Posted 13/2/12
A woman stands in the middle of a court. She can’t believe what is happening. She has her hand over her mouth. She is speechless. What is going on? In this activity, students collaborate to construct a narrative before watching the video and discussing the issues.
  • Language level: Intermediate (B1) +
  • Learner type: Teens; Adults
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Activity: Videotelling
  • Topic: Sport; Love
  • Language: Collocations
Speechless pdf [downloaded 4993 times]

Lesson plan outline

  1. Tell students that you have a puzzle for them. Dictate the paragraph below and put students into pairs to share their ideas and explore possibilities.
  2. A woman stands in the middle of a court. She can’t believe what is happening. She has her hand over her mouth. She is speechless. What is going on? In this activity, students collaborate to construct a narrative before watching the video and discussing the issues.
  3. Take feedback. Invite students to share their ideas with the rest of the class.
  4. Note that most people will assume that the word ‘court’ refers to a court of law. They may think, for example, that the woman has been found guilty of a crime, etc.
  5. Tell students that in order to work out what is going on, they will have to look at alternative meanings of one of the words in the paragraph (i.e. ‘court’) Ask students to identify the word and then brainstorm meanings and collocations. Write these on the board as they arise (see possibilities below).
    • A court (of law)
    • To take someone to court
    • A royal court
    • A basketball court
    • A badminton court
    • A tennis court
    • A squash court
    • A volleyball court
  6. Use this as an opportunity to elicit other sports areas:
    • Golf course
    • Football pitch
    • Rugby pitch
    • Hockey pitch
    • Ski slope
  7. Show students the image below (click to enlarge). They will see that the women is standing on a basketball court.
  8. Repeat the paragraph from step 1 (A women stands in the middle of a court. She has her hand over her mouth, etc.) Ask students to reconsider their answer.
  9. Take feedback and ask students to share their new ideas.
  10. Tell students that the incident is taking place at half time in a basketball match. Tell them that the key to working out what is happening is to identify who else is on the court. Elicit the people that you would expect to find on a basketball court. Add these to the board (see possibilities below).
    • Basketball players
    • Referees
    • Cheerleaders
    • Mascots
    • Unruly spectators
  11. Tell students that the woman’s boyfriend is also present. Ask them to guess what he is doing (answer = he is kneeling in front of her asking her to marry him live on TV).
  12. Ask students to guess what happens next. Find out:
    • Who thinks the woman will say ‘yes’
    • Who thinks the woman will say ‘no’
    • Who wants the woman to say ‘yes’
    • Who wants the woman to say ‘no’
  13. Watch the video from beginning to end. Students will see the woman rejecting her boyfriends marriage proposal.
  14. Put students into pairs or small groups ask them to discuss the following:
  • Is it a good idea for a man to propose in this way? Why or why not?
  • Who do you feel more sorry for – the woman or the man? Why
Posted 13/2/12

19 Responses to Speechless

  1. Alicja says:

    Dear Jamie,

    your lessons are great, I really love them :-). I’ve been visiting your website quite often since I discovered it.
    This lesson also seems very useful for teaching collocations, however I’d like to point out something that must have been a typo – twice you typed “women” instead of “woman” (and you definitely mean this particular woman :-)).

    Thanks for sharing your ideas.


    • Jamie Keddie says:

      Thanks Alicja
      Woman, women …
      Apparently native speakers get confused too sometimes! I do in any case. Jamie :)

  2. Alicja says:

    I used this lesson today and it went great! Thanks again :-)

  3. Alicja says:

    And one more thing, recently some more of those disastrous proposals have been published by the Guardian, I’m posting a link in case somebody needs some more ideas :-)


    • Jamie Keddie says:

      Hello Alicja
      It hadn’t occurred to me that this lesson plan was particularly relevant yesterday (29th February, the day that woman are supposed to propose to men). I would have made good use of it if I’d known. J :)

  4. ronster says:

    Jamie, you are a monster teacher. I just love your lessons and so do my students. If you are interested, I have a great lesson plan using Dragons Den. Keep up the great, innovative thinking!

  5. Jamie Keddie says:

    A monster teacher? Yeah – I kinda like that!
    Thanks for that Ronnie – yours is comment of the day :)
    If you have lessons to share, why not get a site together and upload. I always give out lists of lesson sites to teachers, especially ones that use vide clip …
    J :)

  6. Natasha says:

    Excellent lesson. Highly entertaining for students. Had shown this leap year proposal
    Also works well in discussing cultural differences.

  7. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thank Natasha
    There’s no end to them! Why do people do it (propose in public I mean – not get married!)
    I found another fail proposal beside the clip you posted to:
    J :)

  8. Alex says:

    My kids loved this. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hey Alex – yes, it’s a fun one. I’ve started turning it into a story but it’s only half finished.
    Thanks for the comment
    Jamie :)

  10. Barry says:

    Thanks a million Jamie. These have come in really useful and have never ceased to capture my classes’ imagination and interest. Do you do workshops in Barcelona?

  11. Jamie Keddie says:

    Thanks Barry
    Yes – I do workshops in Barcelona every now and again. get in touch using the email below if you would like to speak.
    Jamie :)

  12. Cristina Boi says:

    Hi Jamie,
    I like it! Very nice.
    I’ll try it with my students of the tird year ( 13 years old) . Can I use the whiteboard?
    Best wishes

  13. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Cristina. Nice to hear from you.
    Good luck with this. I am sure that you can use it with a white board.
    Hope all is well
    Jamie :)

  14. Daria says:

    Hey Jamie,
    I want to thank you for all the amazing ideas you’ve shared because they’re priceless!
    I’m a young teacher and I’m still looking for good teaching strategies and I was really impressed when I came across your sites.
    I did this particular activity at the today’s lesson and I must admit my guys were very excited. Everything went perfect! I’m not going to stop here, we’ll continue)
    Thanks again and good luck in everything)

  15. Jamie Keddie says:

    Great to hear it Daria
    Thanks for the comment.
    Good luck with the new career. I hope you are enjoying it!
    Jamie :)

  16. Mandy says:

    Great lesson Jamie – thanks! I have made a prezi from your materials which people might want to use in class – here it is:

  17. Jamie Keddie says:

    Hello Mandy
    This looks like a really good way to organise things! Thanks very much for sharing it here.
    Jamie :)