Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Zeitgeist 2011: Lesson Plan

2011 Light Writing, Daily Dose (c) 2011

As 2011 draws to an end, it is a time of reflection, consideration and possibility for the future.  This lesson plan is aimed at B2-C1 level students and may work with selected teenagers, but it may be more successful with adult learners.  Possible language which may emerge could be associated with reflection and talking about the past (There was a Tsunami in Japan, There were the Arab Springs during 2011, etc) as well as talking about what the  future might bring (In 2012, I would like to …, In the next 3 months, I want to …, etc).

As with all material, it is suggested to be sensitive to the learner’s background and choose examples to scaffold that are appropriate: perhaps the talking of natural disasters might not suit Japanese learners.  However, learners may have a story to tell and I suppose you are the teacher that knows your learner better than anyone and can make the choices that are suitable and appropriate for your learners.

Context & Introduction to Topic

  1. When starting the class ask students:
    • what they have achieved during 2011
    • what is their most memorable event during the year
    • what was the most surprising element of 2011
    • learner or teacher resolutions for 2012
  2. Monitor language for correct tense usage, monitor language as well as boarding and scaffolding emergent language
Zeitgeist 2011 YouTube Video
  1. Tell learners that they are going to be watching a video but put learners in pairs or small groups
  2. Describe to each pair or group of learners that before they watch the video, they need to work together and think of five important events that happened in 2011
  3. Elicit possible important events during 2011 from the learners and write their suggestions on the whiteboard
  4. Tell learners that they are going to watch a video that is related to 2011.  The learners need to watch the video and check to see if any of their suggestions are in the video.
  5. Play the video.
  6. Once the video has been played, ask learners to mention what events that were suggested (and transcribed on the whiteboard) are in the video.
  7. Elicit any other important events from 2011 the learners and add these to the whiteboard (if the learners can remember some of the other important events in the video).
  8. Play the video for a second time.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAIEamakLoY]
Discussion Time
  1. Once several events from 2011 have been written on the board, tell students that they are going to be working in groups and have to re-order the events in importance (one being the most important and the last one being least important).  All learners within the group must accept the order of importance.
  2. Monitor learners for suitable or potential language that could be used to scaffold (I think … is the most important, Why do you think …?, What do you think?, etc).
  3. After learners have completed the re-ordering activity, get several groups together and to compare results with the potential to debate.
  4. Allow sometime once the debate/discussion has finished for feedback and error correction.
As ever, any feedback on this lesson plan would be greatly appreciated.


  1. Nice lesson, thanks for sending 🙂


  2. tsheko

    I think this would work very well. Love the video.

  3. Lovely lesson plan and great video. I can see lots of language emerging. Brilliant stuff!

  4. Thank you for the comments. I tried out the lesson above with some one-to-one learners. They are teenage Korean learners (one aged 10 and the other aged 14) and they had something to discuss with the video prompting them. They were particularly keen to share their dreams for 2012 and spoke about the Japanese Tsunami.

    It would be wonderful to hear how the lesson worked within a group of learners. I am sure the dynamics would prompt discussion further.

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