Friday, September 24, 2010

The Da Vinci Code, Love Happens & White Squall: Phobias and Fears

Although The Da Vinci Code is not as good as the novel, it is worth seeing. Love Happens is a nice romantic comedy and I used them to talk about fears and phobias. But you can't miss White Squall, a fantastic, touching movie by Ridley Scott.

A. How chicken are you? Rate your answers to each of the following situations:

0 - not afraid at all
1 - a little uneasy
2 - somewhat fearful
3 - absolutely terrified

( ) The plane takes off or lands

( ) The plane you're on encounters turbulence

( ) There's a spider on your bedroom wall

( ) You're at a party that you don't know anyone

( ) You have to give a speech in front of fifty people

( ) You're about to be given an injection by your doctor

( ) Your doctor tells you that you need a surgery

( ) You're driving in a bad rainstorm

( ) You're the passenger in a car during a bad rainstorm

( ) You're looking out the window from the top of a very high skyscraper

( ) You're looking over the edge of a high cliff

Interpret your score:

0 - 9 pts = Nothing seems to bother you

10 - 18 pts = Relax, a little discomfort and anxiety doesn't hurt anyone

19 - 27 pts = Avoid too much excitement

28 - 36 pts = You're total chicken!!!

Excerpt from: Summit: English for Today's World 2 2006. Pearson Education, Inc, 2006
B. Read the difference between fears and phobias

Phobia: an extreme fear of a particular thing or situation, especially one that cannot be reasonably explained.

Fear : an unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful or bad that is happening or might happen.

C. Discuss the questions below in pairs:

1. How do you know if you have a phobia?

2. How are phobias perceived?

3. How are phobias different from normal fears?

4. What can and should you do to deal with a phobia?

D. Match the phobias and their types:

1. acrophobia

2. agoraphobia

3. arithmophobia

4. aviophobia

5. brontophobia

6. claustrophobia

7. dentophobia

8. hydrophobia

9. mechanophobia

10. necrophobia

11. nyctophobia

12. oneirophobia

13. technophobia

14. xenophobia

( ) foreigners or strangers

( ) technology

( ) dreams

( ) the dark

( ) death

( ) machines

( ) water

( ) dentists

( ) enclosed spaces

( ) thunder and lightning

( ) flying

( ) numbers

( ) open spaces

( ) heights

Key: 14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1

E. Watch the segment from the movie The Da Vinci Code and answer the questions that follow:

1. Describe the scene.

2. What type of phobia does he have?

3. Do you think it is a phobia or just a fear? Explain it.

4. How did the police officer deal with his fear?

5. How did he feel in the elevator?

F. Now watch the segment from the movie Love Happens and answer the questions.

1. Describe the scene.

2. What are the fears mentioned in the segment?

3. Do you agree with the presenter when he says that fear is a state of mind? Justify your answer.

4. What do the participants do to overcome their fears?

5. Who's Stephen? What do you think happened to him?

6. What do you think about the presenter's technique for participants to overcome their fears?

G. Now watch the segment from the mvovie White Squall and discuss the questions:

1. Describe the scene

2. Does the character have a phobia or just a fear? Justify it.

3. What kind of phobia (or fear) is it?

 4. How did the lad deal with the situation?

 5. What about his teacher? How well did he deal with the situation?

 6. What would you do if you were the young man? What if you were the teacher?




Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Serious Man: Bar Mitzvah

This great film has a great scene about the topic, which is not very familiar to most Brazilians. I like the movie and the students enjoyed the class and learning about this Jewish tradition.

A. Work in pairs and try to figure out the correct alternative for the questions about Bar Mitzvah:

1. What does Bar Mitzvah mean?

a. The phrase translates as "son (daughter) of commandment" -- i.e. the young person becomes responsible to observe the commandments (mitzvot) of the Torah.

b. The phrase translates as "moment of truth" -- i.e. the moment the youth has to face the music of reality.

c. The phrase translates as "emancipation" -- i.e the youth will have to deal with the society demands.

2. The term "Bar Mitzvah" refers to:

a. a status, in the same way that being a student or parent is a status.

b. the age - depending if it is a boy or a girl.

c. the ceremony.

3. When does one become Bar Mitzvah?

a. A Jewish boy 11, a Jewish girl 10.

b.A Jewish boy 13, a girl at age 12.

c. Both boys and girls when they turn 13.

4. Which statement is NOT true?

a. The Bar Mitzvah celebrates -- reaching the stage of obligation.

b. The Torah -- a scroll containing the Five Books of Moses -- is read publicly.

c. The boy or the girl is allowed to have sweethearts after the celebration.

5. One popular feature of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration is a reception. Which statement is NOT true?

a. This should ideally be held on the day which the young man/woman becomes 13/12 years old.

b. If necessary, the celebration may be postponed somewhat.

c. There are not different practices regarding what is done at a Bar Mitzvah celebration. It is proper for the young person to relate some Torah thoughts at the celebration -- i.e. the famous Bar Mitzvah speech. The speech usually contains ideas from the weekly Torah portion, and emphasizes the young person's commitment to Jewish values.

6. Which one is NOT true?

a. It's important that the festivities should become very ostentatious, because the spiritual significance can be secondary.

b. The new adult should appreciate that this is a celebration of maturity and responsibility, a message which will carry through for the rest of their life.

c. Since this event celebrates the young person becoming obligated in the commandments, the most appropriate gift is, naturally, one that gives a deeper understanding of the Jewish heritage.

7. Which one is NOT true?

a. One of the favorite gift ideas is a tzedakah (charity) box. Every Jew should have a tzedakah box in his home, so he can drop in change on a regular basis. The money can then be given to support a Jewish school or institution -- in your home town or in Israel (every Jews' "home town").

b. One perfect gift is a modern device, such as an i-pod, so he can keep up with the new technology around them.

c. Bar Mitzvah is as important to a boy as it is to a girl.

Answer key: 1. a, 2. a, 3. b, 4. c, 5. c, 6. a, 7. b

B. Watch the segment now and answer the questions that follow:

1. Describe the scene. Use some of the words you learned in exercise A.

2. How would you describe the boy's feeling during the ceremony?

3. What about his family's and friends' feelings?

4. Did anything go wrong? Explain it.

5. What's your opinion about this kind of event? Is it important to follow tradition, even if you disagree with them, just to please the family?

6. Do you have anything similar in your culture or religion? Describe it.

7. What do you think will happen next?


Saturday, September 11, 2010

View from the Top: Dreams and Goals

A. Use the vocabulary below to complete the sentences:

1. childhood or lifelong dream

2. Fulfill or realize a dream

3. short-term / long-term goal

4. set goals for oneself

5. take steps to achieve or reach a goal.

a. It was clear that she needed to __________ and be successful in life.

b. When she heard that there was an opening position at her dream company, she ______________ to arrange an interview for the job.

c. Her ________ is to study hard and pass the course she is taking this term. However, her ________ is to have a major in her working field.

d. She finally ________ of getting married and moving abroad with her husband.

e. Living abroad has always been her _______________, but she knows that dreams sometimes don't come true.


a. take steps to achieve her goals b. set a goal for herself c. short-time goal / long-term goal d. fulfilled her dream e. lifelong dream

B. Complete the information below about yourself.

A Short-Term Goal: Steps needed to take to achieve it:

A Long-Term Goal: Steps needed to take to achieve it:

A Lifelong Dream: Steps needed to realize it:

C. Work in groups and share the information in your chart with your partners.

D. Now watch the movie segment from the movie View from the Top and discuss the questions that follow with a partner.

1. Describe the scene.

2. What is Donna's childhood dream?

3. Did she realize her dream by the time she was eighteen? Why (not)?

4. What steps did she try to take to achieve it?

5. Was she successful? Why (not)?

6. How did she feel after she was dumped by Tommy?

7. What made her change her mind?

8. What's the first step she has to take now?

9. What else do you think Donna has to do to fulfill her dream?


Thursday, September 9, 2010

NNEST (Non-Native English Speaker in TESOL) of the Month Interview: Isabela Villas-Boas

I'd like to share an interview given by Isabela Villas Boas, which is professionally enriching and rewarding. Isabela is the Casa Thomas Jefferon Academic Coordinator and her knowledge is admirable.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fame & Save the Last Dance: The Juilliard School

The Juilliard School seeks students whose talent and commitment to excellence promise future achievement in their chosen areas of major study.

I. Read the statements below and decide which ones are true about the famous New York City Juilliard School of Performing Arts.

1. ( ) The Jiulliard School is considered one of the 3 best art schools in the whole world and it is the dream of most talented performers in America.

2. ( ) The only period The Julliard School was closed was during World War I.

3. ( ) The Committee on Admissions selects students primarily on the basis of their performance at competitive auditions held at The Juilliard School and in selected cities around the country. All auditions are evaluated by members of the faculty.

4. ( ) The School does not set a minimum or maximum age limit. In general, however, the faculty and the Committee on Admissions will give preference to students in the formative stages of their artistic development who will benefit most from the type of training available at Juilliard.

5. ( ) The Juilliard School admits students of any race, color, or national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at The Juilliard School. It does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, color, or national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other school-administered programs.

6. ( ) To audition for the Dance Division, you must have a minimum of three years of training in ballet and/or modern dance. If you meet this minimum requirement, you are welcome to complete the following steps to apply for admission.

7. ( ) For drama audition, you must have a resumé of at least 10 professional performances on important stages.

8. ( ) Students are selected on the basis of an application, an audition, a teacher recommendation, a music aptitude test, and a parent interview. The most important factors are the student's enthusiasm and the results of his or her audition.

9. ( ) Students must be in the third through eighth grades (approximately 8 to 14 years old) at the time of their audition. The exception to this rule is that most trombone, trumpet, tuba, horn, and bassoon players are eligible beyond the eighth grade.

10. ( ) Students may audition on the piano or any traditional orchestral instrument. Those include violin, viola, cello, double bass, percussion, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, French horn, trombone, trumpet, and tuba. Saxophone, guitar, and voice are not eligible.

Answer key: Only 2 and 7 are false.

II. Watch the movie segment from the movie Fame. Then discuss the questions that follow.

1. Describe the scene. What were some of the things that you saw in the segment that you learned in the previous exercise.

2. What kind of performing arts did you see in the auditions?

3. What musical instruments did you see in the segment?

4. How would you assess the quality of the candidates?

5. Would you like to study in such a school? Why?

6. Describe the auditions. How different are they, according to the performing art they are trying?

C. Watch the segment from the movie Save the Last Dance and answer the questions:

1. Describe the scene.

2. Was she concerned about the audition? How so?

3. What happened during the audition?

4. Was she accepted?

5. How would you describe the way she felt?

6. Should she try it again in the following year? Justify your answer.

7. Would you like to study there? Why (not)?