B2+ Lesson: Capitalism and the COVID-19 Pandemic

I've prepared this lesson for one of my students who is a doctor (GP) fresh out of uni doing her training in a remote village and wants to sit the IELTS exam in May.
Feel free to adapt/add/modify anything you like to suit your learners' needs if you decide to use it.

*you will find some guidelines in relation to feedback and interaction as well as the answers to the reading exercise in the notes section of the pptx. file below (slideshow).

Feel free to share! 😊

Materials for the lesson:



Continuous Professional Development - Free Resource Packs

Hi everyone!
Hope you've had a fantastic summer!

On Sunday 22 Sept, I'll be talking at the 'Start-of-the-Year' Event organised by TESOL Greece. You can find all about it by clicking here. Apart from my talk, there will also be some very interesting sessions to attend! 
I'll be more than happy to see you there on Sunday 22 Sept at 10am! 

We'll be talking about the new academic year and how we (novice teachers/experienced teachers/centre owners) can manage our own professional development so that we keep our teaching skills up to scratch and, in the case of centre owners, support and guide your teachers, keep them motivated and happy!

The resource packs below can help us do all of those things!

Resource pack 1 below is a set of files you can download and use for a variety of things ranging from peer-observation, quick lesson planning, post-lesson evaluation of your own lessons, etc to finding out what type of homework your students favour. 

Resource Pack 2 below is a set of files for senior teachers/centre managers/owners who wish to observe their teachers regularly to give them feedback and support, organise Teacher Development days to guide/support/train their teachers, etc.

Hope you have a lovely year everyone! 

Notre Dame in Flames - Lesson for B2+

This lesson is based on a YouTube video published by Russell Brand on his own YouTube channel. He is simply giving his thoughts on the Notre Dame disaster and how this reflects the 'fragility of the [current] situation' and human nature in general. 

The aims of the lesson are:

  1. to help learners practise their listening for specific information by answering comprehension questions and T/F statements. 
  2. to offer learners the opportunity to practise their speaking skills by expressing their own views on the Notre Dame disaster, by participating in a debate, etc.
  3. to introduce topic-related lexis, e.g. symbolic, narrative, confront, discomforted, etc.
  4. to raise learners' awareness of what constitutes a symbol of culture and the different factors that affect this decision. 

Level: B2+
Length: two 45-minute lessons (more or less 😊)
  1. learner handout
  2. cards with words
  3. cards with definitions
  4. Transcript 
  5. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrd9Q8COF5Y&t=1s 

Learner handout

Cards with words 1-9

Cards with definitions a-j


Hope you like it! 
Please, let me know in the comments what your students thought if you decide to use the materials!

Checking understanding much?

The worst way to check whether learners have understood something you have just presented or not is to ask: 
“Do you understand?”
The reason, of course, is that even if learners have understood and they answer ‘yes’ in unison, you do not get clear evidence of understanding. So, ‘yes’ might as well mean ‘no’ for all we know – and we do not want to wait for the autopsy!

So, here’s a way of designing a set of concept checking questions (CCQs) to get better evidence of understanding in the classroom.

Imagine you are presenting the 2nd conditional to a group of intermediate learners, i.e.
  • ‘If I got filthy rich, I’d quit my job.’
  • ‘If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.’


Step 1: Analyse the language.
Study the grammatical structure to find out the rules of meaning, form, etc. You could use grammar books for teachers/learners, coursebooks, online resources, etc.

So, following the scenario mentioned above, we study and find that:
    The 2nd conditional:
1.     Impossible / contrary to fact situations
2.     is about now or the future
3.     'if' clause: past tense
4.     main clause: would + base form
5.     I would = I’d
6.     we often use 'were' instead of 'was' in the ‘if’ clause

Step 2: Turn these rules into questions 
Do not forget to simplify the language in these questions, however, trying to avoid using terminology learners might not be familiar with. 

So, you'll come up with the following CCQs:

1.     Is it possible (for X) to happen? Is it true? NO
2.     Is it about now or the past? NOW

However, it’s quite easy to come up with CCQs that will not help you or the learners; in fact, they might end up confusing everyone – including the people observing your lesson.

So, let’s have a quick look at some poor CCQs and why they are not good enough.

If I got filthy rich, would I quit my job?

Don’t use the target language in the CCQ.

Do I use the base form, or the past participle of the verb ‘quit’ in the main clause?
Don’t use terminology.
I am currently well off?

Don’t use difficult language.

Why am I not rich now?

Don’t ask questions that do not check understanding of meaning/use, form, etc.

Why did I use the past simple in the ‘if’ clause?

Don’t ask questions that cannot be answered in one or two words.

Students, I’d like you to tell me what the ‘d’ stands for in the main clause

Don’t ask questions which are indirect and are worded in a complicated way.

Hope you find this useful! 😊