www.Breaking News English.com
ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Tony Blair

Home | About | Privacy Policy | Copyright | Links | Podcast | Donate

Tony Blair makes political history


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

Listening (1:56 - 228.8 KB - 16kbps)

THE ARTICLE

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has rewritten the British political history books, as he became the first Labour (left wing) leader to win three consecutive elections. He joins Margaret Thatcher as the only British prime minister to achieve this feat in modern times. The record-setting victory is somewhat bittersweet for Mr. Blair: his party suffered heavily and his majority in the British parliament was slashed by 100 seats. He will have a much-reduced mandate next term. Mr. Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq proved a costly decision. He 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 success owes much to a vibrant British economy and its associated feel-good factor. Britain has enjoyed economic growth for the last 13 years, while other European economies have been sluggish. Mr. Blair can also boast record 40-year low levels of unemployment and inflation and a buoyant jobs market. It is now his job to maintain this momentum and push ahead with his new agenda of “stability and prosperity”. Voter concerns have focused on the perennial issues of health, education, social welfare and a dire transportation system. Politicians within his own ranks predict he may have a rough ride pushing through some controversial proposals related to terrorism and immigration.

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 / British democracy / Mr. Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq / economic growth / unemployment and inflation / health, education, social welfare / terrorism and immigration

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: How do you rate Tony Blair as a world leader? Compare him with some of the world leaders listed below, or others of your choosing:

  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe)

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

  1. He is the world’s best leader – a man of convictions.
  2. He should never have gone to war in Iraq.
  3. What a great ambassador for his country.
  4. I have great respect for him. He dares to stand his ground.
  5. Blair is Bush’s poodle, his lap dog – plain and simple.
  6. Tony Blair has the blood of thousands of innocent Muslims on his hands.
  7. A true beacon of freedom and democracy.
  8. Tony is honest to the core – that’s rare in politics.
  9. Don’t you mean Tony Bliar?
  10. I love watching him make 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 leader of his party ever to win three successive elections.  T / F
  3. His majority in the British parliament was slashed by 100 seats.  T / F
  4. British voters strongly rallied for Mr. Blair over Iraq.  T / F
  5. The British economy has been vibrant for over a decade.  T / F
  6. European economies have been sluggish.  T / F
  7. British voters are very happy with Britain’s transportation system.  T / F
  8. Politicians within his own ranks say he has a rough ride ahead. T / F

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

a.

consecutive

authority

b.

feat

recurrent

c.

somewhat

dynamic

d.

slashed

woeful

e.

mandate

slow

f.

vibrant

successive

g.

sluggish

reduced

h.

momentum

impetus

i.

perennial

accomplishment

j.

dire

reasonably

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

a.

Tony Blair has rewritten

this feat

b.

win three

issues

c.

to achieve

divisive issue

d.

proved a

jobs market

e.

a deeply

consecutive elections

f.

Mr. Blair’s success owes

much to a vibrant British economy

g.

European economies have been

ride

h.

buoyant

the British political history books

i.

perennial

sluggish

j.

he may have a rough

costly decision

 

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 __________ the British political history books, as he became the first Labour (left wing) leader to win three consecutive elections. He joins Margaret Thatcher as the only British prime minister to achieve this __________ in modern times. The record-setting victory is somewhat __________ for Mr. Blair: his party suffered heavily and his majority in the British parliament was __________ by 100 seats. He will have a much-reduced __________ next term. Mr. Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq proved a costly decision. He 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.”
 

 

bittersweet
deeply
feat
mandate
rewritten
slashed

Mr. Blair’s success __________ much to a vibrant British economy and its associated feel-good __________. Britain has enjoyed economic growth for the last 13 years, while other European economies have been __________. Mr. Blair can also boast record 40-year low levels of unemployment and inflation and a __________ jobs market. It is now his job to maintain this momentum and push ahead with his new agenda of “stability and prosperity”. Voter concerns have focused on the __________ issues of health, education, social welfare and a dire transportation system. Politicians within his own __________ predict he may have a rough ride pushing through some controversial proposals related to terrorism and immigration.

 

factor
sluggish
ranks
buoyant
perennial
owes

 

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 politics?
  5. Would you like to enter politics?
  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. How does Tony Blair compare against the leader of your country?
  12. Is Tony Blair a key player on the world’s stage?
  13. What’s your view on 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 most pressing political or economic issues in your country?
  19. What would you like seen done 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, which are dividing your country, by completing the right column of the table. (3) When you have finished, show your agenda to other classmates to see what they think. Have a class vote to see who would make the best politician.

KEY ISSUE

MY / OUR IDEAS

Health

 

Transportation

 

Sport

 

Immigration

 

Terrorism

 

Unemployment

 

Environment

 

Defense

 

Inflation

 

Pension system

 

 

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 historic third election victory. Tell him what he needs to do in the world in his next term of office. 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 leader of his party ever to win three successive elections.  T
  3. His majority in the British parliament was slashed by 100 seats.  T
  4. British voters strongly rallied for Mr. Blair over Iraq.  F
  5. The British economy has been vibrant for over a decade.  T
  6. European economies have been sluggish.  T
  7. British voters are very happy with Britain’s transportation system.  F
  8. Politicians within his own ranks say he has a rough ride ahead. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

consecutive

successive

b.

feat

accomplishment

c.

somewhat

reasonably

d.

slashed

reduced

e.

mandate

authority

f.

vibrant

dynamic

g.

sluggish

slow

h.

momentum

impetus

i.

perennial

recurrent

j.

dire

woeful

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

Tony Blair has rewritten

the British political history books

b.

win three

consecutive elections

c.

to achieve

this feat

d.

proved a

costly decision

e.

a deeply

divisive issue

f.

Mr. Blair’s success owes

much to a vibrant British economy

g.

European economies have been

sluggish

h.

buoyant

jobs market

i.

perennial

issues

j.

he may have a rough

ride

GAP FILL:

Tony Blair makes political history

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has rewritten the British political history books, as he became the first Labour (left wing) leader to win three consecutive elections. He joins Margaret Thatcher as the only British prime minister to achieve this feat in modern times. The record-setting victory is somewhat bittersweet for Mr. Blair: his party suffered heavily and his majority in the British parliament was slashed by 100 seats. He will have a much-reduced mandate next term. Mr. Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq proved a costly decision. He 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 success owes much to a vibrant British economy and its associated feel-good factor. Britain has enjoyed economic growth for the last 13 years, while other European economies have been sluggish. Mr. Blair can also boast record 40-year low levels of unemployment and inflation and a buoyant jobs market. It is now his job to maintain this momentum and push ahead with his new agenda of “stability and prosperity”. Voter concerns have focused on the perennial issues of health, education, social welfare and a dire transportation system. Politicians within his own ranks predict he may have a rough ride pushing through some controversial proposals related to terrorism and immigration.

Help Support This Web Site

Sean Banville's Book



Copyright © 2005 by Sean Banville