In this conversation lesson, students watch the TED Talk English Mania. Students then talk about English as a global language. Do the warm-up, teach the vocabulary, play the video, and then have students do the conversation questions in small groups.
Put students into groups and ask them to guess the answers to the following questions:
1. What is the world’s largest English-speaking country?
2. How many people worldwide are trying to learn English?
Give students a few minutes and then meet as a group. Tell students that they will learn the answers to the questions in the video they are about to watch.
Vocabulary and TED Talk
Tell students they are going to watch a video about English as a global language. Before playing the video, teach some of the challenging vocabulary in the video.
to let (someone) down
Play the video. Tell students to listen for the answers to the two questions in the warm-up
Make sure students got the answers to the two warm-up questions. Answers, according to Jay Walker: 1) China 2) two billion people.
1. What are the pros and cons of having a universal language? Do you think the world needs a universal language? Why or why not? Could our global economy function without a universal language? Could translation be used instead of a global language? Tell your group your opinion.
2. Should English be the world’s language? Why or why not? Are there any other languages that you think would be better?
3. One criticism of having English as the world’s language is that talented people who do not speak English are excluded from certain jobs. What are some solutions to this problem? Think of at least three things that governments and corporations can do to make sure talented people aren’t excluded from certain jobs.
4. Do you think most of the world will speak English one day? If so, when do you think it will happen?
5. In the video, the speaker says English is becoming the world’s language not because the United States is pushing it but because the world is pulling it. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? What do you think is causing such a huge demand for English?
6. What do you think about the educational methods you saw in the video? What are the pros and cons of governments forcing all students to learn English? Do you think governments should make English learning mandatory? Why or why not?
Also see these business English conversation lessons.