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My 1,000
Ideas
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Date: Nov 12, 2005
Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:36 - 189.3 KB - 16kbps)
 
1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

After a hard and closely fought election, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will soon become Africa’s first ever democratically elected female president. Ms. Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia’s former finance minister and studied economics at Harvard University. With 97 percent of the vote already counted, she has 59.4 percent of the votes. This is an unbeatable lead over her rival George Weah, the former world soccer player of the year. Liberia’s “Iron Lady” said: “Africa is ready for a female president.…Women have the education, the character, the [ability], and the [honesty] to lead the nation.”

Supporters of Mr. Weah are angry and are claiming the election was spoiled by fraud. There were violent clashes in front of polling stations and peacekeepers in riot gear fired tear gas to keep people calm. Mr. Weah has asked protestors to avoid using violence. More unrest may return Liberia to the civil war which recently killed a quarter of a million Liberians. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf said she was not worried about the protests or the possibility of civil war. She said she was eager to “start the process of renewal and rebuilding”. She also said she would make Africans proud of her performance.

WARM-UPS

1. I’M PRESIDENT: You are now president of your country (or of any other country). Walk around the class and talk to the other “presidents” about their jobs. What are their plans for the week? What are their biggest problems? What do they think of other presidents and world leaders?

2. WOMEN LEADERS: Are women or men better world leaders? Discuss this with your partner(s). Talk about the following female leaders:

  • Angela Merkel (Germany)
  • Helen Clark (New Zealand)
  • Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar)
  • Gloria Arroyo (Philippines)
  • Chandrika Kumaratunga (Sri Lanka)
  • Yuliya Tymoshenko (Ukraine)
  • Margaret Thatcher (U.K.)
  • Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan)
  • Indira Gandhi (India)
  • Golda Meir (Israel)

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

Elections / democracy / female leaders / Harvard / finance ministers / Liberia / George Weah / women / honesty / civil war / rebuilding / Africans / pride

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

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

5. AFRICAN LEADERS: Are African leaders different from other world leaders? What challenges do they face that other world leaders do not? Discuss this with your partner(s). Talk about the following African leaders:

  • Hosni Mubarak (Egypt)
  • Thabo Mbeki (South Africa)
  • Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe)
  • Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (Liberia)
  • Joseph Kabila (Congo)
  • Paul Kagame (Rwanda)
  • Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria)
  • Muammar al-Qaddafi (Libya)
  • King Mswati III (Swaziland)
  • Other

Write down one adjective that best describes each of the leaders. Explain to your partner(s) why you chose your adjectives. Decide on whose adjective for each leader is best.

6. HILLARY OR CONDI? Have a quick debate with your partner. Which woman would be best as the next U.S. President – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or New York senator Hillary Clinton? Students A choose Condi, Students B argue for Hillary.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

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

a.

Liberia had a hard and closely fought election.

T / F

b.

The Harvard-educated, ex-finance minister is set to become president.

T / F

c.

Her main election rival was a former world soccer player of the year.

T / F

d.

Liberia’s new leader is nicknamed the “Gold Lady”.

T / F

e.

Her opponent has said the election was a fair contest.

T / F

f.

Peacekeepers fired fear gas outside polling stations.

T / F

g.

A recent civil war in Liberia saw over a million people die.

T / F

h.

Liberia’s new leader wants to make Africa proud of her performance.

T / F

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

a.

fought

rule

b.

female

fights

c.

former

opponent

d.

rival

woman

e.

lead

furious

f.

angry

concerned

g.

clashes

contested

h.

calm

anxious

i.

worried

ex-

j.

eager

peaceful

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

a.

a hard and closely

finance minister

b.

Africa’s first ever democratically

tear gas to keep people calm

c.

Liberia’s former

the nation

d.

an unbeatable lead over

renewal and rebuilding

e.

lead

of her performance

f.

There were violent

fought election

g.

peacekeepers in riot gear fired

a quarter of a million Liberians

h.

the civil war which recently killed

her rival George Weah

i.

start the process of

elected female president

j.

make Africans proud

clashes

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

Africa gets first elected female president

After a hard and ________ fought election, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will ________ become Africa’s first ever democratically elected female president. Ms. Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia’s ________ finance minister and studied economics at Harvard University. With 97 percent of the vote already ________, she has 59.4 percent of the votes. This is an unbeatable ________ over her rival George Weah, the former world soccer player of the year. Liberia’s “Iron Lady” said: “Africa is ________ for a female president.…Women have the education, the ________, the [ability], and the [honesty] to lead the ________.”

 

 

ready
soon
counted
closely
lead
character
nation
former

Supporters of Mr. Weah are angry and are ________ the election was spoiled by fraud. There were ________ clashes in front of polling stations and peacekeepers in riot ________ fired tear gas to keep people calm. Mr. Weah has asked protestors to ________ using violence. More unrest may return Liberia to the ________ war which recently killed a quarter of a million Liberians. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf said she was not worried about the ________ or the possibility of civil war. She said she was ________ to “start the process of renewal and rebuilding”. She also said she would make Africans ________ of her performance.

 

 

civil
gear
proud
eager
claiming
avoid
violent
protests

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Africa gets first elected female president

After a hard and closely _______ election, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will soon become Africa’s first ever democratically _______ female president. Ms. Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia’s _______ finance minister and studied economics at Harvard University. With 97 percent of ____ _____ already counted, she has 59.4 percent of the votes. This is an unbeatable lead over her ______ George Weah, the _______ world soccer player of the year. Liberia’s “Iron Lady” said: “Africa is ready for a female president.…Women have the education, the __________, the [ability], and the [honesty] to lead the nation.”

Supporters of Mr. Weah are angry and are _________ the election was spoiled by fraud. There were violent clashes in front of _________ stations and peacekeepers in _____ _____ fired tear gas to keep people calm. Mr. Weah has asked protestors to avoid using violence. More ________ may return Liberia to the civil war which recently killed a quarter of a million Liberians. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf said she was not worried about the ________ or the possibility of civil war. She said she was eager to “start the process of renewal and rebuilding”. She also said she would make Africans ________ of her performance.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

  • 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 gap fill. 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 “FEMALE LEADER” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and other female world leaders.

  • 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:

  • closely
  • first
  • economics
  • counted
  • soccer
  • women
  • angry
  • tear
  • avoid
  • civil war
  • eager
  • Africans

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 do you know about Liberia?
  3. Have you been following news of the Liberian election?
  4. Do you think having a celebrity in an election makes it more interesting?
  5. What do you think of people who vote for soccer stars, beauty queens and bad actors?
  6. Do you think Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will be a successful leader?
  7. Do you think America’s next President will be female?
  8. Do you think it is important whether a country’s leader is male or female?
  9. What do you think are Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s main challenges?
  10. What are your main challenges?

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. What do you think of an African country electing a female leader for the first time?
  4. Do you think “Africa is ready for a female president”?
  5. Would you have voted for the soccer star or the economist?
  6. What do you think female leaders talk about when they meet at different world events?
  7. Would you prefer the leader of your country to be male or female?
  8. Which leaders can Africans be proud of?
  9. Are you proud of your country’s leader? (Why / Why not?)
  10. Did you like this discussion?

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

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

LEADER: There will be an election in your country soon. You believe you can win. In the column on the right, write down examples of how your experience, personality and ideas support the strong points in the column on the left. Politicians sometimes lie during election campaigns. You may also lie a little.

STRONG POINTS

ME
 

Leadership

 

Great ideas

 

Honesty

 

Energy

 

Strength

 

Experience

 

Ability

 

  • In pairs / groups, show each other what you wrote. Give feedback and advice to improve the strong points to make you all sound like better leaders.
  • Join new groups. Tell each other why you would make the best leader. Discuss what was said and vote for your group’s leader.
  • Walk around the classroom campaigning for your group’s leader.
  • In groups discuss the candidates you heard and decide who sounded best.
  • After you have finished, talk about lying politicians. What were the lies they told? Were these lies damaging?

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 Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. FEMALE LEADER: Make a poster about the female leader of a country (past or present). Show your posters to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to Liberia’s new leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Tell her what you think of her election victory. Give her advice for the challenges she faces. Show what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all write about similar things or give similar advice?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. T

c. T

d. F

e. F

f. F

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

fought

contested

b.

female

woman

c.

former

ex-

d.

rival

opponent

e.

lead

rule

f.

angry

furious

g.

clashes

fights

h.

calm

peaceful

i.

worried

concerned

j.

eager

anxious

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

a hard and closely

fought election

b.

Africa’s first ever democratically

elected female president

c.

Liberia’s former

finance minister

d.

an unbeatable lead over

her rival George Weah

e.

lead

the nation

f.

There were violent

clashes

g.

peacekeepers in riot gear fired

tear gas to keep people calm

h.

the civil war which recently killed

a quarter of a million Liberians

i.

start the process of

renewal and rebuilding

j.

make Africans proud

of her performance

GAP FILL:

Africa gets first elected female president

After a hard and closely fought election, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will soon become Africa’s first ever democratically elected female president. Ms. Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia’s former finance minister and studied economics at Harvard University. With 97 percent of the vote already counted, she has 59.4 percent of the votes. This is an unbeatable lead over her rival George Weah, the former world soccer player of the year. Liberia’s “Iron Lady” said: “Africa is ready for a female president.…Women have the education, the character, the [ability], and the [honesty] to lead the nation.”

Supporters of Mr. Weah are angry and are claiming the election was spoiled by fraud. There were violent clashes in front of polling stations and peacekeepers in riot gear fired tear gas to keep people calm. Mr. Weah has asked protestors to avoid using violence. More unrest may return Liberia to the civil war which recently killed a quarter of a million Liberians. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf said she was not worried about the protests or the possibility of civil war. She said she was eager to “start the process of renewal and rebuilding”. She also said she would make Africans proud of her performance.

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