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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Caster Semenya - by Sean Banville

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August 26, 2009

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South Africans Support Caster Semenya

The new women’s 800 metres world champion has received an enthusiastic welcome in her native South Africa. Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya was greeted by thousands of cheering fans and well-wishers at Johannesburg airport. She hit the headlines last week after officials at the World Athletics Championships questioned her gender. She finished the race a massive 2.45 seconds ahead of the runner-up and defending champion. The BBC reports that athletics authorities tested Ms Semenya hours before the final. The results showed testosterone levels three times higher than those that are usual in females. Officials decided to test her because her personal best time improved by seven seconds in the month before the race.


South Africans are furious at the way the athletics body has treated Ms Semenya. President Jacob Zuma personally welcomed her at the airport. He publicly congratulated her and spoke of his “displeasure” at the International Amateur Athletics Federation for “publicly humiliating” her. Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie told a press conference: "We are here to tell the whole world how proud we are of our little girl." There is now a Facebook group called In Support of Caster Semenya and African Women. It started "to show support for the running sensation who has received unfair treatment". The president of Athletics South Africa said Caster’s gender was a non-issue, saying: “It's very simple: She's a girl.”


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. ATHLETICS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about athletics. Change partners often. Sit with your first 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.

 

800 metres / world champions / hit the headlines / gender / enthusiasm / runner-up / being furious / congratulations / displeasure / humiliation / pride / unfair treatment

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

3. PERSONAL BESTS: What are yours? Complete this table. Share what you wrote with your partner(s). Change partners and share again.

Bests

Why I (don’t) want to improve

My tips on how to improve

100-metres

 

 

Mails sent in one day

 

 

Time spent shopping

 

 

Showering

 

 

Leaving the house in the morning

 

 

Video games

 

 

4. GENDER: Students A strongly believe it is terrible that the IAAF questioned Caster Semenya’s gender; Students B strongly believe the IAAF should test anyone they want for anything they want.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. WORLD CHAMPIONS: Would you like to be one? Rate these and share your ratings with your partner: 10 = would love to be; 1 = zero interest. Change partners and share your ratings again.

  • soccer player
  • hot-dog eating
  • spelling
  • video game player
  • F1 driver
  • sitting in a sauna
  • chess
  • boxer

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


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

Caster Semenya is the new women’s 1,500-metre world champion.

T / F

b.

Many people went to the airport to welcome her back to S. Africa.

T / F

c.

Officials made tests on Caster shortly before she ran an athletics final.

T / F

d.

Her personal best time improved by ten seconds in one month.

T / F

e.

S. Africa’s president was at the airport to welcome to greet Caster.

T / F

f.

The president spoke of his displeasure at Caster’s actions.

T / F

g.

Nelson Mandela told a press conference he was proud of Caster.

T / F

h.

A S. African athletics official said there was no doubt about her sex.

T / F

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

1.

enthusiastic

a.

embarrassing

2

greeted

b.

doubted

3.

questioned

c.

angry

4.

massive

d.

passionate

5.

improved

e.

crowd-pleaser

6.

furious

f.

huge

7.

displeasure

g.

straightforward

8.

humiliating

h.

anger

9.

sensation

i.

welcomed

10.

simple

j.

got better

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

received an enthusiastic

a.

unfair treatment

2

greeted by thousands

b.

runner-up

3.

She hit the

c.

for the running sensation

4.

2.45 seconds ahead of the

d.

non-issue

5.

her personal best time improved

e.

headlines

6.

the way the athletics body has

f.

welcome

7.

He publicly

g.

by seven seconds

8.

show support

h.

congratulated her

9.

received

i.

of cheering fans

10.

Caster’s gender was a

j.

treated Ms Semenya

WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

The new women’s 800 metres world champion has ____________ an enthusiastic welcome in her ____________ South Africa. Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya was greeted by thousands of cheering fans and well-____________ at Johannesburg airport. She hit the headlines last week after officials at the World Athletics Championships questioned her ____________. She finished the race a massive 2.45 seconds ahead of the runner-up and ____________ champion. The BBC reports that athletics authorities tested Ms Semenya hours before the final. The ____________ showed testosterone levels three times higher than those that are ____________ in females. Officials decided to test her because her ____________ best time improved by seven seconds in the month before the race.

 

 

 

usual
wishers
defending
received
personal
native
gender
results

South Africans are furious at the ____________ the athletics body has treated Ms Semenya. President Jacob Zuma personally welcomed her at the airport. He ____________ congratulated her and spoke of his “displeasure” at the International Amateur Athletics Federation for “publicly humiliating” her. Nelson Mandela’s ex-____________ Winnie told a press conference: "We are here to tell the whole world how ____________ we are of our little girl." There is now a Facebook group called In Support of Caster Semenya and African Women. It started "to ____________ support for the running ____________ who has received unfair treatment". The president of Athletics South Africa said Caster’s gender was a non-____________, saying: “It's very ____________: She's a girl.”

 

 

sensation
proud
publicly
simple
way
issue
wife
show

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

The new women’s 800 metres world champion has received _______________________ in her native South Africa. Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya was greeted by _______________________ fans and well-wishers at Johannesburg airport. She hit the headlines last week after officials at the World Athletics Championships _______________________. She finished _______________________ 2.45 seconds ahead of the runner-up and defending champion. The BBC reports that athletics authorities tested Ms Semenya _______________________. The results showed testosterone levels three times higher than those that are usual in females. Officials decided to test her because her personal best _______________________ seven seconds in the month before the race.

South Africans are _______________________ the athletics body has treated Ms Semenya. President Jacob Zuma personally welcomed her at the airport. He _______________________ her and spoke of his “displeasure” at the International Amateur Athletics Federation for “_______________________” her. Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie told a press conference: "We are here to tell the whole world _______________________ our little girl." There is now a Facebook group called In Support of Caster Semenya and African Women. It started "to show support _______________________ who has received unfair treatment". The president of Athletics South Africa said Caster’s _______________________, saying: “It's very simple: She's a girl.”


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

non

issue

 

 

 

  • 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:

  • received
  • greeted
  • hit
  • massive
  • hours
  • usual
  • furious
  • personally
  • ex-
  • proud
  • support
  • non-

STUDENT CASTER SEMENYA SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about Caster Semenya 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.

CASTER SEMENYA 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 ‘gender’?

c)

How do you think it feels to be a world champion?

d)

What do you know about Caster Semenya?

e)

Would you ever go to an airport to greet someone famous?

f)

Do you think Caster’s 2.45-secong winning margin is suspicious?

g)

Do you think it was cruel of the IAAF to test Caster and question her gender?

h)

Do you think Caster should sue the IAAF?

i)

What advice would you give to Caster?

j)

Do you think other athletes should speak more in support of Caster Semenya?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Would you be furious if people questioned the gender of your national hero/heroine?

c)

What effect do you think this public humiliation might have on Caster?

d)

Was it right for South Africa’s president to speak up for Caster?

e)

Which of your country’s public figures are you most proud?

f)

Would you like to visit the Caster Semenya Facebook site?

g)

Do you think the question of Caster Semenya’s gender will now follow her throughout her career?

h)

What should the IAAF do if it decides Caster is indeed a woman?

i)

South African’s say Caster’s treatment is racist. Do you agree?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Caster Semenya?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

The new women’s 800 metres (1) ____ champion has received an enthusiastic welcome in her native South Africa. Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya was greeted (2) ____ thousands of cheering fans and well-(3) ____ at Johannesburg airport. She hit the headlines last week after officials at the World Athletics Championships (4) ____ her gender. She finished the race a massive 2.45 seconds ahead of the runner-up and defending champion. The BBC reports that athletics authorities tested Ms Semenya hours (5) ____ the final. The results showed testosterone levels three times higher than those that are usual in females. Officials decided to test her because her personal (6) ____ time improved by seven seconds in the month before the race.

South Africans are (7) ____ at the way the athletics body has treated Ms Semenya. President Jacob Zuma personally welcomed her at the airport. He publicly congratulated her and (8) ____ of his “displeasure” at the International Amateur Athletics Federation for “publicly humiliating” her. Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie told a press conference: "We are here to tell the whole world how (9) ____ we are of our little girl." There is now a Facebook group called In Support of Caster Semenya and African Women. It started "to (10) ____ support for the running sensation who has received unfair treatment". The president of Athletics South Africa said Caster’s gender was a (11) ____ -issue, saying: “It's very (12) ____: She's a girl.”

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

1.

(a)

world

(b)

world’s

(c)

worldwide

(d)

worldly

2.

(a)

at

(b)

by

(c)

for

(d)

to

3.

(a)

wishes

(b)

wishing

(c)

wishers

(d)

wished

4.

(a)

question

(b)

questions

(c)

questioning

(d)

questioned

5.

(a)

earlier

(b)

pre

(c)

prior

(d)

before

6.

(a)

beast

(b)

boast

(c)

best

(d)

bust

7.

(a)

furious

(b)

fury

(c)

furor

(d)

furiously

8.

(a)

speak

(b)

spoke

(c)

spoken

(d)

speaking

9.

(a)

pride

(b)

prides

(c)

proud

(d)

proudly

10.

(a)

show

(b)

do

(c)

be

(d)

take

11.

(a)

none

(b)

not

(c)

no

(d)

non

12.

(a)

simply

(b)

simple

(c)

simpler

(d)

simpleton

WRITING

Write about Caster Semenya 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 Caster Semenya. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. WORLD CHAMPIONS: Make a poster about different world champions. Explain why you chose to put them on your poster. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. GENDER: Write a magazine article about Caster Semenya. Include imaginary interviews with her and an IAAF official.

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 Caster Semenya. Ask her three questions about running. Give her three pieces of advice about what to do from now. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

T

c.

T

d.

F

e.

T

f.

F

g.

F

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

enthusiastic

a.

passionate

2

greeted

b.

welcomed

3.

questioned

c.

doubted

4.

massive

d.

huge

5.

improved

e.

got better

6.

furious

f.

angry

7.

displeasure

g.

anger

8.

humiliating

h.

embarrassing

9.

sensation

i.

crowd-pleaser

10.

simple

j.

straightforward

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

received an enthusiastic

a.

welcome

2

greeted by thousands

b.

of cheering fans

3.

She hit the

c.

headlines

4.

2.45 seconds ahead of the

d.

runner-up

5.

her personal best time improved

e.

by seven seconds

6.

the way the athletics body has

f.

treated Ms Semenya

7.

He publicly

g.

congratulated her

8.

show support

h.

for the running sensation

9.

received

i.

unfair treatment

10.

Caster’s gender was a

j.

non-issue

GAP FILL:

South Africans support Caster Semenya

The new women’s 800 metres world champion has received an enthusiastic welcome in her native South Africa. Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya was greeted by thousands of cheering fans and well-wishers at Johannesburg airport. She hit the headlines last week after officials at the World Athletics Championships questioned her gender. She finished the race a massive 2.45 seconds ahead of the runner-up and defending champion. The BBC reports that athletics authorities tested Ms Semenya hours before the final. The results showed testosterone levels three times higher than those that are usual in females. Officials decided to test her because her personal best time improved by seven seconds in the month before the race.

South Africans are furious at the way the athletics body has treated Ms Semenya. President Jacob Zuma personally welcomed her at the airport. He publicly congratulated her and spoke of his “displeasure” at the International Amateur Athletics Federation for “publicly humiliating” her. Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie told a press conference: "We are here to tell the whole world how proud we are of our little girl." There is now a Facebook group called In Support of Caster Semenya and African Women. It started "to show support for the running sensation who has received unfair treatment". The president of Athletics South Africa said Caster’s gender was a non-issue, saying: “It's very simple: She's a girl.”

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - b

3 - c

4 - d

5 - d

6 - c

7 - a

8 - b

9 - c

10 - a

11 - d

12 - b

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