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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Toyota Prius - by Sean Banville

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January 10, 2010

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Toyota Recalls More Cars Over Safety Fears

Toyota is recalling 436,000 of its hybrid Prius cars because of safety fears. The latest problem to hit the world’s largest auto maker is faulty brakes. This is the second major recall of the past six months for the car giant. In September 2009, it recalled 3.8 million Lexus model cars because of accelerator problems. The Prius is the world's most popular hybrid model. It is extremely popular with celebrities who want to show how green they are. Peter De Lorenzo, an expert on Toyota, told the BBC how painful the recall would be: "The Prius is their shining example of their vision of what we should all be driving. It is everything the new Toyota represents, so for them to have to recall hundreds of thousands of them is a tremendous blow to their image."


Toyota president Akio Toyoda acknowledged the recall was bad news for his company. He said Toyota would do everything in its power to regain the confidence of its customers. He wrote in the Washington Post that he was "deeply disappointed" his cars had not met the high standards expected by customers. "We have decided to recall as we regard safety for our customers as our foremost priority," he said. Mr. Toyoda took his full share of the blame for his company’s troubles, stating: "As the president of Toyota, I take personal responsibility. That is why I am personally leading the effort to restore trust in our word and in our products." The recalls will cost Toyota billions of dollars in repair costs and lost sales.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. CARS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about cars. 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.

 

Toyota / safety fears / auto makers / accelerators / hybrid cars / painful / tremendous / bad news / regain confidence / disappointed / high standards / blame / lost sales

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

3. SAFETY: What safety issues are there with the following? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

 

Biggest safety concern?

A worry for you?

Cars

 

 

Computers

 

 

World leaders

 

 

Strangers

 

 

Food

 

 

Viruses

 

 

4. SAFE DRIVING: Students A strongly believe driving will be accident free in the future; Students B strongly believe the opposite.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. TOP MODELS: Which of these companies have the best model cars? Rank them and share your rankings with your partner(s).

  • Toyota
  • Ford
  • Peugeot
  • Chevrolet
  • Tata
  • Fiat
  • Saab
  • BMW

6. HYBRID: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘hybrid’. 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.

Toyota is recalling another 4 million cars with safety problems.

T / F

b.

Toyota is the world’s second biggest car maker, after General Motors.

T / F

c.

Famous people buy Toyota’s hybrid car to show they are green.

T / F

d.

Someone who knows a lot about Toyota said the recall is a small thing.

T / F

e.

The president of Toyota is called Mr Toyoda.

T / F

f.

Toyota’s boss was sorry the quality of his cars had let customers down.

T / F

g.

The boss is taking charge of work to give Toyota a good name again.

T / F

h.

The recalls will cost Toyota around one trillion dollars.

T / F

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

1.

hybrid

a.

specialist

2

faulty

b.

look upon

3.

extremely

c.

setback

4.

expert

d.

get back

5.

blow

e.

defective

6.

acknowledged

f.

first

7.

regain

g.

mixture

8.

regard

h.

faith

9.

foremost

i.

very

10.

trust

j.

accepted

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

1.

Toyota is recalling 436,000

a.

news for his company

2

the second major recall of

b.

our word

3.

celebrities who want to

c.

to their image

4.

their shining example

d.

of its customers

5.

a tremendous blow

e.

the past six months

6.

the recall was bad

f.

priority

7.

regain the confidence

g.

of their vision

8.

our foremost

h.

share of the blame

9.

Mr. Toyoda took his full

i.

show how green they are

10.

restore trust in

j.

of its hybrid Prius cars

 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

Toyota is recalling 436,000 of its ____________ Prius cars because of safety fears. The latest problem to ____________ the world’s largest auto maker is faulty brakes. This is the second ____________ recall of the past six months for the car ____________. In September 2009, it recalled 3.8 million Lexus model cars because of accelerator problems. The Prius is the world's most popular hybrid model. It is extremely popular with celebrities who want to show how ____________ they are. Peter De Lorenzo, an ____________ on Toyota, told the BBC how painful the recall would be: "The Prius is their ____________ example of their vision of what we should all be driving. It is everything the new Toyota represents, so for them to have to recall hundreds of thousands of them is a tremendous ____________ to their image."

 

 

 

green
blow
hit
expert
hybrid
shining
major
giant

Toyota president Akio Toyoda acknowledged the recall was bad ____________ for his company. He said Toyota would do everything in its power to ____________ the confidence of its customers. He wrote in the Washington Post that he was "deeply disappointed" his cars had not ____________ the high standards expected by customers. "We have decided to recall as we ____________ safety for our customers as our foremost priority," he said. Mr. Toyoda took his full ____________ of the blame for his company’s troubles, stating: "As the president of Toyota, I take ____________ responsibility. That is why I am personally leading the effort to restore ____________ in our word and in our products." The recalls will cost Toyota billions of dollars in ____________ costs and lost sales.

 

 

met
personal
regain
repair
share
news
trust
regard

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Toyota is recalling 436,000 of its hybrid Prius cars ____________________. The latest problem to hit the world’s largest auto maker is faulty brakes. This is the ____________________ of the past six months for the car giant. In September 2009, it recalled 3.8 million Lexus model cars because of accelerator problems. The Prius is the world's most popular hybrid model. It ____________________ with celebrities who want to show how green they are. Peter De Lorenzo, an expert on Toyota, told the BBC ____________________ would be: "The Prius is their shining example of their vision of what we ____________________. It is everything the new Toyota represents, so for them to have to recall hundreds of thousands of them is a ____________________ their image."

Toyota president Akio Toyoda acknowledged the ____________________ for his company. He said Toyota would do everything in its power to regain ____________________ customers. He wrote in the Washington Post that he was "deeply disappointed" his cars had not ____________________ expected by customers. "We have decided to recall as we regard safety for our customers as our foremost priority," he said. Mr. Toyoda took his full ____________________ his company’s troubles, stating: "As the president of Toyota, I take personal responsibility. That is why I am personally leading the ____________________ our word and in our products." The recalls will cost Toyota billions of dollars ____________________ sales.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

safety

fear

 

 

 

  • 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:

  • hit
  • past
  • extremely
  • expert
  • vision
  • blow
  • bad
  • regain
  • deeply
  • priority
  • effort
  • repair

STUDENT CARS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about cars 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.

CARS 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 ‘brakes’?

c)

What do you think of Toyota cars?

d)

What damage do you think this recall will cause Toyota?

e)

What do you think about hybrid cars?

f)

Can a car really be green?

g)

How do you think Toyota got to be the world’s biggest car company?

h)

Do you think Toyota is among the best car makers?

i)

Why are the Japanese so good at producing good quality cars?

j)

Will Toyota recover from this ‘tremendous blow’?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What’s your dream car and why?

c)

What can Toyota do to regain the confidence of its customers?

d)

Would you buy a Toyota?

e)

What companies do you expect very high standards from?

f)

What do you think of Akio Toyoda for accepting the blame for the recalls?

g)

What do you like and dislike about cars?

h)

What do you think Akio Toyoda is thinking?

i)

Do you think safety is the most important thing for car companies?

j)

What questions would you like to ask Toyota president Akio Toyoda?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Toyota is recalling 436,000 of its hybrid Prius cars because of safety fears. The latest problem to (1) ____ the world’s largest auto maker is faulty brakes. This is the second major recall of the past six months for the car (2) ____. In September 2009, it recalled 3.8 million Lexus (3) ____ cars because of accelerator problems. The Prius is the world's most popular hybrid model. It is extremely popular with celebrities who want to show how (4) ____ they are. Peter De Lorenzo, an expert on Toyota, told the BBC how painful the recall would be: "The Prius is their (5) ____ example of their vision of what we should all be driving. It is everything the new Toyota represents, so for them to have to recall hundreds of thousands of them is a tremendous (6) ____ to their image."

Toyota president Akio Toyoda acknowledged the recall was bad news for his company. He said Toyota would do everything (7) ____ its power to regain the confidence of its customers. He wrote in the Washington Post that he was "(8) ____ disappointed" his cars had not met the high standards expected by customers. "We have decided to recall as we (9) ____ safety for our customers as our foremost priority," he said. Mr. Toyoda took his (10) ____ share of the blame for his company’s troubles, stating: "As the president of Toyota, I take personal responsibility. That is why I am personally leading the effort to restore trust in our (11) ____ and in our products." The recalls will cost Toyota billions of dollars in repair costs and lost (12) ____.

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

1.

(a)

bit

(b)

wit

(c)

fit

(d)

hit

2.

(a)

giant

(b)

monster

(c)

ogre

(d)

Goliath

3.

(a)

modelled

(b)

models

(c)

model

(d)

modelling

4.

(a)

greenish

(b)

green

(c)

greens

(d)

greenest

5.

(a)

whining

(b)

shining

(c)

thinning

(d)

shinning

6.

(a)

puff

(b)

huff

(c)

blow

(d)

exhale

7.

(a)

in

(b)

on

(c)

inside

(d)

into

8.

(a)

depth

(b)

deepest

(c)

deeps

(d)

deeply

9.

(a)

rearguard

(b)

reared

(c)

regrade

(d)

regard

10.

(a)

fill

(b)

full

(c)

filling

(d)

fills

11.

(a)

word

(b)

sentence

(c)

letter

(d)

paragraph

12.

(a)

sell

(b)

hard sell

(c)

sales

(d)

sale

WRITING

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

3. HYBRIDS: Make a poster about hybrid cars. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. PRIUS: Write a magazine article about the Prius recall. Include imaginary interviews with Toyota’s president and an angry customer.

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 Toyota president Akio Toyoda. Ask him three questions about cars. Give him three ideas on what to do to restore public trust in Toyota. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

F

c.

T

d.

F

e.

T

f.

T

g.

T

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

hybrid

a.

mixture

2

faulty

b.

defective

3.

extremely

c.

very

4.

expert

d.

specialist

5.

blow

e.

setback

6.

acknowledged

f.

accepted

7.

regain

g.

get back

8.

regard

h.

look upon

9.

foremost

i.

first

10.

trust

j.

faith

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Toyota is recalling 436,000

a.

of its hybrid Prius cars

2

the second major recall of

b.

the past six months

3.

celebrities who want to

c.

show how green they are

4.

their shining example

d.

of their vision

5.

a tremendous blow

e.

to their image

6.

the recall was bad

f.

news for his company

7.

regain the confidence

g.

of its customers

8.

our foremost

h.

priority

9.

Mr. Toyoda took his full

i.

share of the blame

10.

restore trust in

j.

our word

GAP FILL:

Toyota recalls more cars over safety fears

Toyota is recalling 436,000 of its hybrid Prius cars because of safety fears. The latest problem to hit the world’s largest auto maker is faulty brakes. This is the second major recall of the past six months for the car giant. In September 2009, it recalled 3.8 million Lexus model cars because of accelerator problems. The Prius is the world's most popular hybrid model. It is extremely popular with celebrities who want to show how green they are. Peter De Lorenzo, an expert on Toyota, told the BBC how painful the recall would be: "The Prius is their shining example of their vision of what we should all be driving. It is everything the new Toyota represents, so for them to have to recall hundreds of thousands of them is a tremendous blow to their image."

Toyota president Akio Toyoda acknowledged the recall was bad news for his company. He said Toyota would do everything in its power to regain the confidence of its customers. He wrote in the Washington Post that he was "deeply disappointed" his cars had not met the high standards expected by customers. "We have decided to recall as we regard safety for our customers as our foremost priority," he said. Mr. Toyoda took his full share of the blame for his company’s troubles, stating: "As the president of Toyota, I take personal responsibility. That is why I am personally leading the effort to restore trust in our word and in our products." The recalls will cost Toyota billions of dollars in repair costs and lost sales.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - c

4 - b

5 - b

6 - c

7 - a

8 - d

9 -d

10 - b

11 - a

12 - c

 

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