To Guide Today’s Youth “We Need Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed”

“Where did you learn about sex? In my personal pie chart, 10 percent of the credit goes to Mom and Dad, who taught me that sex was for marriage, or at the very least, for a monogamous relationship that would, God willing, occur once I was out of the house. I’ll credit another 10 percent to sex ed…  Sex, I learned, was bad news, every act risking pregnancy or disease…Which left 80 percent to be filled in by my friends and pop culture: what I heard on the school bus and at sleepover parties, what I saw in movies and heard on the radio, the glimpses I got of dirty magazines, kept behind brown paper wrappers on the high shelves.” J. Weiner, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit Tina Fineberg for The New York Times

Excerpt: We Need Bodice-Ripper Sex Ed, J. Weiner, The New York Times

“But I was a reader, and most of what I knew came from books, starting with the copy of Judy Blume’s “Forever …” that made the rounds of the cafeteria in seventh grade to the dozens of Harlequin romances I devoured to the best sellers by Judith Krantz, Shirley Conran, Jean Auel, Susan Isaacs and Erica Jong that I snagged from my mom’s shelves.

Cover: Goodreads

I’ve been thinking about sex education in light of what must, by now, be the most-discussed bad date in history. By now, you’ve most likely heard about the encounter between an anonymous 23-year-old photographer and the comedian and actor Aziz Ansari. They met at a party, which led to a dinner date, which led to a sexual encounter that she came to deeply regret, she told a reporter, believing Mr. Ansari ignored verbal and nonverbal cues that she wasn’t into what was happening.

Cover: Goodreads

Now that she has gone public with her account, everyone seems to have an opinion about what she did, what he did and whether talking about gray-zone sex, where the man believes that everything that happened was consensual and the woman feels otherwise, spells the end of the #MeToo movement.

Cover: Goodreads

Reading about it all, I realize how lucky I am that so much of my sex ed came from Harlequins. The literary establishment doesn’t have much love for women’s fiction, whether it’s romance or erotica or popular novels about love and marriage. Romance novels come in for an extra helping of scorn. Critics sneer that they’re all heaving bosoms and throbbing manhoods, unrealistic, poorly written and politically incorrect.

Cover-quora

But those books, for all their soft-core covers and happily-ever-afters, were quietly and not-so-quietly subversive. They taught readers that sexual pleasure was something women could not just hope for but insist upon. They shaped my interactions with boys and men. They helped make me a feminist.

Cover: Goodreads

The books not only covered blissful sex but also described a whole range of intimate moments, from the awkward to the funny to the very bad…Objectification doesn’t exist just in porn, of course. ‘So many men cannot get their heads around the idea that women are not first and foremost sexual objects,” the novelist Jenny Crusie told me. ‘You don’t get that from porn; you get that from a persistent worldview modeled by the men around you that you’ve been taught to admire.’

Cover- Goodreads

Sex might be easy, but relationships are hard.  And a 400-page novel can teach you more about them than any X-rated clip…’Romance novels teach readers that all partners are equal participants in a sexual relationship…In some instances, it can be a literal script for how to bring up difficult topics with a partner. They give a road map to people wanting to experiment with their sexuality, or even just get in touch with what they want and need in a sexual relationship.’ Porn, necessarily, cuts to the chase: a little less conversation, a little more action.

Cover-Amzon

But when you don’t know how to ask, when you can’t bring yourself to tell, when you don’t possess the language with which to talk about desire, that’s when you can end up with crossed wires, missed signals…If we want men and women equally empowered to form real connections, to talk, honestly and openly about who they are and what they want, there are worse places to start than curling up with a good book.”

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. More people should have monogamous relationships.
  2. Most of my friends and pop culture taught me what I needed to know.
  3. Sometimes I got glimpses sexy magazines.
  4. Many times women give nonverbal cues.
  5. When sex is consensual both parties feel better.
  6. Romance novels come in for an extra helping of scorn.
  7. Those books, for all their soft-core covers were quietly subversive.
  8. They helped make me a feminist.
  9. The books  covered blissful relationships.
  10. Objectification doesn’t exist just in porn.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

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.

Because these ___were written for and___by women, female pleasure was an ___part of every story. Villains were easy to spot: They were the ones who left a___ burning and unsatisfied. Beyond the___ bits, the books I read ___the moments before and after the ___event, the ___you don’t see in___ movies,  where___ don’t get stuck and teeth don’t bump when you’re kissing

WORD LIST: zippers, mainstream, main, described, dirty, woman, essential, consumed, books, stuff,

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

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

I have/half no ideal/idea how much, if any, X-rated material/mineral Mr. Ansari or his date/dial consumes. Statistically, we know that modern/moderate men and women have excess/access to every kind of explicit material, literally/literal in their pockets.

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?

Group Questions

Directions: Place students in groups Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Literature

According to Monarchists: America Needs A Royal Family!

“From the comfort of his country estate in Oxford, a distant relative of the Russian literary giant Tolstoy says he has the perfect solution for what ails the United States. America, he declares, needs a monarchy.” L. Wayne, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Queen Elizabeth II, US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama with Prince Philip arrive for a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace

 

Excerpt: What’s the Cure for Ailing Nations? More Kings and Queens, Monarchists Say – By Leslie Wayne, The New York Times

“In fact, Count Nikolai Tolstoy says, more kings, queens and all the frippery that royalty brings would be not just a salve for a superpower in political turmoil, but also a stabilizing force for the world at large.

Count Nikolai Tolstoy

‘I love the monarchy,’ Count Tolstoy, 82, said as he sat in his lush garden behind an expansive stone house. ‘Most people think the monarchy is just decorative and filled with splendor and personalities. They do not appreciate the important ideological reasons for a monarchy.’ The count is not the only voice advocating rule by royalty. An author and a conservative politician who holds dual British and Russian citizenship, he leads the International Monarchist League and is part of a loose confederation of monarchists scattered across the globe, including in the United States.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photo- Vanity Fair

Their core arguments: Countries with monarchies are better off because royal families act as a unifying force and a powerful symbol; monarchies rise above politics; and nations with royalty are generally richer and more stable.

Critics say such views are antiquated and alarming in an era when democracies around the globe appear to be imperiled. The count and his band of fellow monarchists, however, are determined to make their case at conferences, in editorials and at fancy balls.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Photo-telegraph.co.uk

A recent study that examined the economic performance of monarchies versus republics bolsters their views. Led by Mauro F. Guillén, a management professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the study found ‘robust and quantitatively meaningful evidence’ that monarchies outperform other forms of government.

Chief Gabriel Igbinedion’s daughter, Ewemade had her traditional wedding to Ganiu Abidemi, the son of Chief Waheed Kuteyi on Saturday, the 19th of November, 2016. Photo- iloveweddings

Far from being a dying system, the study said, ‘monarchies are surprisingly prevalent around the world.’ They provide a ‘stability that often translates into economic gains’; they are better at protecting property rights and checking abuses of power by elected officials; and they have higher per-capita national incomes, the study said.

Spain’s New King Felipe VI. Photo- newsweek

Mr. Guillén says he was ‘shocked’ by the results, which have not yet been published. ‘Most people think monarchies are something anachronistic,’ he said.  ‘They think that modern forms of government are superior and have trouble accepting that monarchies have advantages.’ When he presents his findings, ‘there is more skepticism in the room than with the average paper,’ said Mr. Guillén, who is not a monarchist. ‘It’s been an uphill battle.’

His findings come as no surprise, however, to monarchists, who aim to preserve existing monarchies and to support royals who live in exile. They believe that countries with exiled royals should return them to the throne, and that nations without monarchies should consider a switch.

The Royal Crown. Westminster Abbey, London

‘We support the retention and restoration of monarchies anywhere in the world,” Count Tolstoy said.  “Our goal is to persuade people.”

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. 

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. Many believe that there is style, a mystery and ethos with a monarch.
  2. Kings, queens and all the frippery that royalty brings would be a stabilizing force for the world at large.
  3. People love the monarchy.
  4. The count is not the only voice advocating rule by royalty.
  5. Critics say such views are antiquated and alarming.
  6. Most people think monarchies are something anachronistic.
  7. They believe that countries with exiled royals should return them to the throne.
  8. “We support the retention and restoration of monarchies .
  9. History books, of course, are replete with examples of monarchies.
  10. Some  kings were ousted by bloody rebellions.

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. According to Count Nikolai Tolstoy, most people think the monarchy is the right way to rule a country.
  2. Count Nikolai Tolstoy is the only voice advocating rule by royalty.
  3. Count Tolstoy, 82 said that he loves the monarchy.
  4. Critics say monarchies are better than democracies.
  5. A recent study that examined the economic performance of monarchies versus republics bolsters the views of monarchists.
  6. The study was led by Mauro F. Guillén, a management professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
  7. The study found  that monarchies outperform other forms of government.
  8. Mr. Guillén says he foresaw  the results.
  9. His findings come as no surprise, however, to monarchists.
  10. Monarchists believe that  countries with monarchies are better off because royal families act as a unifying force and a powerful symbol.

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. Mr. Guillén’s study show that since 1900, 22 countries have abandoned royal leaders.
  2. The study noted that some current monarchies lack basic democratic freedoms.
  3. Those surviving in the Middle East are the very lucky.

 

II

  1. Finding people to reject the monarchists’ vision is not hard.
  2. The group have a clear mandate.
  3. We want to see the monarchy abolished.

III

  1. Monarchies of Eastern Europe could be a bulwark against Soviet expansion.
  2. Count Tolstoy took over in the mid-1980s.
  3. He has also runs, unsuccessfully, as a parliamentary candidate.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Group Debates

Directions: Place students in groups and assign each group one side of the following argument.  Allow groups to develop their arguments and conclude with a class debate.

A: Rule by royalty is helpful to countries.

B: Rule by royalty is not helpful to countries.

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: Social Issues

Oprah: Role Model, Power Player, Avatar of Optimism…2020 President?

“With a booming speech at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night, Oprah Winfrey, the billionaire media entrepreneur and former television talk-show host, launched a thousand fantasies for Democrats: Of a historic campaign to put a black woman in the White House. Of a celebrity candidate, known for her big-hearted optimism, taking on a reality-show president defined by his thirst for combat. Of a presidency, some joked, where everybody would get a car.”    A. Burns and A. Chozick

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Oprah at 2018 Globes Awards. Photo- NY Daily News

Excerpt: Oprah 2020? Democrats Swing From Giddy to Skeptical at the Prospect -By A. Burns and A. Chozick, The New York Times

“Ms. Winfrey’s longtime partner, Stedman Graham, stoked the mood in a newspaper interview, suggesting to The Los Angeles Times that she would ‘absolutely do it’ — with the caveat that such matters are ‘up to the people.’  There was no more official signal on Monday from Ms. Winfrey, 63, as to her interest in the presidency. She has disavowed any ambition to be a candidate in the past, though she has told associates in recent months that she wants to play a part in bringing the country together, two people briefed on her thinking said.

Oprah to Colbert- I am never running for political office (2017).Photo- The Daily Beast

If Ms. Winfrey’s ambitions are unclear, the sometimes giddy reaction to her speech at a Hollywood awards dinner underscored the unfulfilled hunger among Democrats for a larger-than-life leader to challenge President Trump.

With no obvious front-runner for the 2020 campaign, Democrats appear likely to spend the next few years grinding through internal disagreements over policy and identity in a long contest for the nomination…In the imagination of some Democrats, Ms. Winfrey might offer an easy way out of those problems… She has cast herself in American culture as an avatar of optimism, not defined in ideological terms.

Oprah greets her fans at her home base in Chicago. Photo: Chicago Tribune

David Axelrod, the former chief strategist for Barack Obama, said Ms. Winfrey was a figure of unique political potential, with ‘a boundless capacity for empathy and a preternatural ability to communicate powerfully and authentically — as we saw at the Golden Globes.’ Mr. Axelrod questioned, however, whether Ms. Winfrey would be the right fit for 2020: ‘Would she want to submit herself to the unforgiving, relentless and sometimes absurd process of running for president?’ he wondered, adding: ‘Will there be hunger in 2020 for someone with some experience in government, after Trump?’

Ms. Winfrey has been named a ‘special contributor’ to CBS News program ’60 Minutes,’ CBS announced. The program begins on Jan. 31, 2018.

Some Democrats expressed skepticism and even frustration about the swirl of fascination with Ms. Winfrey, arguing that the party was jumping the gun with fevered speculation about 2020.

Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, a young liberal in the chamber, wrote tersely on Twitter: ‘Hey. Let’s focus on winning in 2018. Thanks.’

Rebecca Katz, a Democratic strategist from the party’s progressive wing, said it would be a mistake for Democrats to rush toward a magnetic personality rather than hashing out a compelling agenda for the midterm elections and beyond.  ‘Beating Trump isn’t just about finding the right candidate — we have to show what we stand for,’ Ms. Katz said. ‘Other than ‘we all get a car,’ what will an Oprah presidency look like?’ 

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, suggested — with a dose of skepticism — that Ms. Winfrey was the kind of political outsider Democrats might embrace.  Alluding to Mr. Trump’s lack of experience, Ms. Pelosi tartly told a small group of reporters that Ms. Winfrey had other qualities going for her: ‘Oprah has read books. She knows how to identify talent.’

Oprah greets her many fans at the Sydney Opera House December 2010. Photo-abc.net

Ms. Winfrey’s commercial reach transcends race and income level, analysts say, propelling so many books and products to overnight success that it has earned its own sobriquet: ‘The Oprah Effect.’

Ms. Winfrey has recently taken on political topics as a special correspondent for CBS News’s ’60 Minutes,’ including a segment on the country’s political divisions and another on the use of solitary confinement in prisons.

But even to close friends and admirers, the prospect of an Oprah 2020 race appeared far-fetched or impossible as recently as last year. After Mr. Trump’s inauguration, when the traditional barriers to entry into presidential politics appeared to melt away, Ms. Winfrey’s associates dismissed the idea.”

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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  Oprah Winfrey.  Next, have students look at the photos in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Review 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. Ms. Winfrey’s longtime partner, Stedman Graham, stoked the mood in a newspaper interview.
  2. She has disavowed any ambition to be a candidate in the past.
  3. Ms. Winfrey’s ambitions are unclear.
  4. There is no obvious front-runner for the 2020 campaign.
  5. There are thorny disagreements  within the party.
  6. She inspires crucial groups for the party.
  7. Ms. Winfrey has cast herself in American culture as an avatar of optimism.
  8. She represents in some ways a natural counterpoint to Trump’s proud pugilism.
  9. Ms. Winfrey is a figure of unique political potential, with a boundless capacity for empathy.
  10. Some Democrats expressed skepticism.

Word Map by Against the Odds

 

Grammar Focus: 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,

There was no official signal___ Monday from Ms. Winfrey.

___the imagination___ some Democrats, Ms. Winfrey might offer solutions.

Senior Democrats___ Washington said___ Monday they had received no signal ___Ms. Winfrey that she hoped___ seek the White House.

Ms. Winfrey’s sudden prominence___ the nation’s political imagination speaks,___ some respects,___ the merging___politics and entertainment___ the American mind.

Reading Comprehension

Sentence Match

Directions: Students  are to complete the sentences from the article by selecting the correct words or phrases from list a-j.

SENTENCES:

  1. Ms. Winfrey’s commercial reach transcends ___
  2. Oprah has read ___
  3. Ms. Winfrey’s most potent appeal, industry analysts say, is among somewhat ___
  4. By Monday afternoon, the White House had responded to ___
  5. In 2007, she intervened for Mr. Obama, holding rallies for him and___.
  6. In 2013, she hosted a fund-raising event for Cory Booker, in his first bid for ___
  7. Less certain is whether Ms. Winfrey could navigate the ideological pitfalls of ___.
  8. But even to close friends and admirers, the prospect of an Oprah 2020 race___.

CHOICES:

a- appeared far-fetched.

b- Senate in New Jersey.

c-a presidential campaign.

d-race and income level.

e-hailing him as “the one”.

f-books.

g-the threat of Oprah in 2020.

h-older consumers.

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?

Group Debates

Directions: Divide students into  two teams for this debate. Both teams can use the article  as their source of information or sources from the Web.

Team A will list five reasons for choosing Oprah Winfrey as a presidential candidate in 2020.

Team B will list  five reasons against choosing Oprah Winfrey as a presidential candidate in 2020.

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

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

ANSWER KEY

Additional:

Have students read and listen to Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes Speech JAN. 7, 2018, 

“Oprah Winfrey accepted the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement with a rousing acceptance speech that began as a personal reflection and ended as a call to arms. Here is a full transcript of Ms. Winfrey’s speech.”  Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times

 

Category: Political Issues

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

New Year’s Celebrations!

“Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.” History.com

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit-Greetings1

Excerpt: The History of New Year History.com

“The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars, typically pinning the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event.

The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon.

Revelers often enjoy meals and snacks thought to bestow good luck for the coming year. In Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes-symbolizing their hopes for the months ahead-right before midnight.

New Year Celebration, Tendillas Square, Spain

In many parts of the world, traditional New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success; examples include lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern United States. Because pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries.

New Year Celebration, Vienna, Austria. Photo Image gallery.

In Sweden and Norway, meanwhile, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve; it is said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.

In Sweden, it is believed that whoever gets that one peeled almond hidden inside the rice pudding at Christmas will get married within a year. Credit: the scoop.

Other customs that are common worldwide include watching fireworks and singing songs to welcome the new year, including the ever-popular ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in many English-speaking countries. The practice of making resolutions for the new year is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot. (They would reportedly vow to pay off debts and return borrowed farm equipment.)

The London Eye on the River Thames during New Year fireworks and celebrations. The Telegraph.

New Year Celebration New York City’s Times Square. Photo- C. Morris.

In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City‘s Times Square at the stroke of midnight…Over time, the ball itself has ballooned from a 400-pound iron-and-wood orb to a brightly patterned sphere 12 feet in diameter and weighing in at nearly 12,000 pounds.”

From ESL Voices To All of Our Readers:

Wishing Everyone A Very Happy New Year!

Click here for more graphics and gifs!

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Intermediate-Advanced

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

Time: approximately 2 hours.

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

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article about New Year’s celebrations 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 Task

Prediction:Analyze headings and photos.

Directions: Read the title of the post, and article.  Analyze the photo(s) to see if  you can predict what  information the article will discuss.  Then based on this information,  make a list of ideas,  words and phrases that might be in the article.

The K-W-L Chart

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

Vocabulary

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. Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia.
  2. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31st.
  3. New Year’s Eve is the last day of the Gregorian calendar.
  4. Common traditions include attending parties, and eating special New Year’s foods.
  5. Other traditions include making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.
  6. The earliest recorded festivities date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon.
  7. Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars.
  8. The calendars would pin the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event.
  9. In Egypt the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius.
  10. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least five millennia.
  2. Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays
  3. The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Rome.
  4. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.
  5. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significance, such as December 25 (the anniversary of Jesus’ birth).
  6. In many countries, New Year’s celebrations begin on the evening of December 3 and continue into the early hours of January 1.
  7. Revelers often eat specific foods that are believed to bring good crops for the coming year.
  8. Grapes in Spain, round fruits in the Philippines, suckling pig in Austria, soba noodles in Japan are all considered good-luck food.
  9. Other customs that are common in the U.S. include making resolutions.
  10. In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City‘s Times Square at the stroke of midnight.

III Grammar Focus

Identifying Parts of Speech: Nouns

Directions: Identify the nouns in the following paragraph, then use the words to write a short paragraph about \ New Year celebrations in the United States.

Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions format

Directions: 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?

K-W-L Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion/Writing Exercise

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

  1. Provide a description of when and how the New Year is celebrated in your country. If you live in the U.S. then discuss how you celebrate the New Year.
  2. Discuss the types of foods you like to eat on New Year’s Day and the significance of the food.
  3. A big New Year  tradition in the U.S. is making resolutions. Discuss a few of your own resolutions and why you are making them.

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: History, Holidays