Posted 24/6/11
In this activity, students hear the story of Guy Goma, a business studies graduate from the Republic of the Congo who went for a job interview at the BBC and ended up being interviewed live on air about a subject not of his choice.
  • Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
  • Learner type: Teens; Adults; Business
  • Time: 90 minutes
  • Activity: Videotelling
  • Topic: Work; Law; The media
  • Language: Job interviews; Legal disputes; Question forms
  • Materials: Video clip; Slideshow
Wrong Guy: Lesson plan pdf [downloaded 7906 times] Wrong Guy: Slideshow pdf [downloaded 5896 times]

Lesson plan outline

This is a videotelling activity (i.e. storytelling combined with video). In order to communicate the story of the ‘wrong guy’ to your students, you should:

  • Familiarise yourself with the story (See here and here and here and here for example.)
  • Make use of the Videotelling script in the PDF lesson plan above. It contains the main points of the story.
  • Make use of the images in the PDF slideshow above.
  • Adapt language according to your learners’ level.
  • Involve students and encourage interaction by asking questions whenever you can (See Videotelling script for suggested questions.)
  • Teach unknown words and phrases as you go along (See Videotelling script for suggested target language.)

Part one: Storytelling I (Background: trademark dispute)



Tell students that you want to tell them a story. Show the first image in the PDF slideshow. Use the Videotelling script in the PDF lesson plan to tell students about the trademark dispute between Apple computers and Apple records (the record label set up by the Beatles).

Part two: The cloud game (Introduction to the hero)

Introduce students to the protagonist of the story with the photograph in the PDF slideshow but don’t tell them anything about him at this stage. Play the cloud game and elicit questions from your students, the answers to which are all contained in the cloud (see below). Each time a students gets a question right, cross off the piece of information in the cloud.

Note that this image is contained in the PDF slideshow.
  • What is his name? Guy
  • Where is he from? The Republic of the Congo
  • Where does he live? London
  • When did he move to London? 2002
  • What is his first language? French
  • What is his level of English? Intermediate
  • What did he study? Business studies
  • What was he doing in London? Looking for a job

Part three: Student discussion (Job interviews)

Tell students the following:

The man’s name is Guy Goma. He went to London in 2002. He was looking for a job. He saw an advert for a position in the IT department at the BBC. He decided to apply for the job. He went for a job interview on the 8th May 2006. The next day he was a national celebrity.

Ask students to guess why he became an overnight celebrity. What happened in the job interview? After this, put students into pairs or small groups and ask them to speak about job interviews. You will have to select suitable questions such as:

  • How well do you usually perform in job interviews?
  • What do you remember about the interview you had for your current job?
  • Everyone can remember a terrifying job interview moment. What is yours?
  • Make a list of typical job interview questions. Can you think of 10?
  • They say that there is a secret to success in job interviews. Can you guess what it is? (Answer: Preparation)

Part four: Storytelling II (The main story)

Tell students the story of the wrong guy. Make use of the Videotelling script in the PDF lesson plan.

  • Guy arrived at the BBC and was told to wait in the main reception area.
  • So our hero is waiting in the reception area.
  • How do you think he feels?
  • A man with a clipboard approaches Guy and asks, “Are you Guy Kewney?” to which he replies, ” Yes.”
  • Who do you think the man with the clipboard is?
  • The man with the clipboard asks Guy to follow him.
  • He leads Guy down a corridor, through another reception area and into a special room.
  • At this stage things start to get strange.
  • What do you think happens next?
  • A woman starts to put makeup on Guy’s face.
  • Guy is wondering what is going on.
  • He is led into another special room and asked to sit on a stool.
  • The room is bright and busy.
  • Guy is equipped with a microphone.
  • He is thinking to himself, “This is a very strange way to do a job interview.”
  • He is introduced to the interviewer.
  • She is blond and she is wearing a dark suit.
  • Guy hears the producer – the man with the clipboard – shout, “OK – 20 seconds before we go live on air!”
  • Guy is wondering what that means.
  • What does that mean – to go live on air?
  • The producer starts to count down: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, …
  • Guy realises that he is the victim of a terrible misunderstanding. But it’s too late!
  • Guy finds himself live on air being interviewed about a subject of which he knows nothing about.
  • What do you think he is interviewed about?
  • He is interviewed about the verdict that gave the green light to the iTunes music store.
  • How would you react?
  • How do you think Guy reacts?
  • Guy goes live. At first we see panic in his face. Panic turns into fear and horror. Finally fear and horror turn into acceptance and resignation.
  • Guy bluffs his way through the interview like a champion and that is why he is our hero of the day!

Part five: Storytelling III (Explanation and aftermath)

Continue with the story:

  • Strangely, the producer (the man with the clipboard) had already seen a photograph of the real interviewee for the televised interview. He was a technology journalist called Guy Kewney.
  • The producer had gone to the wrong reception area and collected the wrong man.
  • The story came to be known as the Wrong Guy.
  • Guy Goma became an overnight celebrity.
  • He was invited onto talk shows.
  • His face appeared in newspapers and magazines.
  • There was even talk of turning his story into a Hollywood film.
  • Unfortunately, he didn’t get the job.

Comment

Sadly, Guy Kewney passed away in 2010. An obituary can be read here.  Guy was a well-respected technology writer and journalist and had been involved in the field since the seventies. It is difficult not to feel for him as you read his own account of the Wrong Guy story on his own blog.

Image credit

The drawing of Guy Goma’s three faces comes from artist and designer Danny Butcher. More of his work can be seen on his website: www.dannybutcher.com

Posted 24/6/11

13 Responses to The wrong guy

  1. Daniela Arghir says:

    Thank you again for the webinar on videotelling, love the info on Wikipedia now, need to find a way to ask my higher secondary school students – who have not experienced job interviews as of yet – the right (= most suitable) questions in Part three.
    Daniela.

  2. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank *you* Daniela
    You could look for different issues / questions to exploit. For example:
    Imagine you are living in London. What would be your dream company/organisation to work for? What would be your dream job? How would you get it?
    Jamie :-)

  3. Daniela Arghir says:

    Dear Jamie,
    Thank you for pointing me in this direction.
    I just read this: http://busyteacher.org/6367-can-we-talk-conducting-and-using-interviews-in.html. It is inspiring.
    Daniela.

  4. seburnt says:

    What a funny situation on which to base such a great, thorough lesson! Thanks for your hard work.

  5. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank you Tyson
    Yes – it’s a great story. And I know it happened 5 years ago but it’s timeless.
    Hope all is well
    Jamie :-)

  6. seburnt says:

    No worries about its age. I hadn’t heard of it over here!

  7. Hanna Zieba says:

    Hi Jamie :) I work with English Result Interm (OUP) and there is a whole lesson about Guy Goma so when I saw your ideas I was over the moon :) Thank you again. Hanna

  8. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Hanna
    It is one of the greatest media stories ever! Glad you like it.
    Let me know if you decide to use it as a storytelling. It would be interesting to hear how you get on.
    Jamie :-)

  9. Hannah says:

    Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for this (and all your great resources). I used it last week and my mini-group loved it. I wanted to find something ‘different’ for reported speech.

    We followed your plan and finally the students went on to write a short dialogue. One pair wrote down the dialogue that Guy had with his wife when he got home. The other group did the same (but with Guy Kewney telling a friend his version). We then turned these into a roleplay – they had a lot of fun.

    I was so pleased when the absentees turned up the next lesson. When they asked what they had missed, the students told the story. I was so happy because telling the stories made them cover the target grammar quite naturally. We then used their scripts on A3 sheets of paper to report back the dialogues, adding some more colourful reporting verbs.

    So thank you again! I do remember hearing about it at the time but would never have thought of making it into a lesson. (My students in Lithuania hadn’t heard of it though!)

  10. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Hannah
    Great variation about getting students to write an account from Guy’s point of view. And also a really good idea to get students to tell the story to the absentees. Thanks for sharing!
    Jamie :-)

  11. Victoria says:

    Hi Jamie, this lesson worked really well last night with my students. They loved the build up to the video. Students shared lots of interesting stories about interviews and they thought of many useful interview questions – one of my students is going for interviews, so this was really topical and helpful for him. Thanks so much, Victoria

  12. Jamie Keddie says:

    I am happy to hear this Victoria. It can be tough to make this activity work – you must have done a good job.
    Jamie :)