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?





  1. Hi Claudio,

    I was looking for ideas to use in class and I found your suggestion. It is great! Thank you! I'll use it on Friday.

  2. Great, Dani. I used this with my Prime sts and it worked pretty well. I hope it works with you too.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Thanks. I'm glad you like it. My students did. see you.

  5. Cláudido, thanks for the activity. I'll use it with Prime too. I remembered another movie that has a phobia scene. It's "French Kiss". I guess it's the initial scene when Meg Ryan is trying to overcome her aviophobia. It's really funny. xxoo

  6. Thanks for the feedback, Silvia. I do remember the scene. Isn't it the one she is on a simulated flight and we only figure it out in the end of the scene? It's too bad I don't have the movie because the scene is reeealy funny. I'll see if I can add it, if the scene you have mentioned is the one I have in mind, of course. See you.

    1. You're blog is awesome and pretty useful. Thanks!

      But I'd tried to download the snippet for the activity and it wasn't working!

  7. Sorry, I don't know what might be happening. I just downloaded all of them. Did you click at the links at the end of the post?

  8. Hellooooo Claudio...I just wanted to sincerely thank you for all the classes I`ve used...I wished I could do the same, my students absolutely love video time...again thank you loads...

    All the best

  9. Thanks, Charlie. Thanks for the feedback!

  10. Hi Claudio, I have just discovered this by accident and it's just awesome!! I am really sorry I already did this topic this year but I vwill definitely save it for next year. Thanks a lot!!! Eva, Czech Republic