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Asda in a pickle after rat found in gherkins-
Lesson plan
Rat in a jar

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Preliminary information

Time: 60 minutes??

Level: Intermediate upwards

To give extensive & intensive reading practice
To review the present perfect tense
To give freer speaking practice

That the stds will be interested in the content of the text.
That the language in the text will be difficult but the content should be interesting enough to overcome language problems.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging - deal in a post-reading task if deemed necessary.

The article text from the Guardian Online


1. Introduction

a. Elicit ‘to complain’, ‘ to make a complaint’, ‘a complaint’.
b. Ask if anyone has recently complained in a shop, restaurant or other service.

2. Reading

a. Put the headline on the board ‘Asda in a pickle after rat found in gherkins.’ Check ‘gherkins’
b. Elicit possible content of the article – put notes on the board of the points.
c. Set up reading – stds read to see if there is any further information in the article.
d. Stds read – individual.
e. Stds compare answers >> general feedback.
f. Further comprehension check – if you feel it is necessary.

3. Language focus – present perfect – for recent activity

a. Ask stds to underline all examples of perfect tenses.
b. Individual >> pairs compare
c. General feedback – clarify the names of the perfect tenses - present & past - & the form eg. subject + has/have + past participle.
d. Ask the stds to discuss why the present perfect & not the past simple.
e. Stds chat in pairs >> general feedback.
f. You could go on to consolidate & give further controlled written practice with a gap fill task.

4. Speaking

a. Set up the roleplay situation – std A is the customer & std B the store manager – std A goes to complain about the rat.
b. Preparation time – get the customers in a group to discuss what they are going to say & how they might say it – do the same for the managers eg. What’s their policy of this kind of thing? How might the politely apologise etc..
c. Group work – while they chat in the two groups, go round & feed in language & ideas. Really get them to think of specific language functions they might use.
d. Set up the roleplay – pair the stds off & tell them that a pair will be chosen afterwards to do the roleplay in front of the class – this is an attempt to make the stds do the roleplay better – there is a chance they might have to ‘perform’ so they will put more into it – you hope.
e. Roleplay – monitor & take notes on +/- things said.
f. Feedback – on content – how did the complaint go? - & on the language – a few things on the board for the stds to correct & also some good things said.
g. Choose two of the middle to strong stds to perform their roleplay – give the other stds a task to do while they watch.
h. Feedback & 'response to the text' discussion - what do they think of Asda's reaction, enough compensation, etc...

Other follow on ideas:
- writing - stds write a letter of complaint to Asda, letter to the editor about the article.....
- roleplay - Asda rep. & company in Turkey.

Asda in a pickle after rat found in gherkins

Press Association
Wednesday November 16, 2005

Asda today said it had launched a full inquiry after a dead rat was found in a jar of gherkins sold at one of its stores.

The supermarket giant, which has apologised unreservedly to the customer who bought the item at an Asda store in Wolverhampton, said its head of technical services had flown to Turkey to investigate the discovery.

"We're absolutely appalled that this could have happened," an Asda spokesman said.

"We have the strictest controls in place to ensure all our products are manufactured to the highest possible standards and the supplier is investigating how on earth it could have got in there in there first place. We're determined to get to the bottom of this."

The dead rat was found by Jeanette Reinders as she was about to use the 49p pickles in a salad.

"I've not eaten for days. It has not only put me off gherkins, but food in general," the 25-year-old accountant told the Sun. "I'm disgusted."

The Asda spokesman said the shopper had been offered £100 as a gesture of goodwill, and had also been given the chance of a free Christmas"trolley dash" in her local store.

"Thankfully, this is an isolated incident," he added. "There have been no other reports of any foreign objects in any other Asda brand products."

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