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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Bad Bosses and Heart Problems

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Date: November 26, 2008
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THE ARTICLE

Bad bosses can cause heart attacks

Having a bad boss could be bad for your heart. This is the conclusion of a Swedish study on management styles and health. The researchers concluded that poor managers can increase their employee's risk of developing heart disease. The Stockholm University study analyzed data on the health of 3,000 male workers. They compared the data with the results from questionnaires about senior managers. The questions asked workers if they thought their boss was considerate, communicated well and offered positive feedback. Other questions looked at how much work bosses gave to workers and how well they outlined their goals. The research team found that workers who respected their bosses were healthier and had fewer heart problems.


 
 

The report is published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It suggests that companies should re-train bosses to improve worker health. A healthier workforce will improve the overall health of the company. Investing in providing leadership skills to senior managers could be a good long-term investment. The researchers said a more supportive and understanding boss would reduce the chances of workers developing high blood pressure and stress-related illnesses. Magnus Larsson, an engineer for a large IT company, agreed with the report’s findings. He believes his heart attack last year was because of his boss: “The guy was a monster. Working for him was a daily nightmare for eight years,” Larsson said.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. BOSSES: Walk around the class and talk to other students about bosses. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your partner(s) and share your findings.

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

 

bad bosses / your heart / management styles / managers / goals / positive feedback / reports / worker health / leadership skills / being understanding / daily nightmares

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. STRESS: Do you think the workplace is a stressful place? Complete the table below with your partner(s). Share what you wrote with other students.

Stress

Most stressful thing

How to reduce this stress

Boss

 

 

Colleagues

 

 

Customers / Clients

 

 

Overtime

 

 

Deadlines

 

 

Job security

 

 

4. LEADERSHIP: Students A strongly believe that good leaders are born and not made – you cannot be taught to be a leader; Students B strongly believe that anyone can become a good leader. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. I’M THE BOSS: Rate these skills about your leadership (10 = outstanding, 1 = very poor). Talk about your ratings with other students. Who is the best leader in the class?

    _____  Making decisions

    _____  Giving your staff work to do

    _____  Disciplining workers

    _____  Project management

    _____  Motivating staff

    _____  Meeting deadlines

6. MANAGER: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘manager’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

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 bad boss can increase your risk of having a heart attack.

T / F

b.

Managers who don’t have a lot of money develop heart disease.

T / F

c.

Interviewers questioned 3,000 men and women for their research.

T / F

d.

Workers who respected their bosses had a few heart problems.

T / F

e.

A report says that training managers would make staff healthier.

T / F

f.

The report says training bosses is a good investment in the long run.

T / F

g.

The report says bosses are good at understanding blood pressure.

T / F

h.

An IT worker had a bad time every day and worked for a monster.

T / F

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

1.

bad

a.

chance

2

poor

b.

thoughtful

3.

risk

c.

conclusions

4.

considerate

d.

advance

5.

outlined

e.

ogre

6.

improve

f.

no good

7.

investment

g.

cut

8.

reduce

h.

summarized

9.

findings

i.

bad

10.

monster

j.

outlay

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

1.

Having a bad boss

a.

of 3,000 male workers

2

increase their employee's risk of

b.

related illnesses

3.

data on the health

c.

improve worker health

4.

communicated well and offered

d.

term investment

5.

who respected their bosses were

e.

developing heart disease

6.

companies should re-train bosses to

f.

understanding boss

7.

a good long-

g.

could be bad for your heart

8.

a more supportive and

h.

nightmare

9.

high blood pressure and stress-

i.

positive feedback

10.

Working for him was a daily

j.

healthier

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Having a bad boss could be bad for your heart. This is the __________ of a Swedish study on management styles and health. The researchers concluded that poor managers can __________ their employee's risk of developing heart disease. The Stockholm University study analyzed __________ on the health of 3,000 male workers. They compared the data with the results from questionnaires about __________ managers. The questions asked workers if they thought their boss was __________, communicated well and offered positive feedback. Other questions __________ at how much work bosses gave to workers and how well they outlined their __________. The research team found that workers who respected their bosses were healthier and had __________ heart problems.

 

senior
goals
conclusion
fewer
data
looked
increase
considerate

The report is __________ in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It suggests that companies should re-train bosses to __________ worker health. A healthier workforce will improve the overall health of the company. Investing in __________ leadership skills to senior managers could be a good long-term investment. The researchers said a more supportive and understanding boss would reduce the __________ of workers developing high blood __________ and stress-related illnesses. Magnus Larsson, an engineer for a large IT company, __________ with the report’s findings. He believes his heart __________ last year was because of his boss: “The guy was a monster. Working for him was a daily __________ for eight years,” Larsson said.

 

pressure
providing
attack
published
nightmare
chances
agreed
improve

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

Having a bad boss could be bad for your heart. This is _________________ a Swedish study on management styles and health. The researchers concluded that poor managers _________________ employee's risk of developing heart disease. The Stockholm University study analyzed data on the health of 3,000 male workers. They compared _________________ results from questionnaires about senior managers. The questions asked workers _________________ their boss was considerate, communicated well and offered positive feedback. Other questions looked at how much work bosses gave to workers and how well they _________________. The research team found that workers who respected their bosses were healthier _________________ heart problems. 

The report _________________ the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It suggests that companies ____________________ to improve worker health. A healthier workforce will improve the overall health of the company. Investing in providing leadership skills to senior managers could _________________ -term investment. The researchers said a more supportive and understanding boss would _________________ of workers developing high blood pressure and stress-related illnesses. Magnus Larsson, an engineer for a large IT company, _________________ report’s findings. He believes his heart attack last year was because of his boss: “The guy was a monster. Working for him was a _________________ for eight years,” Larsson said.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

heart

disease

 

 

 

  • 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. GAP FILL: 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. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • conclusion
  • poor
  • 3,000
  • positive
  • outlined
  • fewer
  • published
  • overall
  • long-term
  • blood
  • agreed
  • daily

STUDENT BOSS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about bosses in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

Q.2.

Q.3.

Q.4.

Q.5.

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

BOSS DISCUSSION

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

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘boss’?

c)

Do you think you would be a good boss?

d)

What makes a good boss a good boss?

e)

Are you surprised that bosses can give their staff heart problems?

f)

Why is it important to be considerate and give positive feedback?

g)

What other things in the workplace are bad for your heart?

h)

Have you had good or bad bosses?

i)

Can anyone be a good boss?

j)

Would you like to be a boss (why)?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Would you like to read the report mentioned in the article?

c)

What would managers learn in their training to be a good boss?

d)

What should companies do to look after the health of their staff?

e)

Do you know of any companies that treat their staff really well?

f)

Do you think workers should be able to vote on whether their boss continues to be their boss?

g)

Do you think companies should spend a lot of time and money on training managers?

h)

Do you think workers should be able to sue companies if bosses give them heart problems?

i)

What would you do if your boss was a monster who made your working life a daily nightmare?

j)

What questions would you like to ask the study’s lead researcher?

LANGUAGE

Having a bad boss could be bad for your heart. This is the (1) ____ of a Swedish study on management styles and health. The researchers concluded that poor managers can (2) ____ their employee's risk of developing heart disease. The Stockholm University study analyzed data on the health of 3,000 male workers. They (3) ____ the data with the results from questionnaires about senior managers. The questions asked workers if they (4) ____ their boss was considerate, communicated well and offered positive feedback. Other questions looked (5) ____ how much work bosses gave to workers and how well they (6) ____ their goals. The research team found that workers who respected their bosses were healthier and had fewer heart problems.

The report is published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It suggests that companies should re-train bosses (7) ____ improve worker health. A healthier workforce will improve the (8) ____ health of the company. Investing in providing leadership skills to senior managers could be a good long-(9) ____ investment. The researchers said a more supportive and understanding boss would reduce the chances of workers developing high blood (10) ____ and stress-related illnesses. Magnus Larsson, an engineer for a large IT company, agreed with the report’s findings. He (11) ____ his heart attack last year was because of his boss: “The guy was a monster. Working for him was a daily (12) ____ for eight years,” Larsson said.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

concludes

(b)

conclusive

(c)

conclude

(d)

conclusion

2.

(a)

increasing

(b)

increased

(c)

increase

(d)

increases

3.

(a)

comparative

(b)

compared

(c)

comparison

(d)

compares

4.

(a)

thought

(b)

thinking

(c)

thoughts

(d)

thoughtful

5.

(a)

in

(b)

on

(c)

at

(d)

of

6.

(a)

in line

(b)

lineout

(c)

outlining

(d)

outlined

7.

(a)

for

(b)

to

(c)

from

(d)

with

8.

(a)

overall

(b)

overalls

(c)

over all

(d)

all over

9.

(a)

semesters

(b)

term

(c)

semester

(d)

terms

10.

(a)

pressuring

(b)

pressured

(c)

pressure

(d)

pressing

11.

(a)

believes

(b)

belief

(c)

believer

(d)

believing

12.

(a)

nightly

(b)

nighttime

(c)

nights

(d)

nightmare

WRITING: 

Write about being a boss for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

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 out more about leadership and how to be a good boss. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. LEADERSHIP: Make a poster outlining why you are a good leader. Describe your most important leadership skills. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. PRESSURE: Write a magazine article about a worker who developed very high blood pressure because of his/her boss. Include imaginary interviews with the worker and the boss.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to a bad boss. Ask him/her three questions about his/her leadership style. Give him/her your three ideas on what to do to be a better manager. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

6. DIARY / JOURNAL: Write a diary entry about the different decisions you had to make in one day. Focus on those that affected other people. Were any of these made as a leader? Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. F

c. F

d. F

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

bad

a.

no good

2

poor

b.

bad

3.

risk

c.

chance

4.

considerate

d.

thoughtful

5.

outlined

e.

summarized

6.

improve

f.

advance

7.

investment

g.

outlay

8.

reduce

h.

cut

9.

findings

i.

conclusions

10.

monster

j.

ogre

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Having a bad boss

a.

could be bad for your heart

2

increase their employee's risk of

b.

developing heart disease

3.

data on the health

c.

of 3,000 male workers

4.

communicated well and offered

d.

positive feedback

5.

who respected their bosses were

e.

healthier

6.

companies should re-train bosses to

f.

improve worker health

7.

a good long-

g.

term investment

8.

a more supportive and

h.

understanding boss

9.

high blood pressure and stress-

i.

related illnesses

10.

Working for him was a daily

j.

nightmare

GAP FILL:

Bad bosses can cause heart attacks

Having a bad boss could be bad for your heart. This is the conclusion of a Swedish study on management styles and health. The researchers concluded that poor managers can increase their employee's risk of developing heart disease. The Stockholm University study analyzed data on the health of 3,000 male workers. They compared the data with the results from questionnaires about senior managers. The questions asked workers if they thought their boss was considerate, communicated well and offered positive feedback. Other questions looked at how much work bosses gave to workers and how well they outlined their goals. The research team found that workers who respected their bosses were healthier and had fewer heart problems.

The report is published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. It suggests that companies should re-train bosses to improve worker health. A healthier workforce will improve the overall health of the company. Investing in providing leadership skills to senior managers could be a good long-term investment. The researchers said a more supportive and understanding boss would reduce the chances of workers developing high blood pressure and stress-related illnesses. Magnus Larsson, an engineer for a large IT company, agreed with the report’s findings. He believes his heart attack last year was because of his boss: “The guy was a monster. Working for him was a daily nightmare for eight years,” Larsson said.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - c

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 -c

11 - a

12 - d

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