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Life in the army

Course: Weekly lessons, Unit: Life today

  • 75 min
  • In class
  • Listening
  • B2
  • C1


Learning goals

  • Understand and respond to an authentic video of a man talking about his army experiences
  • Use a variety of listening strategies effectively
  • Understand and compare different perspectives on military life

Published by

EF Education First


Success criteria

  • Identify the main ideas in the video
  • Choose the definition of words in the video
  • Correctly answer questions about the video
  • Relate the content of the video to your own experiences and opinions
  • Give a presentation on the way the military is portrayed in popular culture

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Activities (14)

Introduction

Introduction

Recommendations

  • 2 mins
  • Class
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

No teacher notes.

 

Warm up 1

Warm up 1

Recommendations

  • 2 min
  • Individual, Class
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Watch the advertisement for jobs in the British Army and answer the questions in Warm up 2.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to introduce the topic of army recruitment.


Video note

On rare occasions, the links to the online videos in EF Class may become unavailable. If this is the case, you can find alternatives to the video in this activity by searching for the following keywords in the Video Search tool: British Army recruitment advert

Please contact our support team should you find a broken link, and we will fix the problem.

 

Warm up 2

Warm up 2

Recommendations

  • 2 mins
  • Pair, Group
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to discuss the message of the video.

Suggested answers

1. The advert presents life in the army as exciting and adventurous. Although combat is depicted, the British Army appears to be victorious, and its soldiers are enthusiastic and fearless.

2. Students will have their own answers. Some students may be subject to national service, where they must complete some form of military activity. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, military service is voluntary.

 

Lead in

Lead in

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Pair, Group, Class
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to discuss students' opinions on military service in order to prepare for the listening activities.

Carry out a class poll to get students’ responses to the questions. Then discuss them as a class.

 

Main ideas

Main ideas

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Watch the video of British Army veteran Wayne Sharrocks talk about his experience of training, and put the main ideas into the correct order.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to listen for the main ideas in the video.

If necessary, explain to students before they watch that the speaker is Wayne Sharrocks, a veteran of the British Army who served for seven years, including in Afghanistan. He joined the army at 17, and left after he was severely injured by a bomb in Afghanistan. He found it difficult to adjust to civilian life, going through periods of depression, and is now a film-maker and peace campaigner. Wayne's work as a peace campaigner means that in this video he is focusing on the negative aspects of military life for very young recruits. He is not against all forms of military service, just recruiting people under the age of 18 and people who do not fully understand what military service will entail.


Language notes

Wayne is from Leeds, a city in West Yorkshire in the north of England. He speaks with a Leeds accent.


Culture notes

In the United Kingdom, people are allowed to join the military at 16 with the consent of their parents. This is the youngest military recruitment age in Europe, and most countries recruit into the military at 18. There is a campaign to have the United Kingdom's recruitment age raised to 18.

 

Language

Language

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to introduce some of the key language in the video.


Language notes

  • To think nothing of something is to consider something as routine and normal, when it might actually be very unusual.
  • Wayne says 'if we was ...' instead of 'if we were'. This usage is common amongst native speakers in many parts of the United Kingdom.
  • A tribe mentality is the psychological bond of loyalty between different members of a group, which will cause them to protect each other, and turn against non-members of the group.
  • A win-win is a situation in which everybody involved comes out having gained some form of positive result.
  •  

    Practice

    Practice

    Recommendations

    • 5 mins
    • Individual, Pair
    • Support activity


    Student instructions

    Fill in the gaps to complete the text. You do not need to use all the words.


    Teacher notes

    The aim of this activity is to practise the key language in the article.

    Language note

    Militarism is the belief that a country's military should be strong, and should be used in an aggressive way to further the objectives of that country.

     

    Apply

    Apply

    Recommendations

    • 5 mins
    • Individual, Pair
    • Core activity


    Student instructions

    No instructions


    Teacher notes

    The aim of this activity is to give students freer practice in using the key language.

    This prepares students for the Plan and produce activity.

     

    Detail

    Detail

    Recommendations

    • 6 mins
    • Individual, Pair
    • Core activity


    Student instructions

    Watch the video again and answer the questions.


    Teacher notes

    The aim of this activity is to understand specific information in the video.

    • A cap badge is a badge worn by people in uniform to identify the particular rank and regiment that they belong to. Cap badges are a source of pride for anyone who wears one, because it signifies loyalty, and they are often highly symbolic.
    • The Rifles is an infantry regiment of the British Army. Infantry units mainly fight on foot and often do some of the most dangerous work in war. The Rifles has seen some of the heaviest fighting in recent years, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    • A tab is British Army slang for a fast march whilst carrying a heavy load of equipment.
    • To go on tour is to go on an overseas deployment in the military.
     

    Comprehend

    Comprehend

    Recommendations

    • 7 mins
    • Individual, Pair
    • Core activity


    Student instructions

    Watch the video again and answer the questions.


    Teacher notes

    The aim of this activity is to further students’ understanding of the video.

    Any answers that are reasonably close to the model answers are acceptable.

     

    Respond

    Respond

    Recommendations

    • 5 mins
    • Group
    • Core activity


    Student instructions

    No instructions


    Teacher notes

    The aim of this activity is to critically respond to the video.

    Suggested answers

    1. Students will have their own answers.

    2. The advantage might be that soldiers will be more effective at doing things like killing people and destroying property. Most people find these things unpleasant, and try to avoid them. Following orders is useful in stressful and complex situations like war, where people might otherwise be unable to function.

    The disadvantage is that soldiers may do immoral or illegal things because they are ordered to do so. Psychologically disturbed soldiers may also not perform as well over a longer period of time, and may experience psychological problems when they leave the military.

    3. The advert seems to focus on the positive aspects of military life, like adventure, friendship, and career opportunities. The less pleasant aspects, like psychological distress and punishments, are not mentioned. It could be said that if army recruitment adverts were too realistic, then very few people would actually join.

    4. Military careers can be very rewarding, as you can gain language, engineering, or technical skills to transfer to civilian life. In some countries, people leaving the armed forces get help from the military to study in university and become better qualified in return for their service. Some people also become more disciplined by being in the military, and learn to organize their lives better. People learn to work effectively in teams, and friendships made in the military can be very strong, lasting whole lifetimes. People's physical fitness is also improved by military training.


    Extension

    Students can watch more videos of Wayne talking about army life in this YouTube playlist:

    www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIzn4bJUcYbEYtIl4W3sT7WbnXTPoxn2P

    Please note that some of the videos contain graphic descriptions of war and combat.

     

    Plan and produce

    Plan and produce

    Recommendations

    • 19 mins
    • Pair, Group
    • Core activity


    Student instructions

    No instructions


    Teacher notes

    The aim of this activity is to plan and prepare a presentation on depictions of war in the media.

    Students can compare Wayne's experience of how military training changed him with depictions of soldiers in the entertainment industry.

    Some of the trailers contain violent content. You may wish to omit this activity, or suggest other works for students to research if you feel that this would be inappropriate.

     

    Follow up

    Follow up

    Recommendations

    • 7 mins
    • Group, Class
    • Core activity


    Student instructions

    Watch the video again and answer the questions.


    Teacher notes

    The aim of this activity is for students to analyse the narratives of military service in their own countries.

    Culture notes

    On 11 November (and the weeks preceding it) every year, many people in the United Kingdom wear a red paper poppy to remember all who have been affected by war. Every year, there is a debate about whether people should be free to not wear a poppy if they choose not to.

    If you think it is appropriate, refer students to the Twitter feed of @giantpoppywatch:

    https://twitter.com/giantpoppywatch

    This account collects examples of what it sees as excessive commemoration of the military, which distracts from the true purpose of remembrance. Background information can be found at:

    www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-41930507

     

    Exit ticket

    Exit ticket

    Recommendations

    • 3 mins
    • Individual
    • Core activity


    Student instructions

    No instructions


    Teacher notes

    The aim of this activity is for students to reflect on what they learned and what they found difficult in the lesson.

    Have students answer the questions in as much detail as they can.

     
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