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Teaching Tips 142

Our world. Your move
May Day
Teaching one-to-one

red cross

Our world. Your move

If there's any humanitarian organisation that needs our constant support it has to be the Red Cross. The 5th May marks the 90th anniversary of the International Federation & the 8th May is World Red Cross & Red Crescent Day and the 'global launch of the ‘Our world. Your move.’ campaign. The campaign draws the world’s attention to global challenges and the role of individual actions.' (

Here are a couple of ideas to use as a warmer & discussion & some links to follow up for something more in-depth:


The origins of the Movement - use the following as the text for a dictation. This could be a straightforward traditional dictation or a more physically active & fun running dictation (see the Tip 'Running Around' for a description of running dictations ).

1859: the battle of Solferino

On 24 June, Henry Dunant, a citizen of Geneva, Switzerland, was travelling to meet Napoleon the third on personal business. Near the small town of Solferino in northern Italy, Franco-Sardinian forces were clashing with Austrian troops during the War of Italian Unification.

Henry Dunant

Dunant arrived at the village of Castiglione later that evening, where more than 9,000 wounded soldiers had taken refuge in the main church, the Chiesa Maggiore. He was shocked to see thousands lying injured without any care. He then mobilized local women and together they worked for several days and nights washing and dressing their wounds, and handing out tobacco, tea and fruit.

On his return to Geneva, Dunant could not forget what he had seen. In 1862, he published A Memory of Solferino. The book contains two major ideas:

* Set up relief committees in times of peace to train volunteers who would treat the wounded in times of war. This led to the creation of today’s 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

* Draw up an international agreement to recognize and protect these committees, forming the basis of international humanitarian law.

Battle of Solferino

Battle of Solferino

The seven fundamental principles of The International Red Cross
and Red Crescent Movement

Match up the principle with the appropriate heading:

1. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, born of a desire to bring assistance without discrimination to the wounded on the battlefield, endeavours, in its international and national capacity, to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found. Its purpose is to protect human life and health and to ensure respect for the human being. It promotes mutual understanding, friendship, cooperation and lasting peace amongst all people.
2. It makes no discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions. It endeavours to relieve the suffering of individuals, being guided soley by their needs, and to give priority to the most urgent cases of distress.
3. In order to continue to enjoy the confidence of all, the movement may not take sides in hostilities or engage at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious or ideological nature.
4. The Movement is independent. The National Societies, while auxiliaries in the humanitarian services of their governments and subject to the laws of their respective countries, must always maintain their autonomy so that they may be able at all times to act in accordance with the principles of the Movement.
5. It is a voluntary relief movement not prompted in any manner by desire for gain.
6. There can be only one Red Cross or one Red Crescent Society in any one country. It must be open to all. It must carry its humanitarian work throughout its territory.
7. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In which all Societies have equal status and share equal responsibilities and duties in helping each other, is worldwide.
Answers: 1g, 2f, 3e, 4d, 5c, 6b, 7a

Wikipedia page about the International Red Cross:

International Red Cross & Red Crescent Movement:

A brief history of the Red Cross:

Our World-Your Move site:

The current magazine:

International Committee of the Red Cross:

Red Cross and Red Crescent sites:

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The Haymarket Martyrs

May Day

It's May Day on 1st May so here is a short article that looks at the origins of the Day, together with a short procedure. Change to vocab to suit the level.

1. Elicit what the Day is on 1st May & if anyone knows how it came to be.
To add interest, If you can get some visuals - do a Google image search for 'The Haymarket Martyrs' - show them & elicit some possible ideas.

2. Set up the jigsaw reading - a different text to each student, they read & then come together to exchange content.

3. Put the students into four groups & give the students in each group the same text. The students read & help each other out with vocab & problems - you might like to give a series of comprehension questions &/or a vocab meaning from context task to accompany each text.

4. Regroup the students into groups of four so that each group contains one student from each of the original groups - ie.the group contains the four texts. Tell them not to show their texts to each other. They first decide the order of their texts & then they tell, but encourage them not to simply read, their texts.

5. Feedback - elicit the main points > discussion.

6. Language focus - you could get the students to collate all of the work-related vocab from the text, & then extend it with word building tasks.

7. Follow up:
- students could discuss different ways of celebrating May Day.
- the students design a poster for the Day.
- discussion about the present world crisis.
- local work-related issues discussions.

Alternatively, you could do this as a straight reading, not dividing it up into sections for the jigsaw, & designing extensive & more intensive tasks. You could use the text as a listening & you could memorise the main points & give your students some live listening.

Text 1

The Haymarket Martyrs

The story of the Haymarket Martyrs, and their monument in Forest Home Cemetery, begins at a convention of the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions in 1884. The Federation (the predecessor to the American Federation of Labor) called for a great movement to win the 8-hour workday, which would climax on May 1, 1886.

The plan was to spend two years urging all American employers to adopt a standard 8-hour day, instead of the 10 to 12, even up to 16-hour days that were prevalent. After May 1 of 1886, all workers not yet on an 8-hour schedule, were to cease work in a nation-wide strike until their employer would meet the demand.

Text 2

80,000 Marched

Although some employers did meet the deadline, many did not. Accordingly, great demonstrations took place on May 1 all across the country. Chicago's was the biggest with an estimated 80,000 marching on Michigan Avenue, much to the alarm of Chicago's business leaders and newspapers who saw it as foreshadowing "revolution," and demanded a police crackdown.

In fact, the Anarchists and other political radicals in Chicago were reluctant to have anything to do with the 8-hour day strike, which they saw as "reformist;" but they were prevailed upon by the unionists to participate because Albert Parsons and others were such powerful orators and had a substantial following.

A mass meeting was called for the night of May 4, 1886 in the city haymarket at Randolph St. and DesPlaines Ave. Its purpose was to protest a police action from the previous day in which strikers and their supporters at the McCormick Reaper plant on Blue Island Ave. had been killed and injured by police.

The mass meeting in the haymarket was so poorly planned that the organizers had to round up speakers, including Parsons, at the spur of the moment. A rain began to fall, and as the last speaker was concluding, a large force of 200 police arrived with a demand that the meeting disperse.

Text 3

Bomb Thrown

Someone, unknown to this day, then threw a bomb at the massed police. In their confusion, the police began firing their weapons in the dark, killing at least four in the crowd and wounding many more. Several police were killed (only one by the bomb), the rest probably by police fire. The myth of the Haymarket Riot was born.

In the aftermath of the event, unions were raided all across the country. The Eight-Hour Movement was derailed and it was not until passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1935, that the 8-hour workday became the national standard, a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act passed during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal."

Albert Parsons and seven others associated with radical organizations were prosecuted in a show trial. None were linked to the unknown bomb thrower, and some were not even present at the time. They were held to be responsible for the bomb thrower's act, because their public criticism of corporate America, the political structure, and the use of police power against the working people, was alleged to have inspired the bomber.

Text 4

Governor's Pardon

They were found guilty in a trial which Governor John Peter Altgeld subsequently held to be grossly unfair. On June 26, 1894, Altgeld pardoned those defendants still alive and in prison; but Parsons, Spies, Fischer, and Engel had been hanged, and Lingg was an apparent suicide.

The Haymarket case became a world-wide scandal. Governor Oglesby was petitioned by hundreds of thousands, including AFL President Samuel Gompers, to grant clemency, and thus prevent a miscarriage of justice by stopping the executions. It was to no avail. They were hanged on November 11, 1887.

In July of 1889, a delegate from the AFL attending an international labor conference in Paris, urged that May 1 of each year be celebrated as a day of labor solidarity. It was adopted. Accordingly, with the exception of the United States, workers throughout the world consider May First to be their "Labor Day."

Adapted from:

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If we are teaching adults, most of us find ourselves teaching one-to-one classes at some time & as a general rule these tend to be less popular than teaching the group class. This is probably due to the crowded nature of one-to-ones. It can be difficult to 'get away' from the student, whereas in the group, there is a certain distance provided by the sum of the parts.

Clearly from a learning point of view, a one-to-one offers a special situation in which learning can be tailored to the learner & skills & language covered can be relevant & interesting all the time, boosting the pace & depth of learning in the process.

Here are a few pointers for one-to-one teaching:

1. Find out about the student's area of specialisation & show a layperson's interest in it. Be on the lookout for material related to this area.

2. Be careful about going into the lessons thinking that you will be teaching them the vocabulary for their specialised areas, as more often than not, they already know these & need the surrounding language, functional & grammatical language, as well as skills development. Also the idea of 'business English' might well be reduced to the need for social English as they may be able to cope very well at work but not outside the office.

3. Let the student provide some material for the lesson. Invite her to bring in letters & emails she wants correcting, an article she needs to read, a website she needs to visit in English etc... Let her take the reins in the lessons now & then.

4. Take a 'process approach' to the syllabus & timetable. React to what comes up in lessons by planning it into the next few lessons. As the course progresses, the student will have different problems & directions so go with these rather than sticking rigidly to a coursebook.

5. Use a test-teach-test approach to new language; test the student through a roleplay/discussion >> teach the student what she needs >> test her again with the same or similar roleplay/discussion. This shows her that the language you are looking at is relevant to her needs.

6. Record progress together. Go though what has been covered regularly, keep a diary of areas that were found difficult, promote self direction - what she would like to work on etc.. Explain why this is important & explain other areas of methodology - why you are doing different activities, procedures etc. As with any class, awareness is half the process won.

7. Use the class for real rehearsals, simulate work-related situations - roleplays, meetings etc.. If necessary, emphasise the confidentiality related to this - you might be teaching elsewhere in the same company & this might dampen enthusiasm for real rehearsal.

8. Use different medium if possible. You can have a lesson in the office one day, in a different situation the next, over the telephone another day & then on the internet on another. Vary the material you use as well. Variety is the spice of life.

9. Give the student psychological space - see the Tip 'Space' at:

10. Take breaks. You can stop anytime with a  one-to-one. Explain you will stop an activity, a stage in the lesson if you feel a break is needed. Encourage the student to say if she would like a break as well. This helps the overall effectiveness of a lesson.

11. Use project work. For example, a manager might find the ' Management Guru' material from the BBC useful. It could actually be a course in itself. See the Tip at:

12. Use different seating positions to suit the different activities you carry out. Instead of sitting at either sides of a table, sit next to each other, sit away from each other when the student is working on something alone.

13. Check out the book 'One to One: A Teacher's Handbook' by Peter Wilberg (LTP)

One-to-one teaching is very interesting & rewarding & a little planning & thought can go a long way to providing a successful course.


It's Earth Day on the 22nd April. For some lesson material, see the past Tip 'Unexpeced situations' at:

And then on the 23rd it's St George's Day, the patron saint of England. See the Tip 'Slaying Dragons' for lesson material:

It was Record Store Day in the UK last Saturday, 18th April. For more on this:

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