Example lesson using a newspaper story
With a little imagination, it is easy to write interesting lessons using news stories. In our programme we tend to avoid the basic "read the story and answer the questions" approach because that fails on both the imagination and interest criteria. It can also mislead students into thinking that a reading class is simply a test-taking activity.
Below is an example of an alternative approach. As you will see, it provides the students with a different way of processing the material contained in the reading. It's an approach which most students seem to find interesting and useful because of the vocabulary they learn.
In addition, there are dozens of other lessons in our Post tips example lessons and Feature focus sections. You might also want to check out these pages in our Reading tips section for more information on the style and content of news and feature stories:
Example Lesson: A real life hero
Character descriptions Since both news and feature stories are usually about people, it is not surprising to find many references to character and personality. Below is a lesson based on such a story.
People like heros. In the past our heroes have tended to be people who have done daring deeds (brave actions). Today, however, we make heroes out of people who may never have done anything truly heroic ó movie stars, rock singers and sports stars, for example.
From the Bangkok Post, we have a story about a true old-fashioned hero, Jesse McCutchen Jr. of New York City.
Before you begin, look at the list of adjectives below that we commonly use for our present-day heroes. Some are positive and some are rather negative, the kind of words we might use for famous people who are not really heroes. Then, as you read the story below, decide which ones are most appropriate for describing Mr McCutchen.
|aggressive||forceful and determined|
|agile||able to move quickly and easily|
|arrogant||unpleasantly proud, with an unreasonably strong belief in one's own importance, and a lack of respect for other people|
|articulate||able to express oneself clearly|
|athletic||physically strong and active|
|charismatic||having strong personal charm that makes one able to attract people and have a powerful influence over them or to win their admiration|
|compassionate||showing or feeling sympathy for the sufferings of others and wanting to help them|
|dynamic||full of new ideas and the will to succeed; forceful|
|eloquent||able to express ideas and opinions readily and well|
|fearless||not afraid; without fear|
|haughty||self-assured in an offensive way; arrogant|
|macho||(describing a man) having the attitude that one is very strong, brave and handsome and often appearing arrogant|
|magnetic||charismatic; having a certain quality that draws people to one|
|modest||having or expressing a lower opinion of one's ability than is probably deserved; not full of self-praise|
|reluctant||unwilling and therefore slow to act|
|reticent||unwilling to speak; not saying as much as is known or felt|
|self-centred||sure of oneís self-importance; egotistic|
|self-conscious||nervous and uncomfortable about oneself as seen by others|
|suave||having or showing very good, smooth manners, esp. in a way that is not sincere|
|valiant||very brave, esp. in war or a fight|
|Park attack hero shies from spotlight's glare|
New York, UPIóTHE man who rescued a woman from an attempted rape in Central Park on Sunday morning and then chased and captured her suspected attacker found himself in a new role Monday at a City Hall news conference: that of the reticent hero.
The man, Jesse McCutchen Jr, 35, a sanitation worker who described himself as a retired
miler with a best time of 4 minutes 1 second, was obviously uncomfortable as he sat beside Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, listening to himself being hailed as a hero, and staring at microphones and television cameras.
A lean man in a fading NCAA Track and Field Championship T-shirt, McCutchen kept his
feelings to himself and his few words were barely audible.
I really donít want to talk about that, McCutchen said when asked how it felt to be a hero. Iím still going through the emotional trauma of all this.
On Sunday about 7:30 a.m., he heard a woman jogger calling for help from a clump of
bushes off East Drive near East 106th Street. Despite a back injury sustained recently in an accident involving a collapsing ceiling, he chased the woman's assailant about 100 yards, fought with him and subdued him until a patrol car came along and officers made the arrest, police said.
Giuliani said his act of heroism should be a model for others in the city to imitate.
McCutchen graduated from Martin Luther King High School in Manhattan and Adelphi
University in 1982 with a major in communications and a minor in sociology, and competed in
track at both schools. After working for a number of city agencies, he joined the Sanitation Department in March 1990.
He called the struggle with the suspect very horrifying and said he was very tired from all the attention. Asked his reaction to being called a superman by the woman he saved, he replied he would do the same thing again if necessary.
Police Commissioner William Bratton called him the shy good Samaritan, adding, ďhis
reticence, his shyness if you will, is somewhat refreshing.Ē
Look at our other lessons in Post tips and and Feature focus.