Category Archives: Jobs

The Pandemic-Resistant Résumé

“Résumés may be more for robots than human eyes at first, but most job seekers are still advised to distill their work history in one typewritten page.” G. Beltran, The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

image- onnewsplus.com

Excerpt: The Pandemic Changed Everything About Work, Except the Humble Résumé,  Gray  Beltran, The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2022

Two years into a pandemic, many aspects of work have changed drastically. In that time, some people have started new jobs, Zoomed their days away and then left companies where they never even met their co-workers in person.

But one aspect of work remains remarkably unchanged: the importance of the traditional, single-page résumé created in a word processor.

‘Hiring managers and recruiters still rely on the résumé,’ said Vicki Salemi, an expert on the job-search process at Monster, the online job-posting site. The résumé, Ms. Salemi continued, is still  ‘the standard to apply for a job and get noticed.’

In the era of databases and applicant-tracking technology, software systems sort through job candidates before they make their way to recruiters.

So it’s important to make sure that a résumé can easily be understood by both humans and technology, said Kathryn Minshew, founder and chief executive officer of The Muse, a website that offers job listings and career coaching.

And machine and human readers alike struggle with overly stylized fonts, such as Comic Sans. Tried-and-true classics like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Calibri and Georgia are still among the best font options for your résumé, Ms. Minshew said…Ms. Minshew counsels people to look closely at the job description and highlight keywords and skills the company is looking for in that role. “Make sure that, if it’s relevant and applicable, you’re highlighting similar skills or even some of the same keywords on your résumé,” Ms. Minshew said… Part of the reason straying from traditional formatting is risky is a résumé could be discarded by the software screening if it can’t process a candidate’s experience correctly.”

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.

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of 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. Two years into a pandemic and many aspects of work have changed drastically except the traditional, single-page résumé.
  2. Hiring managers and recruiters still rely on the résumé.
  3. Résumé design and formats are relatively static.
  4. This is the era of databases and applicant-tracking technology.
  5. It  is crucial for job seekers to highlight and quantify their skills and experience.
  6. These strategies help ensure that their résumé shows up when recruiters search a job site.
  7. Today’s job candidates can apply for one position through a company’s job portal and  have their résumés uploaded and stored in a database.
  8. Keywords matter because many times companies will search their database for candidates.
  9. It is advised that you highlight keywords and skills that  are relevant and applicable.
  10. Applicants who don’t include the right terms in their résumé at a disadvantage.

 

Word Map by Against the Odds

 

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.

Résumé design and formats are relatively static, too. A job seeker might find herself using the same format to apply for a type of job that didn’t even exist when she first created a document with her name and address at the top and work history in bullet points below. That’s because while the basics of the résumé itself haven’t changed, the audience has.

Reading ComprehensionFill-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.

Unlike those ___jobs in the days of___ and ___résumés, today’s job ___might apply for one___ through a company’s job___, have their___uploaded and___in a___, and then be___ with a different role at the same ___months or years later.

WORD LIST: résumés, matched, company, database stored, portal,  candidates, seeking, faxed, mailed, position,

 

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. Do you keep your résumé up to date? Why or why not?
  2. Why did the recruiters at Monster rank the résumé as the most effective tool for finding candidates?
  3. Why is it good that résumé design and formats are static?
  4. Why is it important that a résumé can be understood by people and technology?
  5. According to the article which are the best fonts to use when writing a résumé?
  6. What is different in the way candidates apply for job positions today?
  7. According to Ms. Minshew, why are keywords so important on a résumé?
  8. Why has the résumé stayed constant while work itself has transformed in the past 2 years?
  9. Why would it be risky to depart from the traditional résumé formatting?
  10. List 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.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY

How to Recharge from Burnout

Your inbox is an overflowing bucket of urgent requests. You are consistently asked to do more with less. Your mind is constantly reshuffling priorities, perpetually calculating the number of minutes left in the day…We’re all feeling a littlefried at work and home. But there are ways to stay sharp and recharge.” Catherine Zuckerman, April 30, 2021, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image- Rescuetime blog

Excerpt: How to Beat Burnout — Without Quitting Your Job, By Catherine Zuckerman, April 30, 2021

“Raise your hand if you’re completely burned out…You’re not alone. The pandemic has left many people fried from trying to juggle work, parenting, caregiving and other responsibilities without enough support.

Though not a medical diagnosis, burnout — specifically job burnout — is linked to a range of health problems, from irritability to cardiovascular disease. In 2019, burnout was officially recognized as a work-related phenomenon by the World Health Organization…Some, especially younger, workers are simply quitting. But for those who can’t or don’t want to quit, there are ways to beat burnout.

Kira Schabram is an assistant professor of management in the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, where she studies how to mitigate burnout in employees. Past research has focused on finding ways to help employers reduce burnout among staff, she said, but hers focuses on what people can do for themselves… Dr. Schabram’s research suggests that small, deliberate acts of compassion toward yourself and others can help reduce feelings of burnout, whether it is short-term or chronic…According to Dr. Schabram, burnout rates tend to be higher in people who view their work as a calling, and ‘not just a paycheck.’ Like teachers…No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help. Workplace cultures vary, butemployers are legally bound to offer some form of protection for people who might be suffering from burnout, said Steven Azizi, an employment lawyer based in Los Angeles who specializes in representing workers in claims against their employers.”

 

Celebrating Gay Pride Month!

Lesbians in Ballet: ‘Has Anyone Like Me Ever Walked These Halls?’ By Siobhan Burke, The New York Times, June 1, 2021

‘I want a Juliet and Juliet’

Two Juliets- Audrey Malek, left, and Cortney Taylor Key, rehearsing a duet with the choreographer Adriana Pierce. Credit- Yael Malka for The New York Times

“Ballet’s strict gender norms put pressure on women to conform. But dancers who don’t are finding they’re not alone.” S. Burke, The New York Times, June 1, 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.

Pre-Reading: Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of 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. Job burnout is very common among office workers.
  2. Though not a medical diagnosis, burnout is linked to a range of health problems.
  3. We’re all feeling a little fried at work and home.
  4. Burnout was officially recognized as a work-related phenomenon.
  5. Christina Maslach is  an emerita psychology professor.
  6. Job burnout includes feelings of exhaustion and inefficacy.
  7. Burnout is rampant today.
  8. Some employees fear that they may be targeted if they complain.
  9. Dr. Schabram’s research suggests that small, deliberate acts of compassion toward yourself and others can help.
  10. Burnout rates tend to be higher in people who view their work as a calling.

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. Raise you’re hand if you’re completely burned out.
  2. Your mind is constantly reshuffling priorities.
  3. You’re not alone.

II

  1. job burnout are linked to a range of health problems.
  2. Writing in a journal helps recharge the mind.
  3. Dr. Parangi realized she needed to do things that recharged her.

III

  1. No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help.
  2. Letting others know your not OK is also key.
  3. In some places, if you’re not 150 percent, you’re seen as  weak or defective.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “Burnout, is rampant today, partly because many workers feel they can’t say ‘no’ to their employers without being targeted, demoted or punished in some way.”
  2. “For a long time, the assumption was that when you reach burnout, others need to pull you out of it…employers are ultimately responsible for conditions that drive burnout, but…employees who cannot leave and are not getting support can still help themselves.”
  3. “It’s overwhelming…It’s a lot of layers of trauma without very many resources.”
  4. “I literally couldn’t move out of my chair. It took every last bit of energy for me to change out of my scrubs.”
  5. “No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help.Workplace cultures vary, but employers are legally bound to offer some form of protection for people who might be suffering from burnout.”

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main idea and points from the article.

Cerebral Chart by Write Design

 

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. Do you feel as if you’re completely burned out these days? Where do you feel the most stressed, at home, school, work or all three?
  2. What are some health issues related to burnout?
  3. Which organization declared burnout as work-related?
  4. Aside from exhaustion, what are some other feelings that define burnout?
  5. According to the article, why are some over-worked employees afraid to say “no” to employers?
  6. Discuss some of the ways to beat burnout. Can you think of other means to beat burnout that the article doesn’t mention?
  7. Why is it important to share your feelings with colleagues in the workplace?
  8. This article primarily  discusses burnout among office workers.Recently, there was an article in the news about tennis champ Naomi  Osaka who mentioned a need to preserve her mental health” during matches, which is why she declined to meet with the news media in between tennis matches. Do you think there is burnout among professional athletes?  What about students? Singers? Ballet dancers? What other professions or situations  can you think of that might cause a person to burnout?
  9. Discuss 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.
  10. Choose one profession in which you’re interested and write about the ways burnout can be avoided in that particular occupation.

ANSWER KEY

Handling Personal Questions on the New Job

“Starting a new job can make us feel like the new kid on the first day of school: nervous, yet eager to fit in and make a good first impression.” A. Volpe, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Excerpt: How to Answer Tricky Personal Questions at a New Job, By A. Volpe The New York Times

“The social component is an important part of any job. Research shows that building camaraderie with co-workers and chit-chatting with supervisors can promote harmony and good health. And the first 90 days are crucial: A 2013 study found that new employees are more likely to receive support during this period…’The stronger the support system you have around you, the more likely you are to feel comfortable, confident and able to succeed’ said Michael Woodward, a workplace psychologist.

Getting there, however, often means navigating a gauntlet of questions from all of these new people in your life. These are likely to range from the moderately professional to the intimately personal, including queries about your age, relationship status, employment history and social habits.

WebDonuts.com

Since research suggests that first impressions last for months, how you respond, even to seemingly innocuous icebreakers, can have an impact on how your colleagues perceive you. Instead of stumbling over your words, here’s how to answer these tricky questions with confidence.

‘How do you feel about so-and-so?’

Gossip at work is common, Dr. Woodward said, as is the desire to be a part of a group. In a new work environment, this combination can be harmful if you fall in with colleagues who are known for being negative and wasting productive time. While complaining with co-workers can turn some of these colleagues into friends, Jill Jacinto, a millennial career expert, said it’s best to avoid gossip altogether.

‘If someone asks, ‘What do you think of Mark? Have you worked with him yet?’ just focus on the professional,’ she said.  ‘He’s great to work with. He seems to know technology really well.’

‘Do you want to join us for happy hour?’

Chatting over lunch or at a post-work happy hour is a great way to get to know your colleagues and learn about the office ecosystem.

‘Those invitations will inevitably dry up,’ Ms. Jacinto said. ‘Even though you’re exhausted after your first week, you want to make sure you do go to those types of things and get to know your co-workers.’

Keep the conversation light, Ms. Jacinto said; pop culture, weekend plans and the best lunch spots are safe topics. However, feel free to inquire about your new colleagues’ roles, duties and history with the company, so long as you let your peers do most of the talking.

If you don’t drink alcohol, experts suggest considering making an effort to attend anyway, if that is something you feel comfortable with. Use it as an opportunity to let your new co-workers know that you’d rather get to know them over coffee instead of cocktails next time — if you’re comfortable disclosing such information, Ms. Jacinto said.

‘Are you seeing anyone?’

Questions about relationship status can be tricky to decipher because you don’t know the asker’s intention, said Maggie Mistal, a career and executive coach.

Get to the root of the inquiry by asking another question in response, she said. This could be a lighthearted quip, such as, ‘Why, do you know anybody?’ or, ‘Are you?’…

‘When did you graduate?’

Finding a subtle way to put a timestamp on aspects of your career is an effective way of hinting at your experience without showing your hand, said Amy Cooper Hakim, an industrial-organizational psychology practitioner and workplace expert.

Dr. Hakim said she has done this herself when others have made comments signifying an underestimation of her experience.

‘I’m in my 40s and people think I’m a lot younger,’ she said. If you find your expertise questioned, she finds adding career-related context to be effective, saying, ‘When I was in a corporate office 15 years ago ….’She added:  ‘t seems to add a little bit of credibility.’

‘Are you on social media?’

Social media platforms have permeated into the workplace and have become essential networking and career-development tools for many professions…However, some of the personal updates you share with your close friends on Facebook may not be office-appropriate. For this reason, Dr. Woodward suggests you politely suggest colleagues connect with you instead on LinkedIn, a platform designed for professional connections…At the end of the day, think about your career big-picture, Ms. Sims said, and professional connections are essential.”

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.

 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. Jacinto is a millennial career expert.
  2. You want to err on the side of kindness.
  3. You should get to know about the office ecosystem.
  4. Feel free to inquire about your new colleagues’ roles,  and duties.
  5. If you’re comfortable disclosing such information then it’s fine.
  6. You can respond with a lighthearted quip.
  7. Career-related context adds a little bit of credibility.
  8. Social media platforms have become essential networking tools.
  9. Questions about relationship status can be tricky to decipher.
  10. You don’t need to defend your choices.

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. The social component is an important part into any job.
  2. The first 90 days are crucial.
  3. New employees receive support during this period.

II

  1. Try not to stumble  under your words.
  2. Gossip at work is common.
  3. Your response should be professional and honest.

 

III

  1. Having lunch is a good way to get over know your colleagues.
  2. Keep the conversation light.
  3. At the end of the day, think about your career.

 

Reading Comprehension:Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken 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.

While you don’t ___to ___your choices, by simply saying that you ___not to talk about ___issues in the workplace you will ___convey the ___to your new ___not to broach this___ again.

WORD LIST: personal, topic, colleagues,effectively,message,defend,  need,prefer,

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. 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. When you started your new job did people ask you questions about your personal  life?  What were some of the questions? 
  2. How did you feel about being questioned?
  3. According to Dr. Woodward which social media platform is not considered office-appropriate? Why?
  4. Which social platform is designed for professional connections?
  5. Would you (or have you)  questioned new workers at your job?  Why?
  6. After reading this article do you think you would change the questions you ask new workers?  Explain why or why not.

 

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: Jobs

2019: Successful People Share Their Worst Job Interviews

“Pretty much everybody who’s ever held down a job has at least one bad interview story. For me, it’s showing up soaking wet in the middle of a downpour for an interview at a major publishing company. ‘This weather is terrible, isn’t it?’ my interviewer asked. ‘It’s the kind of day you really should call in sick and stay in bed!’ I responded enthusiastically. J.Doll, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

business.linkedin.com

Excerpt:  7 Successful People Dish on Their Worst Job Interviews (and What They Learned) By J. Doll The New York Times

“I didn’t get the job. The truth is, I don’t even remember what the job was. But every time I walk into another interview, my heart starts beating faster, I feel slightly nauseated and I wonder how I might mess up again.

Learn from your mistakes

Those nerves are as common as having a bad interview story. Dr. David Austern, a clinical instructor with the Department of Psychiatry at N.Y.U. Langone Health, noted that 92 percent of adults have job interview anxiety…We worry that we won’t be able to express ourselves clearly, or that we won’t look right. What if people think we’re awkward or have a bad handshake? What if we’re evaluated poorly compared to others? With all this comes the behavioral manifestations — shaky hands, getting queasy, sweating — that ratchet the anxiety up even further…’Even if we don’t consider a bad interview a capital-T trauma, it has this emotional leadenness to it,’ said Dr. Austern, who reminded me that, on the up side, ‘pretty much everything short of death we can survive.’

Image- diddispatches.wordpress.com

In the case of Kashif Naqshbandi, the gaffe was the nightclub stamp from the evening before, which he saw when he reached out to greet his interviewer. ‘I could tell they noticed the crude smudge on the back of my hand, but they didn’t address it, which made matters even worse,’ he said. “I felt I had to compensate for my indiscretion and probably came across as too serious or strait-laced.’

fdys.ie

In retrospect, he notes, he should have just addressed it.‘It shows honesty and willingness to discuss difficult or sensitive subjects.’ Now Mr. Naqshbandi is Chief Marketing Officer at Frank Recruitment Group, a global niche technology recruitment agency, and he washes all nightclub stamps from his hands when he gets home.

What goes wrong is as important as what goes right

image- purple.echodigitalmedia.co.uk

No matter what you might think, interviewing isn’t about avoiding rejection. It’s not (entirely) even about impressing the person behind the desk, who, by the way, is a human just like you, and may be just as nervous as you are. The interview is your chance to find out if this is the right fit for you. So trust yourself — if it goes badly, that might be the best thing that’s ever happened.

Just roll with it

You might commit a fashion fur-pas, like Jen Bekman, founder and CEO of 20×200. She was interviewing for a job at a start-up run by David Steward, the former COO of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, “a really impressive and somewhat intimidating guy all around.”

Ms. Bekman had been staying with a friend who had a cat and lived in a “very dark” first floor apartment. ‘It wasn’t until I sat down across from him for the actual interview that I realized that my black suit was absolutely covered in cat hair. I mean, like … covered. I think it’s possible that he might’ve even handed me a lint brush during the interview! Totally mortifying.’He hired her anyway.

Move on

image- blog.acadzone.com

For Ryan Su, lead designer at TeliApp, an AI software development firm, his worst interview moment was also his … nicest. Instead of the hard interrogation he expected, he got questions like, ‘What kind of movies I watched, what the most recent series I’m binge watching was, and what was the most recent book I had read. And it totally threw me off my game…There are a million embarrassing things that could happen in an interview, Dr. Wen admits. The best thing to do is acknowledge it’s happening and refocus. And later, once you go home, ‘if they don’t call you back, the best thing you can do is move on.’Mr. Su resigned himself to failure and sent an email thanking his interviewers for their time. Two days later, he got his offer.”

reddit.com

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.

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.

Cluster Brainstorming-workshopexercises

 

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. I stashed my umbrella in the hallway.
  2. He responded enthusiastically to the questions.
  3. Some people might feel slightly nauseated after an interview.
  4. What if people think we’re awkward?
  5. Some feel that they’ll be evaluated poorly due to a mistake.
  6. In the case of Kashif Naqshbandi, the gaffe was the nightclub stamp from the evening before.
  7. He felt that he had to compensate for his indiscretion.
  8. In retrospect, he notes, he should have just addressed it.
  9. Frank Recruitment Group is  a global niche technology recruitment agency.
  10. Mr. Su resigned himself to failure.

 

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.

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

I had an interview___ Dumbo and had no idea that the building was 30 minutes___ the subway station!

I was a half-hour late or more and completely frazzled_____ the time I got there. When she finally arrived, the interview took place___ ___ the middle ___an open-plan office, So I had the fun___ having everyone listen___ me apologize.

I’ve spent the last hour convincing this guy I can learn___ pressure, and now I’m going ___look ___a flake.

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. 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. Have you ever experienced a bad job interview? Describe what happened.
  2. Describe a good job interview that you’ve had.
  3. Did you learn something from your experiences?
  4. After reading the article, list what you think are the most significant elements one should keep in mind during  job interviews.

Group Projects

Role Play: In groups students can write short scripts for job interviewers and the interviewees.  Members can take turns playing each role. Groups can share role plays with class.

Visual  Ideas: Students could create pictures, collages or drawings to demonstrate their understanding of the article. For example they might focus on the  appropriate type of clothing to wear for a job interview.  Another idea would be the correct body language during an interview.

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: Jobs | Tags:

Boston Companies: Paying Employees to Learn English

“During most of his work week, Cesar Orantes dons a hair net, rubber gloves, and a white apron flecked with fish scales for his job in quality assurance at Stavis Seafoods, a wholesaler in Boston’s Seaport District. But for four hours each week, the Guatemalan native removes his protective gear, gathers with several of his co-workers in the company’s break room, and turns his attention to something very different: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other fundamentals of English.” S. Pfeiffer, The Boston Globe

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Blount Team in Fall River, MA

Excerpt: Get paid to learn English? Some companies offer immigrant workers that very perk By Sacha  Pfeiffer Boston Globe

“The classes are free and held during the workday, and Orantes is paid his regular wage while sitting in the makeshift classroom. Stavis even gives him and his colleagues a bonus if they attend a certain number of classes. As Orantes improves his English language skills, he is also boosting his workplace performance, since the better he can communicate with customers and colleagues, the more effectively he can do his job.

Faced with a labor shortage in the robust Massachusetts economy — the state’s unemployment rate of 2.9 percent is the country’s second-lowest, along with North Dakota — employers are increasingly relying on immigrant workers, and a growing number of businesses are devoting resources to on-the-job English language instruction.

image- Cambridge English

At least 35 Massachusetts companies provide free English classes, according to a Globe tally. The training lets them retain promising employees, promote from within, and identify workers whose potential was previously hidden behind a language barrier.

Employers offering this benefit, which is often partially paid for by state grants, range from hospitals to manufacturing firms to food service companies. Some even schedule pre-dawn courses to accommodate overnight workers, who finish their shifts with an English class before clocking out for the day at 7 or 8 a.m.

‘If we hire somebody who doesn’t cut up the right seafood for an order because they can’t read the order form, that’s not good customer service,’  said Stuart Altman, a co-owner of Stavis Seafoods, which says at least 20 percent of its 133-person workforce are immigrants, mostly Latino and Asian. Currently, 18 of them are enrolled in the company’s English class.

By offering English instruction, errors are reduced, Altman said, and ‘this gives us an opportunity to train the next generation of middle managers, and puts them in a position to succeed the best they can.”

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 companies offer immigrant workers perks.
  2. Some places have makeshift classrooms.
  3. Workers can communicate with customers and colleagues.
  4. Massachusetts is faced with a labor shortage.
  5. Employers are increasingly relying on immigrant workers.
  6. Potential was previously hidden behind a language barrier.
  7. Many people are enrolled in the company’s English class.
  8. Many nonprofit organizations provide instructors.
  9. Requests for grant funding for English instruction is in demand.
  10. There is an economic benefit for employers.

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.

The YMCA of ___Boston has ___English___at the Langham Hotel and at ___small businesses in Chelsea. Interest in English training is so ___that JVS has tripled the ___of classes it offers in ___years, from nine in 2009 to 27 this year, according to___development director Mandy Townsend.

WORD LIST: training, number, business, provided, Greater, recent,  robust, numerous,

Grammar Focus

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?

Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. “If employees aren’t comfortable speaking up and can’t make themselves understood, that prevents them from moving up and prevents the company from taking advantage of their expertise.”
  2. “Employees who are competent in English aren’t just better communicators; they also better understand workplace safety rules, and English proficiency makes them more digitally adept, since hospital and hotel workers who clean rooms, for example, must sometimes chart their progress on hand-held devices that require basic English literacy.”
  3. “…the classes [are] a huge investment from the company’s standpoint . . . because while they’re in class that’s a significant loss in productivity, so we end up having to pay overtime for other people to produce the work we need to produce.But offering classes during the workday increases attendance, he said, since some employees have second jobs and family responsibilities that prevent them from taking courses before or after work.”

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

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