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Paparazzi passives lesson plan

by Nigel McGloin
- preliminary information

Level: Intermediate

Time: 60mins

Main aim:
To present the passive through a text and then heighten students' awareness
of why and how the passive is used (stage 3)
To introduce some new vocabulary items (stage 1)

Subsidiary aims:
To give some initial controlled practice (stage 4)
To give some extensive reading practice (stage 2)
To provide practice of spoken fluency (stage 5)

Timetable fit:
In the last few classes we have been focusing a lot on improving the students listening and
speaking skills, so I felt students would benefit by spending more time looking at some
grammatical structures. In the last class students were introduced to some examples of the
passive from a listening text and then looked at how the the different tenses of the passive
are formed, they also completed a transformation exercise. In this class we are continuing
by looking more closely at why and when the passive is used, using a reading text, and in
the following class I aim to give students a summary of today's text using a dictogloss; in
this way the students will be reviewing much of the language from this class. Therefore, the
idea of recycling is present in the class, keeping with the need for a syllabus to be cyclical.
In the hour before the observation my colleague will have introduced the topic of cinema
and the Oscars. I hope the topic of this class will provide a link in the theme of the class.

Assumed knowledge:
I expect many of the students will have some knowledge of the topic, as there are many
magazines and television programmes on the topic, and I hope they will be sufficiently
interested in the subject to speak about it.

Students have a fairly clear idea of the forms of the passive and can recognise the
structure, partly as they are the same in Spanish, but may not be so clear on the uses, or
employ the passive with consistent accuracy. I am assuming that the text will not present
any real difficulties for students. These students are very keen to develop their speaking
skills so I expect them to participate in the speaking stage.
Anticipated problems & solutions:
The text chosen should not be particulary demanding as a reading text as it is reasonably
short and clearly organised, however, students may be unfamiliar with some of the
vocabulary items. I hope to solve this by pre-teching the items I suspect students may not
know and which are also not easily guessed from the context.

The stronger students may already have a degree of familiarity with some of the uses of the
passive, although they may not use them in either their own writing or when speaking. I
hope the grammar analysis stage of the lesson will allow them to draw directly on what
knowledge they have, while at the same time not proving too difficult for the weaker
students. Students may not be able to think of many reasons why the passive is used in
their answers to the questions in stage 3, I will monitor and try to help, and in the feedback
stage students will be sharing their ideas and I will help clarify the uses, using concept
questions and writing on the board. The back of the handout also has a grammar summary.

The exercise where students classify the examples according to their use may prove to be
confusing as with some examples the distinction is not so clear cut; we often use the
passive for more than one reason, for example, to move the theme to the beginning of the
sentence and also when the agent is obvious, therefore I will point this out to them before
they begin; the overiding aim is to allow them to see the main uses at this stage. The
feedback stage may prove difficult if students have not been able to complete it
successfully, if this is the case I will attempt to clarify their doubts, and point out that we
will be looking at the passive in future classes, and that they are not expected to be able to
know everything about the passive in just one class.

When asking students to translate some sentences I am slightly worried that they may
revert to Spanish, so I will monitor and remind students that they do not need to speak in
Spanish to complete the exercise.

The students may feel that there has been a lot of reading and writing in the class,
therefore I hope the final speaking activity will go some way to giving them some fluency
practice, and to round of the class on a lighter note.

Class profile:
The class is a general adult English class. The class takes place twice a week for two hours
and began in the middle of January. There are now twelve students on the course, some of
them have been in the class since the beginning of the course, whilst two students Gabriel
and Mayte began at the beginning of March, and Antonio only began two weeks ago. At the
start of the course we carried out a needs analysis, from which we found that many of them
shared similar reasons for taking the course; they wanted to get a lot of practice to
improve, firstly their speaking skills, and then their listening comprehension, as these are
the two areas they have most difficulties with. It seems that as the course does not lead to
any exam and, perhaps, that students have had classes where the focus was on a structural
syllabus they want to take advantage to really practise these two skills. Most of the students
have also mentioned the fact that they may need English for work, indicating more
instrumental motivation, though only Mayte is currently in this situation: she is looking for a
job at the moment and has sent a letter of application in English.

Nerea- She is studying enviromental sicence at University and needs English for her studies
and for work in the future, she can seem slightly shy at times but she participates well in all
the activities and seems to use grammatical structures fairly well.
Soraya- She is also studying at university and will need English for a job in the future.
She is strong in all the skills and as the rest of the students particularly likes doing listening
activities and speaking practice.

Carmen- She is the oldest member of the class and is a housewife. She needs English
because she teaches young children, in her needs analysis she commented that she would
like to focus on speaking activities as she finds this the most difficult area. She does seem
to enjoy speaking but is sometimes concerned about her accuracy. She has an excellent
control over grammatical structures at this level.

Irene- She studies at university as well. She is very keen, though she is one of the weaker
students in the class,especially her listening comprehension. She also has more difficulty
with structures and pronunciation. However, she has mentioned that she thinks her level is
below that of the other students, though she prefers this as she is able to learn from her
peers.

Victoria- She mentions that she wants to improve her English to be able to read books and
to watch original version movies, she also spoke about wanting to travel a lot and therefore
English would come in handy. She is strong talker, though she makes frequent errors of
syntax and lexis.

Jordi- He has just finished his degree in Business and is presently finishing his project. He is
one of the strongest students in the class, in so far as his use of structures and vocabulary
is concerned. Generally he is a quiet student, who likes to listen and participate rather than
take the lead in group or class discussions. He has mentioned that he would like the
listening texts to be more challenging.

Gabriel- Gabriel is from Colombia and is now living in Spain, he is presently studying for his
doctorate. He participates well in the class and is not shy to talk, however, he makes
numerous gramatical errors, seemingly caused by negative transfer.

Maria Teresa- She is very keen to improve her English as she hopes that it may help her
find a job. She often brings a list of questions to the class concerning her doubts about
grammar, vocabulary, or expressions, at times she stops doing an activity to ask the
teacher one of these questions, therefore, I have had to ask her to wait until the end of the
class, where we can spend five minutes to help her clear up her doubts rather than interrupt
the class.

Antonio- Antonio has been in the class for two weeks. He seems to be very keen and very
talkative, he participates very well in all the activities and is quite strong in all skills.

Elsa- She is perhaps the strongest student in the class, she makes very few errors and is
very fluent and confident when talking, I sometimes feel she may find the level of the class
not challenging enough for her.

Cristina- She is presently studying at university and needs English for instrumental reasons.
She is very enthusiastic and has been improving, however, I feel she needs to spend more
time working on both her level of vocabulary and grammar.

Elena- She is new to the class, she seems to be settling in well, and is of a similar level to
the rest.
Materials:
Photos
Reading text/ vocabulary handout
Grammar exercise handout with summary of uses
Sentences for translation
Handout for speaking practice

Lseeon rationale:
This lesson's focus is on the structure of the passive, I have decided to focus today's class
on grammar as much of the coursework we are doing has placed an important emphasis on
both listening and speaking skills; most of the students have talked about their interest in
improving these skills. However, it is clear that many students still need to work on
structural areas if they are to avoid fossilisation, therefore, in trying to maintain the
communicative value of the class and at the same time give students some useful practice
in manipulating grammar I will be using a skills focus to present the items.
I often feel that helping learners take in new language can be made easier if we can get
their attention using material that engages the student while at the same time motivates
them, in this sense I hope the topic of the class, the text and the visual aids will do this; the
topic is quite controversial in Spain at the moment with so many television programmes and
magazines dedicated to gossip. I also felt it necessary to provide a link between the two
hours of the class, and try to follow on from the first hour rather than change track
completely.

The text is taken from the 'Inside Out' Intermediate coursebook, it is fairly short and not
beyond the learners level. An important aspect if we want to focus students attention on a
particular language item is that the surrounding language should not impede the student
from being able to see how the structure is used, therefore I have made some slight
changes to the text mainly changing vocabulary items as they may have distracted students
attention away from focusing on the general meaning, and I also did not want to get bogged
down with too much new vocabulary. In the pre-reading stage I intend to arouse students
interest and schema in the article by discussing the idea of paparazzi and tabloids, I may
also mention the court case Catherine Zeta-Jones is involved in, thus, providing a type of
link from the previous class, I intend to pre-teach some vocabulary items using situations,
and then give students a matching exercise as reinforcement which will serveas a
vocabulary record, many of the items will come up again in stages 3 and 4 and, perhaps,
brought out in the final discussion.

In the reading stage I have decided only to do a more specific comprehension task and
leave out a gist reading, this is because I assume that the text should not pose too many
difficulties for the students. Students will compare their answers so helping each other.

In the third stage students we will begin by reviewing the passive form, before they decide
why the passive is used; this serves as revision from the last class. After this students will
see some examples from the text and discuss why they have been used, I will then elicit or
lead students to see the reasons why, and write the three main reasons on the board, the
grammar summary on the back will serve as a record. Students will then think about the
use of the examples from the text and perhaps place sentences under the reasons for using
the passive, this will serve as reinforcement of the uses and as a grammar record, however,
I will tell them that sometimes there may be more than one reason. Above all, this lesson
aims to raise students awareness of the passive rather than expect immediate production,
as I have mentioned I feel this to be a gradual process and students will need to 'notice' it
more times, however, I hope that this class will encourage students to think more about
why the passive has been used when they come across it, and in future classes I will be
incorporating activites where students will need to write using the passive. I would also
point out that with this particular group the idea of asking them to discuss grammar rules is
not one we have focused on a lot, however, when we have they seemed to find it more
challenging than merely being presented with rules.

The controlled practice activity aims to highlight the differences or similiarites between the
students own language and English, the sentences to be translated are from the text,
therefore they will also be recycling some of the vocabulary. I have chosen this type of
exercise, as it may help students to 'notice' more about the passive, translation also seems
to be a natural process when thinking about many grammatical structures; something
students seem to be doing all the time. This writing stage also allows for important planning
time and does not ask for immediate oral production of the structure.

The final stage may allow students to use the passive in their discussion, but more
importantly it will give them some oral fluency practice, helping to achieve a balance of
skills across the lesson. In the following class students will be reviewing the text and they
will also be looking at a letter of opinion referring to libel actions and the popular press's
invasion of privacy, and then, to practise the passive they will be writing letters in reply to
the article. Finally I intend to give the students some homework and a grammar summary
to help reinforce the structure in this class.

Stage 1 - Lead-in Pre-Reading

10 mins
tch-std, stds-stds, stds-tch, tch-std

To arouse stds interest in the following text.


To provide a link from previous class.
To review and pre-teach items that will come up in text/topic
To provide a written record of vocabualry. items.

1. Ask stds about Catherine Zeta-Jones from the last class. Who's she married to?, Have
you seen the photos of their wedding? Where can you see them, (use realia) and elicit/give
tabloid press. Who takes these type of pictures? elicit/give paparazzi. Ask stds what they
know about the paparrazi and what they think of them. ( could ask stds if they know the
connection between 'Hello' magazine, the paparraziand Zeta-Jones,they are presently in
court suing (teach sue) them for a million dollars)

2. Tell students they are going to read a text about the paparazzi. Teach the following
words: embarrassing, harass, assault, chase , acquit, . Re-cap the items. Write them up
with the stress marked.

3.In pairs stds complete the vocabulary handout.

4. Feedback the answers, ask for agreement.

Stage 2 - Reading

10 mins
tch-stds, std-stds, stds-tch
To use a reading text as a context for the presentation of the passive.
To give some intensive reading practice

1. Stds read the text and find the connections between the two items.

2. In pairs compare their answers

3. Feedback, ask stds for agreement with each other, if not, direct them to the particular
part of text.

4. Ask stds if there was anything that surprised them, shocked them etc.

Stage 3 - Grammar focus

20 mins
tch-stds, std-std, tch-stds, stds-stds, tch-stds, stds-stds, tch-stds

To review the different forms of the passive.


To lead students to discovering the uses of the passive.
To raise students awareness of uses of passive.
To provide some controlled practice where stds recognise the different uses.

1. Elcit an example of the passive from the text, or use' the photograph is then sold, remind
stds how we make the passive (Monday's class). Tell stds we are going to look at uses of
the passive but first direct them in pairs to find examples of the passive in the text, monitor
and help

2. Feedback, stds compare with OHP.

3. Grammar focus, stds in pairs/threes focus on sentences from the text ( on board, or
handout) stds answer the questions relating to the use of the passive.

4. Feedback their answers, in open class. Highlight the three reasons ( on board)a) to move
the topic/ theme to the beginning its more important what happened than who did itb)
when the agent is obvious. c)) when the agent is unknown, / not important

5. In pairs stds look at the examples in the text and think about how they are used. Point
out that often the sentences may fit into more than one reason.

6. Feedback with the class, help to clear up doubts.(remember many times there is more
than one reason.)

Stage 4 - Controlled practice

10 mins
tch-stds, std-std, stds-tch

To highlight similarities and /or differences between stds L1 and English.


To allow stds to use the structure in wrting activity.
1. Stds in pairs translate 3 sentences from the text into Spanish, then fold over the original
English sentences. Quick finishes try to find other possible translations. Remind stds to talk
only in English

2. Pairs change sentences and translate back into English, turn over the paper and compare
with the original sentences.

3. Feedback, tell stds you have the translations put them on the board, (OHP) , ask if they
agree.

Stage 5 - Speaking

10 mins
tch-stds, stds-stds, stds-tch

To provide speaking practice.


Have stds practise some of the structure

1. Stds get into groups of three, give them the handout. They discuss the
questions/statements in groups of three/four. Monitor and intervene when needed. (Make a
note of one or two good uses of English, and mistakes to highlight at end of class).

2. Feedback with the class, who is in favour or against the paparazzi and gossip press, who
was to blame for Diana's death.

'If time' activity

5 mins
tch-stds, stds-stds

To finish off with a guessing game if there is time over

1. Guess the famous actors/people, give cards out/ or stds think themselves. First, with the
whole class, then stds do it in groups.
Paparazzi Vocabulary

Look at the following sentences and match the


words in bold with the meanings below.

1. When I got out of the swimming pool, I realised


that I didn't have my swimming trunks on, it was
soembarrassing.

2. I once saw George Michael being chased by a


group of really crazy fans.

3. If you are found guilty of assault in Texas the


minimum sentence is a year.

4. My boss is always harassing me, I feel so


stressed.

5. When the judge acquitted him, I wasn't


surprised, I always knew that he was innocent.

Definitions:

a) to continually annoy, or bother somebody

b) something that makes you feel uncomfortable,


shy or ashamed

c) to follow someone in order to catch them

d) to attack and injure someone

e) in court to formally declare that someone did not


commit the crime

Reading text
The term 'paparazzi' comes from a character called
Paparazzo in the Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, who rode
around on a scooter taking photographs of the rich
and famous. Modern day paparazzi take
photographs of famous people, hoping to get them
in an embarrassing or compromising pose. The
photographis then sold for an enormous sum of
money, sometimes close to a million dollars, to the
tabloid press.
Some people say that celebrities are public property
and that this invasion of privacy is to be
expected- 'that's show business', they say. I think
that this is true up to a point, but celebrities are
being followed,
harassed, chased, provoked and spied on in
their own homes. That's not show business, that's
criminal.

Unnecessary risks

Tom Cruise has been pursued at high speed


through the tunnel in Paris where Princess
Dianawas killed.

Invasion of Privacy

Alec Baldwin gave a paparrazzo a black eye when


he filmed him and his wife, Kim Bassinger, returning
to their Hollywood home with their new baby.
Baldwinwas arrested and charged with assault,
but hewas later acquitted. Cindy Crawford has
been filmed in her bathroom from over a kilometre
away with a huge telephoto lens, and only last
month the intimate photographs of a famous
Hollywood couplewere stolen.

Provocation

The paparazzi will often do anything to make people


angry so that they can get a better picture. The
American actor George Clooney was walking down
the street with his girlfriend when a paparazzo
shouted, 'Who's the fat girl?'. The picture of
Clooney's angry face was on the front page of the
newspapers the next day. However, the actor got
his revenge on the paparazi when one of the
photographers was hiding in his garden to get
pictures of him and his girlfriend at home - the
photographer was first chased, and then bitten by
Clooney's Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. The paparazzi
are out of control. Something must be done about
it. There are some papers who have recognised
what is happening and have refused to buy pictures
when it's obvious that a person's privacy has been
invaded. Other papers must follow their example.
Grammar Summary

In active sentences the subject is the 'doer' of the


verb (the person who makes the action happen)

The paparrazi chased the movie star.


(subject) (verb)

In passive sentences the 'doer' of the verb is not


the subject

The movie star was chased by the paparazzi


(subject) (verb) ('doer')

We use the passive in the following cases:

a) The main topic normally comes at the beginning


of the sentence,
because it is more important what happened to the
person or thing than who/what does it, compare:

The police arrested Baldwin and charged him with


assault.
(main topic= the police)

Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault by


the police
(main topic = Baldwin)

Notes: If the main topic is not the agent/ 'doer' of


the verb, we need to use the passive.
You can still include the agent in the sentence,
using 'by'

b) The agent is unknown, unimportant or obvious

The photographs were stolen! (=we don't know who


did this)

Something must be done about it (= it's not


important who does this))

The photographer was chased and bitten by


Clooney's Vietnamese pot-bellied pig (= it's obvious
who does this)

c) Extra points

Sometimes we use the passive when the


'doer'/agent is 'people in general'

Spanish is spoken in twenty countries around the


world.
(= it is not necessary to say 'by people')

The following passive constructions are common in


formal contexts e.g.

It is claimed that........, It is believed that......., It is


agreed that....
It has been proved that the new drug has already
saved hundreds of lives.

The passive can sound formal, to make speech


sound more friendly and personal we can avoid the
passive using a subject like we, you, someone,
they, or people. Compare the following:

The town centre is going to be closed to traffic


(= perhaps from a newspaper)

Have you heard? They're going to close the town


centre to cars
(= in a conversation)

The gold label credit card can be used worldwide.

You can use a Gold Label credit card all over the
place.
Language focus

a) The police arrested Baldwin and charged him


with assault.

b) Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault.

Answer the following questions.

1) Why does the text prefer to use the passive form


(b), than the active (a)

2) Could you use 'by' in the passive sentence? Is it


necessary?

Now look at this sentence

c) Only last month intimate photos of a famous


Hollywood couple were stolen.

3) Why is the passive used in this sentence?

4) Could you use 'by' in this sentence?


Translation 1

- In pairs translate the sentences into Spanish.When


you finish fold over the paper.

- Change your paper with another pair.

1. Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault.

2. The photograph is then sold for an enormous sum


of money.

3. This invasion of privacy is to be expected.

------------------------------------------------
fold here

a) _________________________________

b) _________________________________

c) __________________________________

Look at the sentences above and translate them


back into English, then look at the originals. Are they
the same?

a) _________________________________

b) _________________________________

c) _________________________________
Translation 2

- In pairs translate the sentences into


Spanish.When you finish fold over the paper.

- Change your paper with another pair.

1. Celebrities are being chased, spied on and


harassed.

2. Something must be done about it.

3. Some papers have refused to buy pictures when


it's obvious that a person's privacy has been
invaded.

---------------------------------------------
fold here

a) ______________________________

b) ______________________________

c) ______________________________

Look at the sentences above and translate them


back into English, then look at the originals. Are
they the same?

a) _____________________________

b) _____________________________

c) ______________________________
Translations

1) Baldwin was arrested and charged with assault.

Baldwin fue arrestado y acusado de agresin.

2) The photograph is then sold for an enormous


sum of money.

La fotografas, luego se venden por una


elevada suma de dinero.

3) This invasion of privacy is to be expected.

Esta invasin de la intimidad es de esperar.

4) Celebrities are being chased, spied on and


harassed.

Los famosos estn siendo perseguidos,


espiados, y acosados/agobiados.

5) Something must be done about it.

Se tiene que hacer algo al respecto.

6) Some papers have refused to buy pictures when


it's obvious that a person's privacy has been
invaded.

Algunos periodicos se han negado a comprar


fotografas cuando es obvio que la intimidad
de las personas ha sido invadida.

Gossip/News - Speaking stage

Discuss these questions and opinions:

- The text you read mentioned Princess Diana, do


you think her death was caused by the paparazzi?

- The private lives of politicians and royalty should


never be dicussed by the press.

- If you saw one of the photos below in a newspaper


or magazine, would you read about it? Why / Why
not?

- Is there any celebrity scandal in the news at the


moment?