“Millions of health care workers are running to where they are needed, sometimes risking their lives.” D. Berwick, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: They Don’t Hide From the Coronavirus, They Confront It By Donald M. Berwick, The NYT
‘I’m having flashbacks to the Boston Marathon bombing,’ my daughter said. She was a newly minted physician on the day the bombs went off seven years ago, when the police rolled a man on a stretcher into her hospital’s emergency department. His blood had spilled onto the floor and someone began to wipe it away. ‘Don’t bother,’ the officer said, ‘there is a lot more where that came from.’
When she tells that story, my daughter always mentions the dread she felt. How many more victims would arrive, and when?
Now, she faces a similar sense of dread, as demand for Covid-19 care could swamp her hospital and patients who could have been saved may die as the ventilator supply runs out.
As the world writhes in the grip of Covid-19, the epidemic has revealed something majestic and inspiring: millions of health care workers running to where they are needed, on duty, sometimes risking their own lives. I have never before seen such an extensive, voluntary outpouring of medical help at such a global scale.
Intensive care doctors in Seattle connect with intensive care doctors in Wuhan to gather specific intelligence on what the Chinese have learned: details of diagnostic strategies, the physiology of the disease, approaches to managing lung failure, and more.
The three-page, single spaced document, full of lessons, circulates immediately and widely through social media platforms, a gem borne of pure, professional commitment…And city by city, hospitals mobilize creatively to get ready for the possible deluge: bring in retired staff members, train nurses and doctors in real time, share data on supplies around the region, set up special isolation units and scale up capacity by a factor of 100 or 1000…Think about such adaptations and agility going on all across our nation and the world.
Good people taking the load in a time of crisis…We are witnessing professionalism in its highest form, skilled people putting the interests of those they serve above their own interests…’How are you doing?’ I asked my daughter by phone from the safety of my house. ‘A little scared,’ she said. Then, ‘Gotta go…’ Patients were waiting.”
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: Using a Pre-reading Organizer
Directions: Have 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.
II. While Reading Activities
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.
- I’m having flashbacks to the Boston Marathon.
- She was a newly minted physician.
- Many people dread the Coronavirus.
- Demand for Covid-19 care could swamp many hospitals.
- Patients who could have been saved may die as the ventilator supply runs out.
- Hospitals prepare for the deluge of patients coming their way.
- The Covid-19 epidemic has revealed something majestic and inspiring.
- I have never before seen such an extensive, voluntary outpouring of medical help.
- Intensive care units are over crowded.
- Medical Care people have a sense of commitment to their jobs.
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,by, during,for, from, in, into,of, on,to, over,off, through, up,with, since
She was a newly minted physician ___the day the bombs went ___seven years ago, when the police rolled a man ___a stretcher___her hospital’s emergency department. His blood had spilled___the floor and someone began to wipe it away.
The Journal ___the American Medical Association, even while moving its staff home ___social distancing, sets new records___speeding helpful scientific studies, peer reviewed, ___the web.
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.
On Tuesday, ___Bill de Blasio of___asks for___ medical personnel to join the city’s___; 24 hours later, 1000 new volunteers have signed up. Northwell Health, a 23-hospital ___in___, figures out how to add 1,500 beds, if needed, by___space.
WORD LIST: repurposing,NewYork City, Medical Reserve Corps, Mayor, New York, retired, system,
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use an organizer 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: 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.
- In your opinion are the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel heroes? Why?
- What are some of the ways hospitals are mobilize creatively to get ready for the possible deluge?
- What did the mayor of New York City do to help hospital medical personnel?
- Can you think of other times in the U.S. or other countries when medical personnel were considered heroes?
- Are there people in other fields you would consider heroes?
- What ideas have you learned after reading this article?
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.
Photo Activity for speaking or Writing
Directions: Have students study the photos then choose one to write a paragraph about.
If possible, here are a few questions students might answer:
How does this person/people look to you? For example, tired, sad, happy, hopeful, bored, etc.
What do you think they are thinking about?
Thank You Cards Activity
Students could create “Thank You” cards of their own and send them to hospitals where medical personnel can receive the cards.