need things done perfectly, I tend to rely on the strengths of people on my team and don’t try to do it all myself.”

Respondents must pick the statement that best describes them. They can note that it “strongly describes” them, that their connection to both statements is “neutral,” or it falls somewhere in between.

The verdict: Pass! Unlike the Caliper, Gallup looks at strengths that are real indicators of success, rather than simply sussing out people’s negatives and downsides—and the results revolve around that, Gorrell says.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

What it is: Probably one of the most well-known personality assessments around, the Myers-Briggs looks at where you fall in four different dichotomies—sensing or intuition, introversion or extroversion, thinking or feeling, and judging or perceiving—to come up with 16 different personality types labeled by combos of initials.

Case in point: You may have heard someone describe themselves as an INTJ—an intuition/introversion/thinking/judging type.

Around 80% of new hires at Fortune 500 companies have been given the MBTI in the past decade, and countless other companies use it as part of the actual employee selection process.

Sample question: Questions are framed in an A/B format. For example: When dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?

The output for these responses is Judging (J) or Perceiving (P), respectively.

The verdict: Fail! Essentially, this assessment is designed to suss out innate preferences. And although it’s an interesting tool for self-discovery (“Me? An extrovert?”), it hasn’t been proven to be valid for job selection, Gorrell says. HR departments who choose employees based on its results could miss out on superstars who might actually excel in a given position, or mistakenly bring on workers that don’t live up to expectations—all because they relied too much on what they thought the MBTI was telling them.

Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire

What it is: This test, which is also referred to as the 16PF, was devised in 1949 by psychologist Raymond Cattell, who identified 16 traits that we all posses in varying degrees, like warmth and tension. The 170 questions on the test differ from those on most other personality assessments (including the ones we’ve covered), in that they ask how you might react to a certain situation on the job, rather than get you to describe your overall personality in some way. Can you be counted on to finish the tasks you start? How well will you handle high-stress situations? The 16PF can give you a good idea.

Sample question: Candidates must answer “true,” “false” or “?” (meaning you don’t understand the statement or aren’t sure) to such phrases as “When I find myself in a boring situation, I usually ‘tune out’ and daydream,” or “When a bit of tact or convincing is needed to get people moving, I’m usually the one who does it.”

The verdict: Pass! It’s a “terrific instrument” for hiring and also for employee development, Gorrell says, thanks to its focus on practical situations rather than general personality traits.

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory

What it is: This one is a personality test—but it’s meant to be administered by a clinical expert, like a psychologist, in order to assess a patient’s needs therapeutically. In fact, unlike the other tests, which can be taken online or administered by HR pros, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) can only be given and interpreted by a psychologist. And the only workplace situations in which it might be used effectively is to screen employees at high risk of psychological issues, such as members of the police.

Sample question: Answers are true or false. For example: “I wake up with a headache almost every day,” and “I certainly feel worthless sometimes.”

The verdict: Fail! “The information that it asks about is not business-related,” Gorrell says. “Companies have tried to use it, been taken to court, and lost.”

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture

The Real Santa Claus Story

“Don’t tell the kids, but we’ve got Santa Claus all wrong. Countless Christmas songs tell us that Santa is basically the Judge Judy of juveniles. He decides who’s been naughty or nice, and doles out presents or punishments accordingly. But historians say Kris Kringle was originally created to keep adults, not children, off the naughty list. Being crafty codgers, we ducked Santa’s surveillance, turning the spotlight on kids and dramatically changing Christmas celebrations.” By D.  Burke, CNN

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Saint Nicholas or Sinterklaas is the character that Santa Claus is based on

Excerpt: The real story behind Santa Claus, By Daniel Burke, CNN Editor

“How did we achieve this very important historical victory? Picture this: It’s the early 1800s, and America’s Christian leaders — most of whom were Protestant Reformation-types — had banned religious celebrations of Christmas as unscriptural and paganish.

But people still wanted to party. Because, why not? It was midwinter, the crops were harvested and sailors were waiting for better weather to disembark. So, on December 25, working-class stiffs got fall-down drunk and stumbled around cities looking for stuff to loot. A bunch of blue-blood New Yorkers decided all this fun must stop.

Today we have Santas for everyone.

‘They wanted to domesticate Christmas, bring it indoors, and focus it on children,’ says Gerry Bowler, author of ‘Santa Claus: A History,’ and professor of history at the University of Manitoba in Canada. When the Dutch came to the New World in the 1600s, they brought a fellow from folklore named Sinterklaas with them, Bowler says. Sinterklaas, who wore a red bishop’s miter and a snowy white beard, was based on St. Nicholas, who lived in modern-day Turkey.

Tex-Mex Santa in his zoot suit–Toledo Blade

According to one medieval legend, Nicholas punched a heretic in the nose at the Council of Nicea — Alas, the Nick at Nicea rumor is not true, said English. But people seem to love the story, which pops up like poinsettias on the Internet this time of year.  Thankfully, St. Nicholas, was known for more than brawling. He also had a reputation for giving gifts and protecting children.

These deeds, along with his everyman persona, (he wasn’t a martyr or hermit like so many other model Christians of the time), made Nicholas the greatest male saint of the Middle Ages, said Bowler. One measure of his popularity is the looong list of people, places, churches and Christian groups that list St. Nick as their patronBowler, Santa’s biographer, says that St. Nick’s feast day, December 6, (the day he supposedly died) was celebrated across Europe for hundreds of years, often by giving gifts to children…As they sought to make Christmas more family friendly, the Saint Nicholas Society found the perfect front man in their namesake, who, after all, was known for being nice to children.

Chief Thomas Darder, Jr., Native American Santa in Dyulake, Louisiana,

It was a genius move. The real goal was getting drunks off the street, remember? Now they could do that by turning Christmas into a family event when children — who had it pretty rough back then — would receive gifts for good behavior.

Drawing on the Dutch legends about Sinterklaas, the American author Washington Irving wrote a series of sketches featuring St. Nicholas soaring high above New York houses, smoking a pipe and delivering presents to well-behaved children…

In some early depictions, Santa Claus looks like an overgrown elf; in others, he looks kind of scary, as American artists merged St. Nicholas with European traditions such as the German Krampus, who punishes bad children.

By the early 1900s, Bowler says, Santa became standardized as the white-bearded, red-suited, twinkle-eyed benevolent grandfather that we all know and love.”

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 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 Activities

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 Chart for assistance.

  1. Many Christian leaders banned  celebrations of Christmas.
  2. Sailors were waiting for better weather to disembark.
  3. A bunch of blue-blood New Yorkers decided all this fun must stop.
  4. When the Dutch came to the New World in the 1600s, they brought a fellow from folklore named Sinterklaas.
  5. According to one medieval legend, Nicholas punched a heretic in the nose.
  6. St. Nicholas, was known for more than brawling.
  7. The second story is a bit macabre.
  8. Long ago children  and many adults — really had something to pout about.
  9. Santa is  a benevolent grandfather that we all know and love.
  10. Merchants were pitching products as soon as possible.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: The following  paragraphs are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space from the word list  or make up your own words.

But,___in the 1500s, the Protestant___swept ___the cult of Christian saints, denouncing them as ___and idolatrous.___ too, went pretty much by the ___or much of Protestant Europe during this time.

Some___, though, such as the Netherlands, kept alive___ associated with Sinterklaas. And it was these ___that 19th century New Yorkers wanted to revive.

WORD LIST:  countries, wayside ,unbiblical Christmas, away, Reformation, beginning, traditions, customs,

Grammar Focus

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

“Merchants seized/sized on this guy write/right away,” Bowler says. “They immediately saw the possibility/possible that this person/ personification could be useful in their selling.” In other words, Santa was pitching products almost as soon as he hitched up his sled/sleigh.

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 for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups Have each group think of three things they would like “Santa” to bring them for Christmas. Groups share questions as a class.

Group Activity

Directions: Have groups read the following article and choose one of the organizations  to donate either money or gifts for children.

 9 Ways To Donate A Gift To A Child In Need This Holiday Season By Emily McCombs The Huffington Post

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless it’s not. For many children and their parents, this time of year may be depressing, stressful or simply go by unnoticed due to more pressing problems. 

Below are 9 ways to donate a Christmas present to a child who might not otherwise get one, and to provide a moment of happiness to a child undergoing a stressful situation, whether it’s poverty, illness or a natural disaster.  

Please remember that there are many vulnerable communities that do not have national organizations dedicated to them, but that still need donations this holiday season. Where possible, find organizations like shelters, foster agencies and hospitals in your area ― they probably have their own lists of needs.” 

Shoebox distribution in Cambodia

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture

Why People Might Doubt Victims of Sexual Misconduct

“She took decades to come forward. She can’t remember exactly what happened. She sent friendly text messages to the same man she says assaulted her. She didn’t fight back. There are all sorts of reasons women who report sexual misconduct, from unwanted advances by their bosses to groping or forced sex acts, are not believed, and with a steady drumbeat of new reports making headlines, the country is hearing a lot of them.” S. Dewan, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Charlie Rose Made Crude Sexual Advances, Multiple Women Say-NYT

Excerpt:  (Misguided) Reasons People Doubt Sexual Misconduct Victims, By Shaila Dewan, The New York Times

“But some of the most commonly raised causes for doubt, like a long delay in reporting or a foggy recall of events, are the very hallmarks that experts say they would expect to see after a sexual assault.

‘There’s something really unique about sexual assault in the way we think about it, which is pretty upside down from the way it actually operates,’ said Kimberly A. Lonsway, a psychologist who conducts law enforcement training on sexual assault as the research director of End Violence Against Women International. ‘In so many instances when there’s something that is characteristic of assault, it causes us to doubt it.’

Confidentiality clauses shouldn’t muzzle sexual abuse victims

Partly this is because of widespread misconceptions. The public and the police vastly overestimate the incidence of false reports: The most solid, case-by-case examinations say that only 5 to 7 percent of sexual assault reports are false.

And when it comes to the most serious assaults, like rape, people imagine that they are committed by strangers who attack in a dark alley, and base their view of how victims should react on that idea — even though the vast majority of assaults occur between people who know one another…Of course, not every allegation is true.

Matt Lauer Fired By NBC News Over Inappropriate Sexual Behavior Claim-Deadline

The credibility of those who report sexual misconduct, experts say, should be evaluated by looking for corroborating evidence or using relevant parts of accusers’ backgrounds, like whether they have habitually misrepresented the truth in the past.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons resigns over claims of sexual misconduct

Here is a look at some of the misconceptions that come up again and again when assessing whether a victim’s account is true.

The victim doesn’t act like one.

There is no one response to sexual assault. A trauma victim can as easily appear calm or flat as distraught or overtly angry. Later, they may react by self-medicating, by engaging in high-risk sexual behavior, by withdrawing from those around them or by attempting to regain control…It is no surprise that a teenager conditioned to use ‘likes’ as a measure of self-esteem would turn to social media to deal with post-traumatic stress, said Veronique Valliere, a psychologist who counsels sexual assault perpetrators and victims and consults with the military and law enforcement.

Her story does not add up.

Andrea Constand, whose complaint that Bill Cosby drugged and raped her resulted in a criminal trial more than a decade later, was questioned on many fronts. One was discrepancies in her statements about when the assaults occurred…Rebecca Campbell, a psychologist at Michigan State University who has studied the institutional response to sexual assault victims, compares the recall of a survivor to hundreds of tiny notes that are scattered across a desk. The bits of information may be accurate, but disordered and incomplete. Yet the first questions asked of victims are often who, what, when and where.

She didn’t fight back.

When people are mugged or robbed, they are not asked why they did not resist. But in sexual assault cases, failure to resist can be one of the biggest sticking points for jurors. Often both sides acknowledge that a sex act occurred, and the question is whether it was consensual. Fighting back is viewed as an easy litmus test. Men and women both tend to compare a victim’s actions with what they think they themselves would have done in a similar situation, and research shows that their imagined response usually involves aggressive resistance — even when the attacker is larger and stronger. ‘In their heads, suddenly they know kung fu,’ Ms. Valliere said…To contrast sexual assault with other types of crime, Ms. Valliere said, she often shows a photograph of the Boston Marathon bombing. ‘We never said to the victims, ‘Why were you in that marathon, why did you put yourself in that position, why didn’t you run faster, why didn’t you run slower?’ ‘But when it comes to a victim of interpersonal violence,’ she added, ‘we think there’s a way they should act.”

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 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

Brainstorming

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

II. While Reading Activities

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 Chart for assistance.

  1. Neurobiological research has shown that many victims go through fight-or-flight response to danger.
  2. There are many widespread misconceptions.
  3. People respond differently to trauma.
  4. Some people question the credibility of the victims.
  5. Victims also distinguish between what is safe and what isn’t.
  6. Offenders often encourage confusion and shame.
  7. Experts point to more fundamental issues.
  8. Confusion and self-blame are common in victims.
  9. A lot of people who call the national hotline for help.
  10. Some offenders camouflage the act as horseplay or humor.

Reading Comprehension

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Experts/expect  say that because money/many people are not psychologically prepared to accept/except how prevalent harassment and asset/assault are, they tend/tire to look for reasons to disbelieve. For example, offenders are more likely to choose/chose victims who have been previously assaulted, statistics show, but a man/woman who reports more than one assault is less likely to be believed.

 Grammar Focus

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

“Victims think that it was their___, so in many ___they want continued contact,” said Roderick MacLeish, a ___lawyer who ___represented ___of victims of abuse by___priests and schoolteachers. And then ___they realize that it was for the perpetrator’s sexual gratification, and that’s devastating.”

WORD LIST:  later Catholic, Boston, hundreds,  has, cases, fault,

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 for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

 

Category: Culture | Tags: ,

“How To Stop The Sexual Predators Who Aren’t Famous?”

“Watching high-powered sex offenders fall like dominoes recently has involved plenty of schadenfreude for women in many fields. Those of us in the media and the arts have been glad to watch the downfall of previously untouchable editors, producers and comedians who everyone knew were creeps but few people could confront. As Harvey Weinstein can attest, in America today the right kind of bad publicity can undo even the rich and powerful. But what about the women who are sexually harassed by men who aren’t even a little famous? It’s unlikely many newspapers care about a disgusting night-shift manager at the local Denny’s.” S. Leonard, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How To Stop The Predators Who Aren’t Famous, by Sarah Leonard, The New York Times

“The fact is that sexual harassment is more about power than sex; any industry with extreme power differentials will be afflicted by it. ‘Raising awareness’ is crucial, but not enough.

The service industry, where more than half of workers are women, is especially plagued by sexual harassment. Tipped work is notorious: If you have to please the customer to get paid, you are constantly having to decide between defending yourself and paying rent. The Restaurant Opportunities Center, an advocacy group seeking fair wages and better treatment for workers, reports that a majority of restaurant employees are sexually harassed weekly.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/opinion/stopping-predators-sexual-harassment.html?

Domestic workers are another especially vulnerable group. They are often immigrant women of color, sometimes without legal immigration status, sometimes living in their employers’ homes. This combination makes them uniquely subject to intimate harassment and intimidation. A majority of female farmworkers, who often toil in isolation in the field, have experienced sexual harassment or assault.  For these women, shaming their bosses on Twitter or going to a newspaper is, unfortunately, rarely an option — if the predator doesn’t have a big public profile, few will notice the complaint except, perhaps, the guy with the power to fire the person complaining. That’s why women in these fields often take another route: collective action.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers stage protest. Credit- mountainx.com

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a worker-run human rights organization based in Florida, for example, has incorporated sexual harassment rules and penalties into its Fair Food Program, the labor agreement reached after an enormous struggle with fast food companies. It has worked. The coalition says it has gotten 23 supervisors disciplined for harassment and nine fired.  ‘The bosses and even the growers in the agricultural industry are not public figures, and so public shaming does nothing to change their behavior, ‘Julia Perkins, a spokeswoman for the Immokalee Workers, told me.

These organizers stand in a grand tradition. The first female-led American labor struggle was started by teenage girls working in mills in Lowell, Mass., in the 1830s. One of their central complaints was sexual harassment and assault by supervisors…Sexual harassment continued to be a focus of union campaigns as America industrialized — the untold story of the labor battles of the 19th century. Not every campaign succeeded, and some unions excluded women workers altogether, but working women have always known that no one fights a gross boss alone.

Ellen Bravo, one of the pioneering feminists behind 9to5, founded in 1973 to support working women, has done hundreds of harassment training courses for unions. ‘What we wanted was to root out oppression from the structures that were needed for change,’  she said…Groups like the Immokalee Workers, for example, show how fighting harassment can be incorporated into demands made by men and women fighting together.

Women can put an end to this not just by organizing their own workplaces but also by supporting others who are organizing or transforming unions. The growing strength of women in workplaces from agricultural fields to restaurants to newsrooms to movie sets means a new sort of solidarity is possible across sectors. The women who are newly speaking out in the limelight should now rally alongside those who have been fighting sexual harassment in the shadows.”

 

 

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 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: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

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 Chart for assistance.

  1. Women have a feeling of schadenfreude as the predators are revealed.
  2. Raising awareness is crucial.
  3. The Restaurant Opportunities Center is  an advocacy group for workers.
  4. Many employees  are sexually harassed weekly.
  5. If the predator doesn’t have a public profile nothing will happen.
  6. Ellen Bravo is a well known pioneering feminist.
  7. In the 19th century many unions campaigned for the rights of workers.
  8. The labor movement wanted to stop oppression of employees.
  9. In addition, unions wanted to grapple with racism and homophobia.
  10. Even in the unions there are recalcitrant male members.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: The following sentences are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space from the word list  or make up your own words.

A ___is not, of course, a ___harassment-fighting___ Abuse can ___within a union, too. In fact, the Service ___International Union___ fired an executive vice president over sexual___allegations.

WORD LIST:  harassment, Employees, happen, solution, magical, union, recently,

 

 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. A union alone  are not  magical.
  2. Sexual harassment is about power.
  3. In the service industry more than half of workers are women.

 

II

  1. In essence, tolerating harassment strengthens the boss.
  2. Men and women need too band together.
  3. Workplaces all over the country continue to breed abuse.

III

  1. Women should organize in there own workplaces.
  2. Abuse can happen within a union, too.
  3. Not every campaign succeeded.

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss 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 topics mentioned.

  1. List some of the occupations where sexual harassment occurs.  Can you think of other job situations not mentioned in the article?
  2. In your opinion why do people harass their employees?
  3. What would you do if you were harassed at work? Explain why or why not  you would take action.
  4. According to the article, what are some actions people can take when they’ve been harassed?
  5. Can you think of  additional ways of helping women or men who have been sexually harassed at work?

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

 

Category: Culture | Tags: