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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Sony

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Sony appoints British CEO


Date: March 8, 2005
Level: Intermediate +
Downloads: This Lesson (Word Doc) | Class Handout (Word Doc) | Class Handout (PDF)

THE ARTICLE

Japan’s Sony Corporation has appointed its first foreign CEO in an attempt to revive flagging profits. The electronics giant named British Sir Howard Stringer as its new boss in an extraordinary general meeting. He replaces current CEO Noboyuki Idei, who has taken responsibility for poor earnings and a 60% share price slump over the past five years. The 63-year old Stringer was born in Wales and has had an illustrious career. He is a Vietnam war hero, he served as president of America’s CBS Inc between 1988-95, and joined Sony Corp. of America in 1997 as president. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999. Sir Howard said of his appointment, “We look forward to joining our twin pillars of engineering and technology with our commanding presence in entertainment and content creation to deliver the most advanced devices and forms of entertainment to the consumer." His task is to prevent Sony from going into the red for a second straight year, and to revive the creativity within Sony’s ranks. It needs a new line of ‘hit’ products to return it to the top. Sony was started by Akio Morita after World War II and developed into an electronics powerhouse known for innovation and quality. Products such as Walkman and PlayStation have become household names.

POSSIBLE WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about Sony / CEO / electronics / Walkman / PlayStation / HandyCam / …

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

3. SONY LIFESTYLE: With a partner, write down 5 ways in which life would be different without SONY – (no Walkman on the train, no PlayStation… etc.). Change partners and compare what you wrote. Change partners again and compare again. Return to your original partner and decide on the five biggest ways in which life would be different of those you wrote down / heard.

4. 2-MINUTE SONY DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept:

  1. Japanese companies need Japanese CEOs. vs. Nissan has a Brazilian CEO.
  2. Sony is the best electronics company in the world. vs. Isn’t.
  3. Sony’s products are not so reliable. vs. Sony’s products are extremely high quality.
  4. Sony’s Walkman is the best portable music player. vs. Ten years ago – yes – but now it’s Apple’s iPod.
  5. PlayStation is best. vs. Xbox / Nintendo DS / GameCube is better.
  6. Walkman’s changed the world. vs. They just meant we could listen to music on the train. That’s not changing the world.
  7. A foreign CEO will bring important change to Sony. vs. Sony is a traditionally run Japanese company in no need of change.

 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

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

2. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the headline and guess whether these sentences are true or false:

  1. Sony Corporation has appointed its first foreign CEO.  T / F
  2. Sony’s profits have been falling.  T / F
  3. Sony’s share price has fallen over 50% in the past five years.  T / F
  4. The new British CEO is a newcomer to the world of entertainment.  T / F
  5. This is the new British CEO’s first job with Sony.  T / F
  6. Sony may make a loss for the second successive year.  T / F
  7. Sony needs a new line of ‘hit’ products to return it to the top.   T / F
  8. Sony products have become household names.  T / F

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

(a)

giant

resuscitate

(b)

revive

workforce

(c)

flagging

dominating

(d)

earnings

cutting edge

(e)

illustrious

gadgets

(f)

appointment

powerhouse

(g)

commanding

revenue

(h)

devices

job

(i)

ranks

falling

(j)

innovation

distinguished

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

(a)

revive flagging

slump

(b)

electronics

and technology

(c)

extraordinary general

profits

(d)

taken

the red

(e)

60% share price

names

(f)

illustrious

responsibility for

(g)

twin pillars of engineering

giant

(h)

going into

year

(i)

a second straight

meeting

(j)

have become household

career

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

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

Sony appoints British CEO

Japan’s Sony Corporation has __________ its first foreign CEO in an attempt to revive flagging profits. The electronics giant named British Sir Howard Stringer as its new boss in an extraordinary __________ meeting. He replaces current CEO Noboyuki Idei, who has taken responsibility for __________ earnings and a 60% share price slump over the past five years. The 63-year old Stringer was born in Wales and has had an illustrious career. He is a Vietnam war hero, he __________ as president of America’s CBS Inc between 1988-95, and joined Sony Corp. of America in 1997 as president. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999. Sir Howard said of his appointment, “We look forward to joining our twin pillars of engineering and technology with our commanding __________ in entertainment and content creation to deliver the most advanced devices and forms of entertainment to the consumer." His task is to prevent Sony from going into the red for a second straight year, and to __________ the creativity within Sony’s ranks. It needs a new line of ‘hit’ products to return it to the top. Sony was started by Akio Morita after World War II selling wireless radios, and soon developed into an electronics __________ known for innovation and quality. Products such as Walkman and PlayStation have become __________ names.

 

 

poor
appointed
presence
general
household
powerhouse
served
revive

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. ‘ELECTRONICS’/ ‘GIANT’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

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

  1. What was interesting in this article?
  2. Are you Sony fan?
  3. Have you ever bought any Sony products?
  4. What electronics goods do you have? Was the maker a factor in your decision to buy them?
  5. Which of these countries make the best electronics goods: Japan, USA, Korea, Germany, Finland, Taiwan, and China?
  6. Do you have any brand loyalty towards any electronics company?
  7. Are Sony’s Walkman and PlayStation the best products of their kinds?
  8. What do you think of the appointment of a British CEO to head Sony?
  9. Is an iPod better than a Walkman?
  10. Would you buy a Sony computer?
  11. What kind of new products do you want Sony to bring out?
  12. What would you do if you were CEO of Sony?
  13. What new markets should Sony try and enter?
  14. Which is the best electronics company in the world?
  15. Teacher / Student additional questions.

HOMEWORK

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

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find information on Sony. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. NEW PRODUCT: You are a worker for Sony R & D. Make a new product design that will be a best seller.

4. LETTER TO SIR HOWARD: Write a letter to Sir Howard Stringer giving him advice on his new position as CEO of Sony.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE
  1. Sony Corporation has appointed its first foreign CEO.  T
  2. Sony’s profits have been falling.  T
  3. Sony’s share price has fallen over 50% in the past five years.  T
  4. The new British CEO is a newcomer to the world of entertainment.  F
  5. This is the new British CEO’s first job with Sony.  F
  6. Sony may make a loss for the second successive year.  T
  7. Sony needs a new line of ‘hit’ products to return it to the top.   T
  8. Sony products have become household names.  T

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a)

giant

powerhouse

(b)

revive

resuscitate

(c)

flagging

falling

(d)

earnings

revenue

(e)

illustrious

distinguished

(f)

appointment

job

(g)

commanding

dominating

(h)

devices

gadgets

(i)

ranks

workforce

(j)

innovation

cutting edge

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

revive flagging

profits

(b)

electronics

giant

(c)

extraordinary general

meeting

(d)

taken

responsibility for

(e)

60% share price

slump

(f)

illustrious

career

(g)

twin pillars of engineering

and technology

(h)

going into

the red

(i)

a second straight

year

(j)

have become household

names

 

GAP FILL:

Sony appoints British CEO

Japan’s Sony Corporation has appointed its first foreign CEO in an attempt to revive flagging profits. The electronics giant named British Sir Howard Stringer as its new boss in an extraordinary general meeting. He replaces current CEO Noboyuki Idei, who has taken responsibility for poor earnings and a 60% share price slump over the past five years. The 63-year old Stringer was born in Wales and has had an illustrious career. He is a Vietnam war hero, he served as president of America’s CBS Inc between 1988-95, and joined Sony Corp. of America in 1997 as president. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999. Sir Howard said of his appointment, “We look forward to joining our twin pillars of engineering and technology with our commanding presence in entertainment and content creation to deliver the most advanced devices and forms of entertainment to the consumer." His task is to prevent Sony from going into the red for a second straight year, and to revive the creativity within Sony’s ranks. It needs a new line of ‘hit’ products to return it to the top. Sony was started by Akio Morita after World War II selling wireless radios, and soon developed into an electronics powerhouse known for innovation and quality. Products such as Walkman and PlayStation have become household names.

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