20th February 2019
Today’s lesson is about the internet, what it’s used for, what vocabulary is associated with it and how men and women spend their time online. The main topic is ‘do men and women use the internet in different ways ?’
As a quick warm-up, the students can shout out different websites that are famous, and how they would be categorised (social media, news, commercial, blog etc).
No doubt ‘YouTube’ will be mentioned and here is a short video which ties in with the theme of a previous lesson (‘What do you want to do with your life?’). Here, 100 children are asked what they want to be. The students have to write down as many jobs as they hear, so they practice listening skills. Additionally, the children are from USA, so their accents differ from mine, exposing the class to a variety of Englishes. Some speak very clearly, other mumble so turning this into a game could be fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUup841pZrs
Statistics are widely available to show internet usage by region and by gender. One good example may be found here: https://www.statista.com/statistics/491387/gender-distribution-of-internet-users-region/
The chart can be used as an exercise in data reading and use of comparatives for example, where are the highest users of the internet and, conversely, the lowest ? Do more men or women go online ? Then adverbs can be employed to stress the difference.
We can see that, with the exception of the Americas, men use the internet slightly more than woman in their geographic area. Regarding the Americas, the amount of women compared to men is not significantly higher. Over 80% of European men access the net, but less than 20% of African women do so. Asia is often seen as being in the forefront of technology (think of Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong) yet has a surprisingly low percentage of users, less than 40% of women compared to nearly 80% of women in Europe. What could be the reasons for this ?
However, this is a level 1 class so we don’t want to delve too deeply into the reasons, we want to get the students up and talking, and one of the best ways is make them conduct a quick survey among their classmates.
Question Name Answer
|How often do you go online ?|
|Do you use the internet for work and/or study ? How ?|
|What social media sites do you use regularly ? How often ?|
|Have you ever bought or sold anything online ?|
|What is good about the internet ? What is the worst ?|
This is an adult class, so I’m sure someone may refer to dating sites. this will lead us into the next activity, ‘Lonely Hearts’. Here, I’ll show three men and three women, each with a brief biography, stating their likes and what they are looking for in a partner. The class, in small teams or pairs, have to match each man to a woman, then predict what will happen on the date.
This allows the students to be creative, while encouraging the use of opinion phrases and building sentences by giving reasons to support their ideas.
PETER. Age 46. Lawyer. Likes cooking, travelling, wine, driving, tennis. Divorced, 2 children. Looks for quiet lady with no children, to look after the house and him.
JAMES. Age 26. IT worker. Likes music, dancing, going to clubs, beach holidays. Single. Looks for young lady who is loud and fun, likes to party.
David. Age 22. Model. Likes fashion, clothes, cocktail bars, smoking cigars. Looks for a women who is a model so we can look great together. Must be very beautiful and wear expensive clothes.
Jane. Age 22. Likes fashion, clubbing, kittens, holidays in the sun. Looks for a man with a steady job and ‘down-to-earth’. Non-smoker only.
Lisa 28. Banker. Likes quiet restaurants, badminton, travelling. Looks for a mature man with good income for long term relationship. No boys, please !
Emily. 20. Likes dancing, fashion, going out with my friends. Movies. Wants a young, cute boy-friend so we can go to parties together. No boring old men, please !
This exercise can be used to elicit adjectives as well; the students can describe the physical appearances, and what they think the people are really like.
All the time, I’d like to encourage the students to talk more in English, reduce the teacher- student dynamic, have more open-class discussions. One way to facilitate that is to maybe repeat something controversial and see how the class react to the comment. For example, a man may say that women only use the internet for social media and gossip, men use it for important things.
Obviously, my job is to encourage students to speak with each other, to take a back seat or, as we put it, to cut down on ‘teacher-talking time.’ I’m certainly not here to foster my views or disagree with the class. However, if I feel a conversation is in danger of becoming contentious, I can point out that in Europe, USA, Australia (called ‘the west’ for convenience) such views would be unacceptable on the grounds of sexism or racism. We don’t just teach the English language; we introduce students to western culture and norms.