martes, 22 de octubre de 2013

Madrid Teacher: For and against television debate

Television is a recurrent topic in the English class, so most students at an intermediate level and above will be no strangers to this three-minute debate on TV, where two Madrid Teachers hold opposing views, one in favour of TV and the other one against it.

Once again, these Madrid Teacher videos give us the opportunity to get acquainted with the conversational strategies native speakers use in conversation. Watch the video through and pay attention to the following:

Expressing disbelief in what the other person is saying
You’re kidding right?
Are you kidding me? 

Showing the speaker that you are paying attention
Oh, yeah.
Yeah, true.

Involving the listener in the conversation
What do you think?

Explaining yourself more clearly
I mean

Introducing contrast, change or hesitation

Introducing a change or a request for clarification

Remember that if you want to understand everything that is being said in the conversation, you can activate the CC subtitles on the lower side of the YouTube videoplayer, which will give you a very accurate transcription.

English students very often find 'for and against topics' (like TV, mobile phones, social networking sites, living in a big city, living in a flat, sharing a flat, being an only child) in the writing paper of exams. These composition tasks have a clear-cut structure that students must follow.

The topic in the composition below is 'advantages and disadvantages of university students living on campus'. Pay attention to the four-paragraph structure and the connectors or linking words that join ideas and which are highlighted in blue.

Paragraph 1: Introduction
In recent years, the number of British students living on campus has increased dramatically, but is this the most suitable form of accommodation for young people who are preparing to obtain a degree and who also have their first opportunity to learn about life?
Paragraph 2: List of advantages (usually two or three)
I will start by looking at the advantages of living on campus. For a start, life is usually cheaper. For example, food and accommodation are often subsidized by the university and students who live off campus have to pay normal prices for everything. Moreover, you don’t have to deal with things that go wrong in rented accommodation, such as washing machines breaking down or gas cookers that don’t work properly. The most important reason is the time you save being so close to places like the library. Consequently, you have much more time to study.

Paragraph 3: List of disadvantages (usually two or three)
However, there are some disadvantages too. First of all, it is easy to spend all your time on campus and because of that you can lose contact with the ‘real world’. What is more, you don’t have as much independence or freedom on campus as off. For instance, you normally can’t choose what and when to eat. Finally, if you live on campus, it isn’t necessary to develop the same life skills as you would if you lived off campus –skills like managing the day-to-day running of a house.

Paragraph 4: Conclusion
To sum up, we must bear in mind that the main reason for being at university is to study. Although it has some obvious drawbacks, living on campus allows students more time to study without the distractions and responsibilities of rented accommodation. As a result, I would recommend people to live on campus if they have the chance.

Suggested activity:
Write a for and against composition on the advantages and disadvantages of television. Write about 160 words.

So, much that is on television is just absolute garbage, trash. I think television has been getting worse, worse, and worse every year. It’s a . . . Really.
You’re kidding right?
No, I think the best thing for reading and literature is television.
Actually, yea, true, that’s true.
You’re kidding?
No, I’m not. Look “Big Brother”
What about it?
It’s, it’s garbage.
It’s cheap trash, and what, children are watching that! People are watching that, and emulating that, copying that.
I mean they’re copying everything off that boob tube. They are copying the violence, a lot of criminals are actually learning. They’re getting an education there on how to be better criminals.
Uhum. . .
It’s an absolute waste of time. Instead of getting an education, children are watching three hours of TV a day, and as an added bonus they are gaining weight. They’re getting overweight watching television.
Are you done?
No, but go ahead. What do you think?
Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Are you serious? You really believe that all the problems in society have to do with television?
Mmmmm. . .. yeah!
Ok. So, where does parenting come in to all this?
Well, I think parents are delegating their responsibilities to television.
Ok. So, it’s not television the problem, it’s the parenting. Society not doing their job.
Well, if they didn’t have television, if they didn’t have television, they would find something else like take their children out to the park.
Oh, yeah. . .
But they can’t take their children out to the park, because, what! All the other children are watching television.
Well, that has nothing to do with it. People, to begin with. . . many. . . centuries, centuries, centuries ago... people were still violent, and you know. . . what, Hey! Look at the French Revolution. They were chopping people’s heads off left and right. What television was to blame then?
Well, thankfully, they didn’t have television, because...
So, who are you blaming then?
Well, if they’d had television, it would have been even worse.
Society is just screwed up! Society is screwed up because we’re, in… we’re usually just thinking about ourselves, and very selfish, and not only that, we have beast traits to us.
Yeah, true, but television is not helping anything out, it’s making it worse.
Oh, wow, so, what, making it worse? They were still being violent back then when there was no television. So, what, what, what are you saying now? Now, it’s just, the reason now that we know about all this violence is because of television, because now television serves as double. . . okay, a “double edged” sword. I’ll give you that, because before people did not hear about it, because they were in a mountain. Far and off, off, off away. And then so, who told them there was being killed or murdered or raped? No one! But now we have this beautiful world called. . . you know Media, and television, and we get images and then people are shocked, but this has been happening for centuries.