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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Swaziland

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Swaziland king buys wives BMWs



 

Monday February 14, 2005
Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

It may be just a coincidence that today is Valentine’s Day and the king of Swaziland bought ten of his wives a present each – a brand new $90,000 BMW. Or, it may be yet another example of King Mswati III stirring up controversy in his impoverished tiny kingdom of one million people. He actually has eleven wives and two fiancées, but only ten of his wives were lucky enough to get a BMW. Swaziland is one of the world’s poorest countries, it constantly battles drought, and it has the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection (39%). Most Swazi people can only survive by living on food aid. Even so, its king likes to spend what little GDP the country has on luxuries and a lavish lifestyle for his family and himself. In December he bought himself a car costing $500,000. He is often subject to sweeping criticism for his support and practice of polygamy, and the fact that he chooses a virgin teenage bride to marry each year. The young woman has no choice but to marry the king. His wives often flee the country to escape him, but he soon replaces them, even though he is building each of them her very own palace – another $14 million. He was educated in Britain, but prefers the power of being an absolute monarch, and the power to buy whatever he wants while his people starve.

Lesson & plan in Word.doc

Example Class Handout in Word.doc

Example Class Handout in .pdf

WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about Swaziland / BMWs and Mercs (short for Mercedes) / King Mswati III / lavish lifestyle / polygamy / being king…

To make things more dynamic, try telling your students they only have one minute (or 2) on each chat topic before changing topics / partners. Change topic / partner frequently to energize the class.

2. BMW BRAINSTORM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with BMWs. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

3. SWAZILAND BRAINSTORM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with Swaziland. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

4. 10 SPOUSES: With a partner spend five minutes writing down all of the advantages and disadvantages of having ten husbands or wives, all at the same time. Talk about these. Change partners and share your advantages and disadvantages, and decide if it is better to marry just one person or ten.

5. OPINIONS: Talk about these with your partner:

  1. Polygamy is wrong in any culture.
  2. The United Nations should depose King Mswati III and rescue the Swazi people.
  3. King Mswati III is the leader of an ancient culture. We cannot question its traditions.
  4. He should have bought Mercedes.
  5. Swaziland’s Southern African neighbours should pressure King Mswati III more to reform.
  6. Variety is the spice of life.
  7. Leave him alone. He isn’t a dictator like they have in Zimbabwe or North Korea, or had in Iraq.
  8. Come on, any young king with total power would buy his loved ones a car each.
  9. Looking at King Mswati III is like looking at living history – It’s great.
  10. Isn’t he the big romantic?

 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘brand’ and ‘new’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Students look at the headline and predict whether they believe the following statements about the article are true or false:

  1. Swaziland’s king bought ten of his wives a BMW each for Valentine’s Day.  T / F
  2. Swaziland’s king rarely makes the headlines.  T / F
  3. Swaziland is a rich and populous country.  T / F
  4. King Mswati III  actually has eleven wives and two fiancées.  T / F
  5. Swaziland has the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection (39%).. T / F
  6. Most Swazi people eat three good meals a day.  T / F
  7. The king chooses to marry any woman he wants, she cannot refuse.  T / F
  8. He was educated in Britain.  T / F

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Students match the following synonyms from the article:

(a) coincidence creating
(b) brand-new famine
(c) stirring up over-the-top
(d) impoverished subsist
(e) drought fluke
(f) survive escape
(g) lavish supreme
(h) sweeping hot-off-the-production-line
(i) flee destitute
(j) absolute extensive

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a) just a example of
(b) yet another drought
(c) stirring up food aid
(d) impoverished tiny criticism
(e) it constantly battles coincidence
(f) the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS lifestyle
(g) survive by living on monarch
(h) lavish kingdom of one million people
(i) He is often subject to sweeping controversy
(j) absolute infection

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Swaziland king buys wives BMWs

It may be just a __________ that today is Valentine’s Day and the king of Swaziland bought ten of his wives a present each – a brand-new $90,000 BMW. Or, it may be yet another example of King Mswati III __________ up controversy in his impoverished tiny kingdom of one million people. He actually has eleven wives and two fiancées, but only ten of his wives were lucky enough to get a BMW. Swaziland is one of the world’s poorest countries, it constantly __________ drought, and it has the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection (39%). Most Swazi people can only survive by __________ on food aid. Even so, its king likes to spend what little GDP the country has on luxuries and a lavish lifestyle for his family and himself. In December he bought himself a car costing $500,000. He is often subject to __________ criticism for his support and practice of polygamy, and the fact that he chooses a virgin teenage bride to marry each year. The young woman has no __________ but to marry the king. His wives often __________ the country to escape him, but he soon replaces them, even though he is building each of them her very own palace – another $14 million. He was educated in Britain, but prefers the power of being an __________ monarch, and the power to buy whatever he wants while his people starve.

 

sweeping
stirring
choice
battles
living
flee
coincidence
absolute

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYMS:  Students check their answers to the synonyms exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH:  Students check their answers to the phrase match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

5. ‘BRAND’/ ‘NEW’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:  Students ask each other the following questions:

  1. Would you prefer a brand-new BMW or Merc?
  2. What do you think of this article?
  3. What do you think of King Mswati III?
  4. Should the world be doing something to help his people?
  5. Should polygamy be allowed in any society?
  6. Swaziland has many ancient traditions (including polygamy). Shouldn’t we let these traditions continue?
  7. Attacking King Mswati for his polygamy is the same as the Christian missionaries did when they went to ‘civilize’ Africans in the nineteenth century. Do you agree?
  8. A virgin, teenage Swazi girl cannot refuse to marry the king. What do you think?
  9. Would you marry an absolute monarch if he/she promised you brand-new luxury cars and palaces?
  10. What would you do if you became king / queen of Swaziland?
  11. What one word best describes King Mswati III?
  12. If you met King Mswati III, what advice would you give him?
  13. If one of his people met him and could say anything, what would they say?
  14. Teacher / Student additional questions.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on King Mswati III. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. LETTER TO KING: Write a letter to King Mswati III from one of his people.

4. CULTURE CONSERVATION: Write a short article evaluating the importance of keeping the Swazi tradition of monarchial polygamy alive.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

  1. Swaziland’s king bought his ten wives a BMW each for Valentine’s Day.  F
  2. Swaziland’s king rarely makes the headlines.  F
  3. Swaziland is a rich and populous country.  F
  4. King Mswati III  actually has eleven wives and two fiancées.  T
  5. Swaziland has the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection (39%).. T
  6. Most Swazi people eat three good meals a day.  F
  7. The king chooses to marry any woman he wants, she cannot refuse.  T
  8. He was educated in Britain.  T

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a) coincidence fluke
(b) brand-new hot-off-the-production-line
(c) stirring up creating
(d) impoverished destitute
(e) drought famine
(f) survive subsist
(g) lavish over-the-top
(h) sweeping extensive
(i) flee escape
(j) absolute supreme

PHRASE MATCH:

(a) just a coincidence
(b) yet another example of
(c) stirring up criticism
(d) impoverished tiny kingdom of one million people
(e) it constantly battles drought
(f) the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection
(g) survive by living on food aid
(h) lavish lifestyle
(i) He is often subject to sweeping controversy
(j) absolute monarch

 

GAP FILL:

Swaziland king buys wives BMWs

It may be just a coincidence that today is Valentine’s Day and the king of Swaziland bought ten of his wives a present each – a brand new $90,000 BMW. Or, it may be yet another example of King Mswati III stirring up controversy in his impoverished tiny kingdom of one million people. He actually has eleven wives and two fiancées, but only ten of his wives were lucky enough to get a BMW. Swaziland is one of the world’s poorest countries, it constantly battles drought, and it has the world’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection (39%). Most Swazi people can only survive by living on food aid. Even so, its king likes to spend what little GDP the country has on luxuries and a lavish lifestyle for his family and himself. In December he bought himself a car costing $500,000. He is often subject to sweeping criticism for his support and practice of polygamy, and the fact that he chooses a virgin teenage bride to marry each year. The young woman has no choice but to marry the king. His wives often flee the country to escape him, but he soon replaces them, even though he is building each of them her very own palace – another $14 million. He was educated in Britain, but prefers the power of being an absolute monarch, and the power to buy whatever he wants while his people starve.

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