Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Ghost Writer: Ghostwriters

Although this is not a typical topic for the L2 class, it can be a good source for conversation or warming a topic about reading/literature/writing. There are so many people releasing books as ghost writers that it made my class really meaningful.

"Ghost writing" is the art of writing for someone else. The Ghost Writer will write the final material and the client will take the credit for having written it. Most Ghost Writers are hired to do what the client wishes they could do if they had the time and ability. Then again some are hired as a service for people wishing to make a profit from the written word but who have absolutely no interest in writing. WIKIPEDIA

I. There are many people who may hire a Ghost Writer but the reasons for hiring one will usually fall into one of a two categories. Decide if you believe the reasons are fair enough and why:

1. Lack of time. A client who is particularly busy in their everyday life or business life may want to write something and may even have the research materials ready and the writing abilities to do it however it takes a lot of time to write anything and the client may not have the luxury of time.

2. Lack of ability. Writing is a skill and not everyone is in possession of it. What are the chances that the owner of 42 content based websites is also an accomplished web writer. What are the chances that a famous pop star also has the technical ability to pen an engaging autobiography. Not everyone is in possession of perfect grammar, spelling and story telling abilities and even those who do may not be able to write a best seller.

II. Decide with a partner if you believe the statements below are in favor or against ghost writing.

( ) The drawback to ghostwriting is that you get no public credit. If you run a writing business that revolves around your personal reputation, you want as much credited work out there as possible.

( ) Freelance ghostwriting is a good source of additional income for you and your family. Although it doesn’t pay that well when you’re just starting out, it still provides a substantial income as you need not shell out any amount to get your ghostwriting career rolling.

( ) Depending on the project you take on, your skills and speed as a writer, as well as your own schedule, you can definitely work at your own pace. And you can work at the convenience of your home too.

( ) Since you have to write articles on the client’s chosen topic, you get to hone your skills in researching and writing for that topic.

( ) As you have no face-to-face interaction with your client, and your communication is mostly through emails, defaults can easily occur. Some have delivered ghostwriting jobs which have remained unpaid as of this writing.

( ) Ghostwriting for online content pays quite low when you are just starting out. Project compensations can come as low $1 per 500-word article or even lower.

( ) You won’t be allowed to use the ghostwritten material in a portfolio (even a private portfolio sent directly to prospective clients). While some ghostwriting clients will allow you to do this, others require that you sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), meaning you can never claim involvement with the project, claim authorship, or imply the listed author isn’t in fact the author at all.

( ) Ghostwriting for online content pays quite low when you are just starting out. Project compensations can come as low $1 per 500-word article or even lower. Information taken from the informative sites below:

Read more:
Read more at Suite101: All About Ghost Writing: The Pros, Cons and Facts About Writing for Others

III. Watch the segment below and talk about the following questions in groups:

1. Who is the ghost writer in the segment? What will he write about and for whom?

2. How is the ghost writer seen by the person who is hiring him?

3. Why is he being hired?

4. Is the reason fair enough? Explain it.

5. What's your opinion about ghost writing?

6. Would you like to be or hire a ghost writer? For what reason?


Friday, August 19, 2011

Sex and the City 2: Coincidences

This scene is wonderful. One of the best moments of the movie shows a huge, unfortunate coincidence, a topic we usually talk about in the EFL/ESL class.

Coincidence offers a non-religious, irrational explanation that is readily accepted by those that oppose any form of intelligent design. Its premise is found on the law of chance. Those that believe in coincidence usually believe in luck.

Do you agree with this definition of coincidence? Explain it.

I. Work in small groups. Discuss these questions.

1. Do you believe in coincidence or do you think that everything is pre-determined by something we do not understand very well?

2. Can you remember a coincidence that has happened to you and that you have never forgotten?

3. When are coincidences good and bad? II. Read the quotes about coincidence. Explain what they mean, if you agree with them and why. Taken from

1. Every single moment is a coincidence Doug Coupland, Novelist

2. When I think of some of my earlier work, it really seems a fortunate coincidence that I succeeded. Helmut Jahn, Architect

3. Coincidences are logical. Johan Cruyff, Soccer Player and Coach

III. Watch the movie segment from the movie Sex and the City 2 an answer the questions.

1. Describe the scene.

2. What is the coincidence in the segment?

3. Is this really a coincidence or was it likely to happen?

4. What would you do if you were in their shoes?

5. What should those actresses do?

6. How did they deal with the situation? Was it a wise decision?


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Amish Grace: Amish People

Talking about the Amish people in the language classroom enriches students' cultural knowledge, they get to know about people most of them have never heard of, and they learn to respect differences as well. This scene is great to get familiar with their lifestyle.

I. Work in small groups and decide if the statements are true or false about the Amish people. Information taken from

1. The Amish exchange gifts and Celebrate Christmas on December 25th and Old Christmas (Epiphany) on January 6th. They visit with family and friends. They do not, however, decorate their houses as English people do.

2. The Amish live in 5 states of the United States.

3. The Amish make their own clothes

4. The Amish don't file for a birth certificate.

5. Anyone can live in an Amish community by simply moving to where the Amish live in a specific area.

6. A person could visit an Amish area and talk to the Amish at roadside stands or stay in a Bed and Breakfast in an Amish area or where the Amish host visitors in their home.

7. An Amish person would not just "talk" on the phone. They would use the phone for a specific utilitarian purpose, i.e., to order supplies for the farm, to call the Doctor or notify a distant family member of a death or major illness in the family.

8. Amish groups do not wear colored clothes.

9. The Amish paint the front door of their homes blue to show that they have a daughter available to be wed.

10. Amish women who make quilts make an intentional error to show their humility.

1. T

2. F ( The Amish live in 28 states of the United States (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Washington, Arkansas, Colorado, Mississippi and Nebraska) and the Province of Ontario, Canada)

3. T

4. F

5. T

6. T

7. T

8. F (They don't just wear white and/or black. Ladies wear shades of blue, green, red, brown, etc. Granted most colors are probably the darker tones of the color wheel but color nevertheless. Men also wear shades of all the above in their shirt color. Pants are brown, navy or black (generally).

9. F (The Amish live in large, comfortable houses that are painted white. They would not "decorate" their front door and they would not advertise that a daughter is available for marriage. Amish courtship is a rather private event).

10. F (Probably the "error" may have been a lack of the same material or color to finish the quilt, more so than the intentional piecing of an "error")

II. Watch the movie segment from the movie Amish Grace and discuss the questions.

1. Describe the scene

2. Describe their clothes

3. What are they discussing? What are their points of view?

4. What can you say about the Amish and their lifestyle based on the segment?

5. What's your opinion about the Amish?

6. Would you manage to adapt to their way of life? Explain it.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Hereafter & Dinner for Schmucks: Communicating with the Afterlife

Hereafter is another Clint Eastwood's great moment as a director. The story is wonderfully intertwined and the subject is very well-explored. Dinner for Schmuck's scene is very funny and I had a blast watching it. The topic can be touchy, so make sure your audience is ready for it.

I. Discuss these questions with a partner:

1. Do you believe in the afterlife? Explain it.

2. Do you think it is possible to communicate with people who have already died? How does it happen?

3. Have you ever had such an experience? Do you know anyone who has? Talk about it.

4. If you could, would you like to communicate with someone who has passed away?

5. Is it healthy to try to communicate with the afterlife? Explain it.

6. How would you feel if someone you loved tried to communicate with you from the afterlife? What if it were someone you did not know?

7. Do you think most psychics or mediums are charlatans or hoaxes? Do they actually help or harm people who look for this kind of contact?

8. What are some ways you have heard of communicating with the afterlife?

II. Watch the movie segment from the movie Hereafter and discuss the questions:

1. Describe the scene.

2. How does the medium make contact with the afterlife?

3. Who is the medium making contact with? S1 talks about the middle-aged man and S2 talks about the boy.

4. What is the message given?

5. Is this kind of contact helping the characters? How do you think their lives will change after that?

6. Would you ask this medium to make contact for you? Who would you like to make contact with?

III. Watch the scene from the movie Dinner for Schmucks and answer the questions:

1. Describe the scene.

2. How does the medium make contact with the afterlife?

3. Who is the medium making contact with?

4. What is the message given?

5. Is this kind of contact helping anyone? How do you think their lives will change after that?

6. Would you ask this medium to make contact with someone for you? Why (not)?