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Love in a time of TV hysteria -
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This lesson could be a one-off or fit in with the theme of marriage, traditions or 'reality' television programmes. The text used is quite long, not such a bad thing as stds do need practice with longer texts, rather than the shorter ones dished up in coursebooks.

Preliminary information

Time: 70 minutes??

Level: Upper intermediate/Advanced

To give intensive & extensive reading practice
To give freer speaking practice
Other aims depending on language focus & follow up...

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, depending on the level - pre-teach essential items & a vocab focus after the reading?

The article text from the Guardian site


Stage 1 - Intro to the theme & article
25 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Give the stds the title & ask them to predict the content of the article.
2. Use the introduction to the article below as a dictogloss activity - dictate it quite fast & the stds note down key words. They then reformulate the text from their notes in small groups.
3. From the dictogloss results, ask for more predictions of the article.

Indian soldier Arif Mohammed spent five years in a Pakistani prison, during which time his wife remarried, believing he was dead. But then he returned. Strict sharia law was to decide whose wife she was until a TV channel - and the whole nation - got involved.

Stage 2 - Reading
25 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Set a few general questions that ask them to read quickly & get the gist of the article. The text may lend itself to being cut up & ordering - it is quite long so give the beginning & the end & the middle 6/8 paragraphs could be ordered.
2. Stds read >> stds compare in pairs >> general feedback.
3. Set more intensive task - stds find what the numbers refer to by reading quickly....or get the stds to write their own questions for each other.
4. Stds read >> stds compare in pairs >> general feedback.

Find what the following numbers refer to in the text:

September 1999 -
the next five years -
half a decade -
16 year old -
four years -
120 km -
last month -
29 years old -
two hour -
seven hours -
a few years -
half a million -
21 year old -

5. Ask the stds to discuss the situation, the chronological events & the TV programme, making sure they coincide on the facts.
6. General feedback.

Stage 3 - Language focus
25 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
Some ideas for a focus or two...
- the text organisation - a newspaper article & the conventions it follows.
- tense review.
- in/direct speech - why/not used, choice of the writer...
- lexical sets - trouble & strife, marriage & relationships....

Stage 4 - Response to the text - speaking
25 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. In small groups stds discuss the following questions:

What do you think?

1. How do each of the protagonists feel?
2. Do you think you would feel the same, in each of the protagonist's roles, if you were in this situation?
3. How would you resolve the situation?
4. Would this kind of situation cause such a scandal in your country?
5. Do you know of any similar stories?

2. Split the stds up into new groups, one from each original group in a new group, & stds report & discuss their discussions.
3. General feedback.

Stage 5 - Follow up tasks
A few ideas:
- letter to the editor.
- letters between participants - could be done as a jigsaw - A writes as Gudiya to Arif, B as Arif to Gudiya. After written, letters are 'sent' & a response then written....
- roleplay - between all involved.
- roleplay the TV programme - some of the class being the audience who are involved in the discussion - could be given roles either pro or anti the strict moral code.
- through homemade tapes of the protagonists giving a monologue about their situation - possible adding in more information.

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