Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Category: Lesson Material

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: Five Teaching Ideas

Credit BBC 2022

It was saddened to have learnt about the passing of our great Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was truly an inspiration and figure that all students that I had the pleasure to teach, knew a little about. In today’s post, I am sharing some videos, material, etc. that you could use in your lessons to raise student awareness about the Queen and the Royal Family.

1. A Look Back At The Queen’s Life: Video Quiz

When it comes to interactive videos which incorporate quizzes, I tend to get students to come up to computer and select or type the correct answer. The following video is a great introduction to the life of Queen Elizabeth II and after students have completed it, you could get students to try to recall as much information as possible. One possible grammar point on this lesson would naturally lead to the Past Simple.

2. Marking The Queen’s Jubilee: Video Quiz

Much like the previous suggestion, the video below incorporates a quiz revolving round tea with the Queen. It is a great British tradition where people, regardless status, have tea with each other. In the following video, Paddington Bear is invited to have tea with the Queen to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee. You could get students to first share their ideas on protocols when having tea with a Queen or King (i.e. what should people do and not do). Board up these ideas and then get students to watch the video, completing the quiz. As a note, the Queen ate jam sandwiches everyday since childhood, and something which is of relevance in the following video below.

3. The Queen Remembered: BBC Podcast

BBC Sounds has a wonderful resource of podcasts, news, etc. which are great for students to access in their own time

As an alternative, you could get students to listen to an episode of a podcast from BBC Sounds, ‘The Queen Remembered’, at home for selfstudy. This will be best suited to students who is a strong intermediate or above. Explain to students that they will listen to the first podcast as mentioned above, making notes of what they listen, and when returning to class the next day they will have an opportunity to share what they had learnt.

Have a listen to the first episode of the podcast above, making a note of the language used in the podcast, and develop some comprehension questions (which you could dictate to learners) such as:

  • How old was Princess Elizabeth when she became Queen? (25 years old)
  • What date did Princess Elizabeth become Queen? (6 February 1952)
  • How did Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, speak to child evacuees during the Second World War? (Through the wireless on Children’s Hour)
  • How old was the young Elizabeth when she signed up for service during the Second World War? (18 years old)
  • How did the general public feel when Princess Elizabeth married a Greek Prince? (There was a 40% public disapproval rating)
  • Why did Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip go on a tour of South Africa? (To mark the 21st birthday of Princess Elizabeth)
  • When was the Royal Wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip? (November 1947)
  • Who were Princess Elizabeth’s and Prince Philip’s first two children and when were they married? (Charles (1948) and Anne (1950))
  • Where were Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip living in their early years of marriage? (Malta as Prince Philip was stationed there with the Navy)

4. Discussion Questions: Royal Family

Another way to get students interested or involved in the topic of the Royal Family is to either dictate or board up the following questions:

  • What do you know about the Royal Family? Share your knowledge with others.
  • What other countries have Royal Families?
  • Does your country have a Royal Family? If so, can you share a bit more information to your partner?
  • What functions do the Royal Family provide?
  • What do you think that a King or Queen does each day? Share your ideas with others.
  • What question(s) would you ask a King or Queen?

As with any class discussion, monitor students and make a note of any language that could be corrected or scaffolded. Try to elicit ideas, views, etc. from the whole class after the student to student discussion. You could incorporate the following video to add more a debate between the Monarchy and a Republic.

5. The Crown: Netflix Series

One thing that I decided to incorporate into the classroom is showing the popular Netflix series, ‘The Crown’. Start by showing the following trailer from the series and ask students to make a note of which people were portrayed in this trailer.

Once students have watched the trailer, pair learners together and ask them to retell the trailer to each other (i.e. What scenes do they remember? What people were portrayed? What struggles were shared in the trailer?). Elicit from students and board up their ideas.

Afterwards, start the first episode of the series (if you have a Netflix account) and pause at integral points, nominating students to answer questions about what is happening at these points. You may wish to introduce the movie, ‘The King’s Speech’ so learners could learn more about King George VI.


Feel free to share your own lesson ideas in the comments. As always, a level of discretion is needed when preparing lessons revolving around the Royal Family and it is important to remain impartial and not share any personal opinions in the classroom.

Developing Academic Awareness: Lesson Plan

One of the biggest challenges which was discovered is ensuring that the awareness surrounding academic culture with international students is accessible and that students, regardless their nationality, understand of what is expected of them in an academic setting. This lesson is best suited for international students first on their journey with UK academia.

Activity 1

Place students into small groups to discuss for 5 minutes:

  • What do you think are the biggest differences between studying at university in your home country and in the UK?
  • What do you think are the similarities between studying at university in your home country and in the UK?
  • What do you do to develop cultural awareness in the UK?
  • What clubs or associations could you join in a UK university? Have you joined any yet?

Once students have discussed, elicit and board up their ideas and answers to share as a class. Try to find out more information about a student’s home country and their academic culture.

Activity 2

Move students back into a small group again and hand out the following worksheet attached below. Allow students to discuss in their small groups, before checking answers as a whole class (suggested answers are included on page 2 of the worksheet and much depend on each individual institute).

Activity 3

Get students to compare academic behaviour and culture with their home countries to the UK. Get students to consider the potential drawbacks of cultural misunderstanding while studying at their undergraduate or postgraduate courses. Here are some suggested questions below to prompt discussion.

  • What advice would you give other students studying in your home country to help them understand academic culture?
  • What do you think are the differences between tutorials, seminars, and lectures?
  • How could misunderstanding hinder your studies and progress?
  • What is the best way to integrate into UK academia?
  • What resources are available to help you with your academic studies at university and how do you find this?

Activity 4

Introduce students towards what services or support is available for their academic studies or study skills to help them understand what is expected while they study at their university.

Emojis in the English Classroom

Introduction

Last week, on the Twitter sphere, Tyson Seburn was polling to see how many tutors were using emojis with their general communication with students – either in email or via class pages (such as Canvas or Blackboard).

If you aren’t following Tyson on Twitter, why not?

This got me thinking about the pedagogical benefit of using emojis within a teaching context, and I had used emojis to teach basic vocabulary to beginner online students. For example, for learners who has very little to no English, this difficulty is alleviated with the use of images or pictures, and thus emojis are a quick and easy solution. If I wanted to ask students if they liked or dislike apples, I would use the following emojis to help express the question.

As you can see, for lower levels of learners, teachers have a quick and easy way to use emojis within an online environment. However, you don’t have to stop there with regards to using emojis with beginner students. You could use emojis in a more creative manner. I have created a free emoji worksheet for teachers to use with their face-to-face or online lessons. It is probably best suited for the general English classroom, possibly younger learners, with an emphasis on adjectives and general feelings (i.e. exhausted, well off, etc.).

Lesson Material for Teachers

A screenshot of the worksheet available for all.

The first task is for learners to match emojis to their corresponding adjectives – the first one is done. The next is for learners to guess the possible translation, before learners check with their translating tools.

There is a brief discussion for learners which could be used as a prompt to discuss the use of emojis within their context. Next, there is a story, with gaps and emojis to help, which students are to complete before sharing with their fellow students. The final part of this lesson is for students to retell the story without referring to the script. I hope you enjoy this lesson activity, and a huge thanks to Tyson for the Tweet which got me inspired to create a lesson using emojis. I may even use emojis with my EAP students!

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