Sunday, March 30, 2014

This Must Be the Place: Apologizing

Apologizing in English is a functional language that makes a difference when dealing with native speakers of the language. I used this scene to lead in the topic. This activity can be used with any level. In the end of the instructions, there a apologizing functions, according  to the students' level of proficiency.



I. Discuss these questions with a partner:

1. Why is is important to apologize?

2. Does it matter the way you apologize? How so?

3. Is it hard for you to apologize? Or does it depend to whom you are talking?

4. How do you feel when someone does not apologize for something wrong they have done?

 5. Look at some reasons why you should apologize. Don't forget to visit it. It is worth doing it. Decide if you agree with them and why.

  • Apologizing when you've broken a rule of social conduct -- from cutting in line to breaking the law -- re-establishes that you know what the "rules" are, and you agree that they should be upheld. This allows others to feel safe knowing you agree that hurtful behavior isn't OK. 
  • Apologies re-establish dignity for those you hurt. Letting the injured party know that you know it was your fault, not theirs, helps them feel better, and it helps them save face.
  • Apologizing helps repair relationships by getting people talking again, and makes them feel comfortable with each other again.
  • A sincere apology allows you to let people know you're not proud of what you did, and won't be repeating the behavior. That lets people know you're the kind of person who is generally careful not to hurt others, and puts the focus on your better virtues, rather than on your worst mistakes.

  6. Look at some ways and reasons for apologizing:

 Expressing Regret – Saying, “I am sorry.”

Accepting Responsibility – Admitting, “I was wrong.”

Making Restitution – Committing, “I will make it right.”

Genuinely Repenting – Promising, “I will not do that again.”

Requesting Forgiveness – Asking, “Will you forgive me?”

    II. Here are some ways of apologizing, according to the student's proficiency level:



    • I apologize
    • I'm really sorry
    • I'm so sorry
    • I'm sorry
    • I'm sorry but...
    • Sorry


    • my fault
    • (I'm) sorry if...
    • I (really) must apologize
    • I hope you can forgive me (one day)
    • I really am so sorry
    • I wasn't doing my job
    • I'd like to apologize
    • Please forgive me


    • ...was very...of me
    • (I know) my actions...
    • (Looking back), I (now) realise that...
    • (Please) don't be angry
    • I accept (full) responsibility
    • I am/feel (so) ashamed
    • I can understand how you feel (about...)
    • I do apologize
    • I don't know what to say
    • I really am most terribly sorry
    • I regret...
    • I take (all) the blame
    • Pardon me!
    • Please accept my/our apologies
    • Please excuse my behaviour/thoughtlessness/...


    • (I now realise that/I know) I shouldn't have done that
    • (I'm sure) you must be (very) disappointed in me
    • (Please) don't be mad (at me)/don't kill me
    • I accept that I am to blame/that it's my fault
    • I am (such) an idiot
    • I am sorry to have disappointed you
    • I apologize wholeheartedly/unreservedly
    • I cannot say/express how sorry I am
    • I have reflected on my actions and...
    • I know it was wrong (of me) (to...)
    • If I could turn back the clock,...
    • It was (a bit) insensitive of me (to...)
    • Please accept my sincere/sincerest apologies
    • There is (really/absolutely) no excuse for my actions/behaviour/inaction/laziness
    • You are right to blame me
    • You must forgive me


    • (I know) I have let myself/you (all) down (by...)
    • (I know) it was thoughtless (of me)
    • I can see how you might be annoyed (by...)
    • I can't believe I...
    • I don't know what came over me
    • I don't know what got into me
    • I just want the ground to swallow me up
    • I take (full) responsibility
    • I think I went a bit too far
    • I am/was in the wrong
    • I messed up
    • I would like to express my regret
    • I'm happy to take (my share of) the blame
    • If I could take it all back, I would
    • It was inexcusable
    • It's unforgivable, I know
    • Please don't hold a grudge/don't hold this against me
    • Silly me! 

    • III. Watch the movie segment.
      1. Describe the scene.
      2. Why do you think the driver decide to do that.
      3. Role Play the situations below:
      Student A: You are the driver. Apologize for what you have just done. You are truly sorry for what happened.
      Student B: You are one the people running on the road. Accept the apologies politely.

      Student A: You are the driver. Apologize for what you have done, but you think they should not be running where they were.
      Student B: You are one of the people running on the road. Do not accept the apologies. You think the driver was very rude.

      Student A: You are the driver. Apologize, but do not be sincere. You don't really think it was your fault.
      Student B; You are one of the people running on the road. Accept the apologies, but give him advice for safer driving procedures.

      IV. Read the situations below and role play the situation with a partner. Apologize for what happened.

      1. Your friend traveled and asked you to water his/her plants. You forgot to do it and all his/her plants died while he/she was away.
      2. Your friend asked you to take care of the dogs, but you can't do it because you are allergic to pets' fur.
      3. Your friend asked you to take their of the children during the afternoon, but you forgot to feed the baby.
      4. You asked for your friend's car while yours was at the mechanic. You crashed the car while parking it.
      5. You borrowed some money from your friend. Now you don't have money to pay back.
      6. You parked your car in the handicapped space without realizing it. When you finally picked up your car, someone on a wheelchair had been waiting for you to leave the parking space for one hour.

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Monsters University & The Internship: Teamwork

    This is one of my favorite animated movies. These monsters are awesome and made me laugh all the time in the theater. It's a MUST! The Internship is interesting, especially because it shows what it is like to work for Google.

    I. Work in pairs:
    1. Do you prefer to work individually or in groups? Why?

    2. What do you understand by teamwork? How effective is it?

    3. What are the consequences for a group that does not work as a team?

    4. Is teamwork always necessary in a person's professional life? Explain it.

    II. Read the text below, taken from the document at the site 

    Then discuss the questions:

    Teams are groups of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose 
    and hold themselves mutually accountable for its achievement. Ideally, they develop a distinct identity
    and work together in a co-ordinated and mutually supportive way to fulfil their goal or purpose. Task
    effectiveness is the extent to which the team is successful in achieving its task-related objectives. 
    Shared goals are most likely to be achieved  through working together and pooling experience
    and expertise. 

    Successful teams are characterised by a team spirit based around trust, mutual respect, helpfulness and
    – at best – friendliness. Simply bringing people together does not necessarily ensure they will function effectively as a team or make appropriate decisions. Teams are composed of people who have a variety of emotional and social needs which the team can either frustrate or help to meet. Teamwork indifference – failing to take action to promote good teamwork – is a strategy likely to result in mediocre performance. 

    Effective teamwork results from:
    • a team whose membership, size and resources match the task
    • good leadership and attention to team-building
    • commitment by team members to understand and identify with one another's goals the development of team goals – a shared vision
    • a sense of common ownership of the task at hand and joint responsibility for its achievement co-ordinated effort and planned sharing of tasks evenly across the team 
    • the open exchange of information within the team 
    • honesty and frankness among team members.

    Effective teamwork may be undermined by a variety of problems, for example: 

    • disorganisation
    •  poor communication
    •  misunderstandings or inadequate procedures for problem-solving. 
    • Team functioning can be weakened by obstacles faced by individual members within the team, as well as by difficulties linked to the task.

    II. Discuss the questions:

    1. Explain, using your own words, what the author means by team work.

    2. What makes teamwork effective or ineffective?

    3. Do you agree with the definition that you have just read? Why?

    III. Watch the segment and discuss the questions.

    1. How successful was this teamwork? What were they supposed to achieve?

    2. Why weren't they successful?

    3.What requirements for successful teamwork they did not follow?

    4. What should they do to be successful the next time they have to work together?

    IV. Watch the movie segments below: They show two different moments of the same team in the movie "The Internship". These groups must work as a team in order to achieve some tasks/goals in order to be hired by Google. Then answer the questions that follow each one of them.

    1. What is the task they have to achieve? 

    2. Why do they have to work as a team?

    3. How successful are they as a team?

    4.What could they have done to be more successful?

    5. How do you compare their team with their opponent's?

    V. Watch the second segment from the same movie and answer the questions:

    1. What is their new task?

    2. How successful were they?

    3. What has changed in the group's attitude from the first to the second segment. 

    4. Why was teamwork more successful this time?

    V. Watch the ads below. Explain how teamwork was dealt with in the presented situations.  

    Monday, March 10, 2014

    Jobs: Visionaries x Opportunists

    I. Read the text below. Focus on the differences between a visionary and an opportunist.

    Inspired by the wonderful worth-visiting site:


    The Oxford Dictionary defines opportunism as “the practice of looking for and using opportunities to gain an advantage for oneself, without considering if this is fair or right.” I’m not sure moral rationale should be part of the definition, and therefore it can be simplified as “An opportunist is someone that finds and takes advantage of opportunities.” Does that sound like you?


    Unlike an opportunist, a visionary not only finds opportunities, but they are able to sustain a vision – a direction. A visionary is able to differentiate between opportunities of the moment and sustainable opportunities for the future. A visionary is an opportunist, but an opportunist is not a visionary.

    • An opportunist feels the temptation to take all opportunities that come their way.
    • Opportunists see the current opportunity as a once-in-a-lifetime
      opportunity, while visionaries know that there are many
      once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
    • A visionary is confident that their vision won’t be hindered by
      masquerading opportunities that will inevitably take them off course.
    • Essentially, a visionary is able to differentiate between the opportunities that benefit the vision and those that detour it.
    • Opportunists are often lost when an opportunity is fulfilled and
      motivated by new opportunity rather than confidence in a solid

    II. Explain, using your own words, the difference between visionaries and opportunists.

    III. Explain "A visionary is an opportunist, but an opportunist is not a visionary."

    IV. Many people believe that Steven Jobs, the brain behind Apple, was an unforgettable visionary, who made Apple what it is today. Others think that he was an opportunist, in the sense of the definition provided above, in a positive manner. Do you have an opinion about him?

    V. Watch the movie segment about two moments in Jobs's trajectory to success and answer the questions that follow in small groups.

    1. Describe the two ideas he had in mind in the movie scenes. 

    2. Why were they considered revolutionary?

    3. Do you think he had visions of how life should be in the future or was he just trying to get the most he could from the present? Explain it.

    4. What's your opinion about Steven Jobs? 

    5. Think about three people you consider opportunists and  three people you consider visionaries. Explain your choices.