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Date: May 7, 2005
Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)
Downloads: This Lesson (Word Doc) | Class Handout (Word Doc) | Class Handout (PDF)

Listening (1:40 - 196.5 KB - 16kbps)

THE ARTICLE

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has won the British election. He has also entered British political history books by becoming the first Labour leader to win three elections in a row. However, his record-setting victory is not all good news: Mr. Blair’s party lost over 100 seats in the British parliament. This was mainly because of his decision to go to war in Iraq. It was very unpopular in Britain and many Britons voted for other parties. Mr. Blair said: “I know that Iraq has been a deeply divisive issue in this country.…But I also know and believe that after this election people want to move on.” Mr. Blair’s election success is largely because of the strong British economy. Britain has enjoyed economic growth for the last 13 years and has very low levels of unemployment and inflation. In his next term of office, he has promised to focus on health, education, social welfare and the terrible British transportation system.

WARM UPS

1. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics you are interested in, which do not look interesting and which look really boring:

Tony Blair / history books / elections / British politics / Mr. Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq / economic growth / unemployment and inflation / health, education, social welfare / transportation systems

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

2. TONY BLAIR: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with Tony Blair. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

3. BLAIR COMPARE: Do you think Tony Blair is a good world leader? Compare him with four of these world leaders:

  • The leader in my country
  • Nestor Kirchner (Argentina)
  • Hamid Karzai (Afghanistan)
  • Fidel Castro (Cuba)
  • Mohammed Hosni Mubarak (Egypt)
  • Gerhard Schroeder (Germany)
  • Junichiro Koizumi (Japan)
  • Mwai Kibaki (Kenya)
  • Muammar al-Qadhafi (Libya)
  • Pervez Musharraf (Pakistan)
  • Vladimir Putin (Russia)
  • Bashar al-Asad (Syria)
  • Thabo Mbeki (South Africa)
  • George W. Bush (USA)
  • Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe)
  • Lula da Silva (Brazil)
  • Hu Jintao (China)
  • Jacques Chirac (France)
  • Alvaro Uribe (Colombia)
  • Manmohan Singh (India)
  • Silvio Berlusconi (Italy)
  • Ariel Sharon (Israel)
  • Kim Jong Il (N. Korea)
  • Vicente Fox (Mexico)
  • Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria)
  • Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Philippines)
  • Chandrika Kumaratunga (Sri Lanka)
  • Thaksin Chinnawat (Thailand)

4. BLAIR OPINIONS: Talk with a partner about these comments made about Tony Blair:

  1. He is the world’s best leader – a strong man.
  2. He should not have gone to war in Iraq.
  3. He is a great ambassador for Britain.
  4. I have great respect for him.
  5. Tony Blair is George W. Bush’s poodle, Bush’s puppet.
  6. Tony Blair has the blood of thousands of innocent Muslims on his hands.
  7. Don’t you mean Tony Bliar?
  8. I like his speeches.

 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Use your dictionary / computer to find word partners (collocates), other meanings, synonyms or more information on the words ‘political’ and ‘history’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

  1. Tony Blair has decided to write political history books.  T / F
  2. He is the first Labour leader to win three successive elections.  T / F
  3. His record-setting victory is not all good news for Mr. Blair.  T / F
  4. Mr. Blair’s party lost over 100 seats in the British parliament.  T / F
  5. British voters wanted Mr. Blair to go to war in Iraq.  T / F
  6. Britain’s economy is very strong.  T / F
  7. There are record numbers of people without jobs in Britain.  T / F
  8. Britain has a wonderful transportation system. T / F

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

a.

entered

one after another

b.

in a row

area

c.

victory

very

d.

mainly

shocking

e.

deeply

concentrate

f.

issue

gone into

g.

focus

largely

h.

terrible

win

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

a.

He has also entered British

move on

b.

win three elections

welfare

c.

record-setting

divisive issue

d.

This was mainly

unemployment and inflation

e.

a deeply

political history books

f.

people want to

in a row

g.

low levels of

because of his decision to go to war

h.

social

victory

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the correct spaces in the text.

Tony Blair makes political history

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has won the British __________. He has also entered British political history __________ by becoming the first Labour leader to win three elections in a __________. However, his record-setting victory is not all good news: Mr. Blair’s party lost over 100 seats in the British parliament. This was __________ because of his decision to go to war in Iraq. It was very unpopular in Britain and many Britons voted for other parties. Mr. Blair said: “I know that Iraq has been a __________ divisive issue in this country.…But I also know and believe that after this election people want to move on.” Mr. Blair’s election success is largely because of the __________ British economy. Britain has enjoyed economic growth for the last 13 years and has very low __________ of unemployment and inflation. In his next term of office, he has promised to focus on health, education, social __________ and the terrible British transportation system.

 

deeply
books
levels
election
welfare
mainly
strong
row

2. TRUE/FALSE: Check your answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Check your answers to this exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH: Check your answers to this exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Make notes for questions you would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP FILL: Check your answers to this exercise.

2. QUESTIONS: Ask the discussion questions you thought of above to your partner / group / class. Pool the questions for everyone to share.

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

4. STUDENT TONY BLAIR SURVEY: In pairs/groups write down questions about Tony Blair. Ask other classmates your questions and report back to your original partner/ group to compare your findings.

5. ‘POLITICAL’ / ‘HISTORY’: Make questions based on your findings from pre-reading activity #1. Ask your partner / group your questions.

6. DISCUSSION:

  1. Did you like this article?
  2. What did you think after reading the article?
  3. Did you learn anything new?
  4. Are you interested in elections and politics?
  5. Would you like to be a politician?
  6. What do you think of politicians?
  7. Do you like Tony Blair?
  8. What image does he have in your country?
  9. What do you think of British politics?
  10. What image does British politics have in your country?
  11. Is Tony Blair better than the leader of your country?
  12. Is Tony Blair an important world leader?
  13. What do you think of the Bush-Blair “special relationship”?
  14. What question would you like to ask Tony Blair?
  15. What do you think his answer to that question would be?
  16. What question would you like to ask the leader of your own country?
  17. Why would you like to ask that question?
  18. What are the important issues in your country?
  19. What would you do about those issues?
  20. Did you like this discussion?
  21. Teacher / Student additional questions.

7. MY COUNTRY: In pairs, be the leaders of your country (or an imaginary country). (1) Put the key issues in the table below in order of importance. (2) Decide what to do with these key issues by writing your ideas in the right column. (3) When you have finished, show your ideas to other classmates to see what they think. Have a class vote to see who would make the best leader.

KEY ISSUE:

MY / OUR IDEAS

Health

 

Transportation

 

Sport

 

Immigration

 

Terrorism

 

Unemployment

 

Environment

 

Defense

 

Inflation

 

Social welfare

 

 

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY 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 Tony Blair. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. MY LEADER: Write a profile of the leader of your country. Present it to your classmates in your next lesson.

4. LETTER TO TONY: Write a letter to Tony Blair congratulating him on his election victory. Tell him what he needs to do in the world in the next few years. Show your classmates your letter in your next lesson.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

  1. Tony Blair has decided to write political history books.  F
  2. He is the first Labour leader to win three successive elections.  T
  3. His record-setting victory is not all good news for Mr. Blair.  T
  4. Mr. Blair’s party lost over 100 seats in the British parliament.  T
  5. British voters wanted Mr. Blair to go to war in Iraq.  F
  6. Britain’s economy is very strong.  T
  7. There are record numbers of people without jobs in Britain.  F
  8. Britain has a wonderful transportation system. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

entered

gone into

b.

in a row

one after another

c.

victory

win

d.

mainly

largely

e.

deeply

very

f.

issue

area

g.

focus

concentrate

h.

terrible

shocking

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

He has also entered British

political history books

b.

win three elections

in a row

c.

record-setting

victory

d.

This was mainly

because of his decision to go to war

e.

a deeply

divisive issue

f.

people want to

move on

g.

low levels of

unemployment and inflation

h.

social

welfare

GAP FILL:

Tony Blair makes political history

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has won the British election. He has also entered British political history books by becoming the first Labour leader to win three elections in a row. However, his record-setting victory is not all good news: Mr. Blair’s party lost over 100 seats in the British parliament. This was mainly because of his decision to go to war in Iraq. It was very unpopular in Britain and many Britons voted for other parties. Mr. Blair said: “I know that Iraq has been a deeply divisive issue in this country.…But I also know and believe that after this election people want to move on.” Mr. Blair’s election success is largely because of the strong British economy. Britain has enjoyed economic growth for the last 13 years and has very low levels of unemployment and inflation. In his next term of office, he has promised to focus on health, education, social welfare and the terrible British transportation system.

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