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Watch your mouth

Course: Vocabulary, Unit: Choosing the correct word

  • 75 min
  • In class
  • Reading
  • B1
  • C2


Lesson Objectives

  • Read and understand an article on the science of swearing
  • Learn social rules on swearing and politeness in English
  • Recognize alternatives to swearing

Published by

EF Education First


Success criteria

  • Identify the main ideas of the text
  • Choose the correct definitions for new words based on their use in the text
  • Correctly answer questions about the meaning of the text
  • Recognize inoffensive language for expressing emotions
  • Show understanding of appropriate language for different situations

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Activities (13)

Introduction

Introduction

Recommendations

  • 2 mins
  • Class
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this lesson is to discourage students from using inappropriate language in English and to give them inoffensive alternatives.


Some activities may lead students to use offensive terms in class. You may not wish to use these activities with groups you think are too immature.

 

Warm up

Warm up

Recommendations

  • 4 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

No instructions.


Teacher notes

A common stereotype about Tourette's syndrome is that it causes people to swear, but this video demonstrates that the tics which are part of the condition can cause people to say other words, and that it is possible to say surprising and unexpected things without swearing. (The words that Jess Thom uses are actually 'biscuit' and 'cats'.)


Students will most likely suggest inappropriate words to replace each [beep]. If you do not want to encourage certain words in the class, indicate to students that the correct answers are not swear words, despite what they might think.

 

Lead in

Lead in

Recommendations

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


Student instructions

Discuss the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to introduce the topic of swearing, and generate discussion about its purpose and appropriacy.


The answers to these questions will be discussed in the Main ideas, Comprehend, and Language awareness 3 activities, so it is not important if students do not agree on all their answers.

 

Skim

Skim

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Skim the popular science article about swearing and put the main ideas into the correct order.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to have students practise using skimming as a reading strategy. It also introduces the concept of appropriate and inappropriate language with the same meaning.

If necessary, explain how to skim or have students read the reference material 'Skimming'.


Check that students understand that the four main ideas relate to the main text of the article, not to the heading or subheading.

 

Language

Language

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Find the key language within the article. Then match the definitions to the words.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to define some of the key language from the popular science article.


Tell students not to use their dictionaries.

 

Practice

Practice

Recommendations

  • 6 mins
  • Individual
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Fill in the gaps to complete the profile of YouTube celebrity PewDiePie using the key language.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to practise using the key language from the Language activity in context.


This is a different topic from the main reading text in this lesson, but it continues the theme of swearing and offensive behaviour.

 

Comprehend

Comprehend

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Read the article again and answer the questions.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to practise looking for information in a popular science article.


The article also highlights the powerful effect of swearing (as opposed to using inoffensive words with the same meaning), and explains why students must be careful when using swear words.

 

Language awareness 1

Language awareness 1

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Sometimes we want to swear, but don't want to offend people. Put the inoffensive alternatives to swearing into the correct categories.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to identify the function of different types of phrases for expressing reactions that can be used in place of swear words.


Some of the phrases may have more than one function (e.g. 'What on earth ...!' could express anger). The most typical uses are listed.

 

Language awareness 2

Language awareness 2

Recommendations

  • 7 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Write what you might say in the different situations using the key language. Do not use swear words.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to practise the language from the Language awareness 1 activity.


The model answers are purely suggestions. Any answer close to the model answers are acceptable. Students may react to these situations in different ways (disappointment, anger, etc.)

 

Language awareness 3

Language awareness 3

Recommendations

  • 5 mins
  • Individual, Pair
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Read the reference material 'Swearing and politeness' and decide whether the statements are ‘True’, ‘False’, or ‘Not given’.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to make students aware of the basic rules concerning the use of swear words in English.

 

Respond

Respond

Recommendations

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


Student instructions

Discuss the questions about swearing.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to give students the opportunity to react to the ideas covered in the lesson with their own opinions and experiences.

 

Follow up

Follow up

Recommendations

  • 15 mins
  • Pair, Group
  • Core activity


Student instructions

Role-play a discussion between the viewer of a TV programme and the producer of the programme.


Teacher notes

The aim of this activity is to carry out a role play discussion in which students practise giving opinions on swearing while using appropriate language.


Divide the class in half so there is an equal number of students for A and B. If you have to create groups of three students, have one student act as a TV presenter, facilitating the debate and encouraging discussion.

 

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 think about what they learned in the lesson, and how they would apply it in real life.


Have students write in as much detail as they can.

 
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