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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on a Japanese Business Tycoon

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Tycoon avoids prison over shares scam


 
    

Date: Oct 28, 2005
Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:38 - 192.6 KB - 16kbps)
 
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THE ARTICLE

A Japanese court has given a strangely light sentence to a business tycoon who was once the world’s richest man. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi was found guilty of insider trading and lying about his company’s share records. Judge Tsutomu Tochigi said: “The impact on society of crimes by such leading Japanese companies is very serious”. He then handed out a sentence that did not match the seriousness of the crime. He fined Mr. Tsutsumi just $43,000 and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, suspended for four years. It is unlikely Tsutsumi will serve any of that time.

Tsutsumi’s fall from grace has been swift. However, he does not prove the saying, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall,” judging from his light court sentencing. Tsutsumi is the former chairman of Kokudo Corporation, which controls holdings in a railway group, construction, hotels, resorts and a baseball team. He is one of Japan's most powerful businessmen. He also has close connections to many of Japan’s leading politicians. In September 2004, Tsutsumi sold shares from his shady dealings and lined his own pockets with $180,000,000. His court fine is chicken feed in comparison.

WARM-UPS

1. BUSINESS PERSON: Choose a person from the world of business. You are now that person. Walk around the class meeting the other “business people”. Introduce yourselves and chat about your lives, business and current projects. What do you like about the business world?

2. FAMOUS TYCOONS: Below is a list of famous tycoons. What do you know about them? Walk around the class and ask other students about them. After you have finished, sit down and share your findings. What interesting things did you find out?

  • Bill Gates (Microsoft)
  • Mohamed Al Fayed (Harrods)
  • Richard Branson (Virgin)
  • Roman Abramovich (Chelsea FC)
  • Anita Roddick (Body Shop)
  • Martha Stewart (lifestyle guru)
  • Hugh Hefner (Playboy)
  • Yoshiaki Tsutsumi (Industrialist)

3. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Japanese courts / court sentences / rich people / lying / shares / financial crimes / prison / company chairmen / railways / political connections / chickens

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

4. TYCOON: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “tycoon”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

5. SECRETS: What are the secrets to success? How do you become a business tycoon? In pairs / groups, talk about how important you think the following are. Rank them in order of most important to become a tycoon.

___ Coming from a rich family

___ Being in the right place at the right time

___ Elite university education

___ Entrepreneurial genius

___ Ideas

___ Being ruthless

___ Hard work
___ Ability to lie

___ Luck
___ Ambition

6. QUICK DEBATE: Students A think a business tycoon whose illegal actions gave him $180,000,000 should go to prison. Students B strongly believe business leaders should not go to prison for lying about the financial affairs of their companies. Change partners often.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

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

a.

A business tycoon paid a gang to help him escape from a prison.

T / F

b.

The world’s former richest man has been found guilty of fraud.

T / F

c.

The tycoon received a huge fine and long prison sentence.

T / F

d.

The tycoon will probably spend no time in prison.

T / F

e.

The tycoon proves that “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”.

T / F

f.

The tycoon was a famous baseball star.

T / F

g.

His close connections to many leading politicians helped him in court.

T / F

h.

He now wants to feed chickens.

T / F

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

a.

strangely

delayed

b.

light

stakes

c.

handed

do

d.

suspended

downfall

e.

serve

lenient

f.

fall from grace

quick

g.

swift

links

h.

holdings

unusually

i.

connections

peanuts

j.

chicken feed

gave

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

a.

A Japanese court has given a

Japan’s leading politicians

b.

a business tycoon who was once

match the seriousness of the crime

c.

found guilty of insider

the harder they fall

d.

a sentence that did not

the world’s richest man

e.

30 months in prison,

from grace

f.

fall

in a railway group

g.

the bigger they are,

strangely light sentence

h.

holdings

his own pockets

i.

close connections to many of

trading

j.

lined

suspended for four years


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

WHICH WORD? Strike through the incorrect choice in each of pair of italicized words.

Tycoon avoids prison over shares scam

A Japanese court has given a strangely / strongly light sentence to a business tycoon who was once the world’s richest man. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi was found / lost guilty of insider / outsider trading and lying about his company’s share records. Judge Tsutomu Tochigi said: “The impact on society of crimes by such leading / loading Japanese companies is very serious”. He then handed out a sentence that did not match / game the seriousness of the crime. He fined Mr. Tsutsumi just $43,000 and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, suspended for four years. It is unlikely Tsutsumi will service / serve any of that time.

Tsutsumi’s fall from grace / brace has been swift. However, he does not prove the saying, “the bigger they are, the harder / bigger they fall,” judging from his light / heavy court sentencing. Tsutsumi is the former chairman of Kokudo Corporation, which controls holdings / hands in a railway group, construction, hotels, resorts and a baseball team. He is one of Japan's most powerful businessmen. He also has close connections to many of Japan’s leading politicians. In September 2004, Tsutsumi sold shares from his shady dealings and lined / fined his own pockets with $180,000,000. His court fine is peanuts / chicken feed in comparison.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Tycoon avoids prison over shares scam

A Japanese court has given a _________ light sentence to a business tycoon who was once the world’s richest man. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi was ______ guilty of insider trading and ______ about his company’s share records. Judge Tsutomu Tochigi said: “The ______ on society of crimes by such leading Japanese companies is very serious”. He then handed out a sentence that did not match the seriousness of the crime. He ______ Mr. Tsutsumi just $43,000 and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, _________ for four years. It is unlikely Tsutsumi will ______ any of that time.

Tsutsumi’s fall from ______ has been swift. However, he does not ______ the saying, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall,” judging from his light court sentencing. Tsutsumi is the former chairman of Kokudo Corporation, which controls ________ in a railway group, construction, hotels, resorts and a baseball team. He is one of Japan's most powerful businessmen. He also has close ___________ to many of Japan’s leading politicians. In September 2004, Tsutsumi sold shares from his shady dealings and ______ his own pockets with $180,000,000. His court fine is chicken ______ in comparison.

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘fall’ and ‘grace’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. WHICH WORD? In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

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

5. STUDENT “FRAUD” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about business fraud and suitable punishments.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • strangely
  • found
  • impact
  • handed
  • fined
  • serve
  • grace
  • harder
  • holdings
  • close
  • lined
  • chicken feed

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. What are feelings towards the light sentence?
  3. What sentence would you have given Mr. Tsutsumi?
  4. Do you think rich and famous people always receive lighter sentences?
  5. Do you think rich and famous people should receive lighter sentences?
  6. Do you think the judge’s words matched his sentencing?
  7. How do you think Mr. Tsutsumi feels about the sentencing?
  8. What sentence would Mr. Tsutsumi get in your country?
  9. What famous fraud cases have taken place in your country?
  10. Do you prefer chicken or peanuts?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. How serious do you think insider trading and lying about company records are?
  4. What impact does fraud have on society?
  5. Do you think fraudsters are serious criminals?
  6. Do you think the $43,000 fine is chicken feed?
  7. What message might the light court sentence give to other business people who are thinking about doing something illegal?
  8. If an ordinary person committed a major fraud, do you think they would also receive such a light sentence?
  9. Do you agree with the saying, “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

FRAUD: You are part of a new committee to decide on sentencing rules for fraud. In pairs / groups, write how serious you think the fraud is in the middle column and your punishments in the right hand column.

FRAUD

SERIOUSNESS

PUNISHMENT
 

Corporate accounting scandals

 

 

Credit card fraud

 

 

False advertising

 

 

Identity theft

 

 

Forgery of documents or signatures

 

 

Phishing

 

 

Change partners and compare and discuss your ideas.

Decide together on ways of protecting against or reducing fraud.

Give a presentation on your points to the rest of the class. Vote on the best one.

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 more information on famous frauds. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. FRAUD: Make a poster describing one kind of fraud. Write down some actions that could reduce it. Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all write similar things?

4. LETTER: You are a prisoner serving a five-year prison sentence for a not-too-serious fraud. Write a letter to the judge in the Tsutsumi case and tell him what you think of the suspended sentence. Show what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. F

g. ?

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

strangely

unusually

b.

light

lenient

c.

handed

gave

d.

suspended

delayed

e.

serve

do

f.

fall from grace

downfall

g.

swift

quick

h.

holdings

stakes

i.

connections

links

j.

chicken feed

peanuts

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

A Japanese court has given a

strangely light sentence

b.

a business tycoon who was once

the world’s richest man

c.

found guilty of insider

trading

d.

a sentence that did not

match the seriousness of the crime

e.

30 months in prison,

suspended for four years

f.

fall

from grace

g.

the bigger they are,

the harder they fall

h.

holdings

in a railway group

i.

close connections to many of

Japan’s leading politicians

j.

lined

his own pockets

WHICH WORD?

Tycoon avoids prison over shares scam

A Japanese court has given a strangely / strongly light sentence to a business tycoon who was once the world’s richest man. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi was found / lost guilty of insider / outsider trading and lying about his company’s share records. Judge Tsutomu Tochigi said: “The impact on society of crimes by such leading / loading Japanese companies is very serious”. He then handed out a sentence that did not match / game the seriousness of the crime. He fined Mr. Tsutsumi just $43,000 and sentenced him to 30 months in prison, suspended for four years. It is unlikely Tsutsumi will service / serve any of that time.

Tsutsumi’s fall from grace / brace has been swift. However, he does not prove the saying, “the bigger they are, the harder / bigger they fall,” judging from his light / heavy court sentencing. Tsutsumi is the former chairman of Kokudo Corporation, which controls holdings / hands in a railway group, construction, hotels, resorts and a baseball team. He is one of Japan's most powerful businessmen. He also has close connections to many of Japan’s leading politicians. In September 2004, Tsutsumi sold shares from his shady dealings and lined / fined his own pockets with $180,000,000. His court fine is peanuts / chicken feed in comparison.

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Copyright © 2005 by Sean Banville