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C1/C2 English - Wednesday 9:45

Updated: Mar 27

This class is for advanced and proficient students (level C1 to C2) and is offered online. Here are the topics we will discuss.

January to April 2024

Starting in May - we'll do a podcast from the Diary of a CEO series.

17 April - Destination page 163. Something quite different this week. I'd like you to watch these two videos (here and here) about what happened to the dinosaurs.

10 April - Destination page 162. Let's talk about housing. There are two articles I'd like you to read, one about social housing in Vienna and another suggesting that the private rental market should be abolished.

3 April - Destination page 159. Are you a super-communicator? Following on from last semester's TED talk from Celeste Headlee, there are some more tips on improving your conversational skills in this article. Make some predictions about what you expect the tips to be, then read the article.

27 March - Destination page 158. Today's topic is to discuss the question 'What makes us human?' This question was discussed by many guests on Jeremy Vine's radio programme. Can you listen to this essay from Stephen Fry - he speaks very quickly so you might have to slow him down a bit. I'd also like you to listen to the first five minutes of this show with Neil Brand. If you want to listen to another episode, here is the full list.

20 March - Destination page 157. I'd like you to read this article featuring Manchester poet, John Cooper Clarke talking about technology. There is lots of advanced vocabulary, some interesting ideas and a spot of humour.

13 March - Destination page 156 (make sure you look at the examples on page 154). What are your thoughts on a 4-day working week? Read this article and tell us in class.

6 March - Destination page 153. Can you read this article about an apology Mark Zuckerberg recently made at the senate hearings. A video is included in the article which you should also watch. If you have time, click on some of the links in the article and read around the subject.

28 February - I'd like you to watch two videos this week. The first one is this video on BBC Reel about why time seems to speed up as we get older. The second is up to you. I'd like you to find a video that you want to watch. It can be a different one on BBC Reel or something completely different. Can you also do Destination - page 152.

14 and 21 February - no lesson

7 February - Destination - page 151. In the lesson we'll talk about the power of drama to reach people. Please read this article about a recent drama that has had a huge political impact. Should you want to read more about the scandal, you can do some research or read this or this.

31 January - Destination - page 150. This week I'd like you to watch this YouTube video about why we increasingly need subtitles to understand film dialogue. Before watching the video try to predict the reasons for this.

24 January - Destination - page 149. I recently came across this article suggesting that swearing was becoming more acceptable. Like the previous article, it contains opinions that I don't necessarily share. It is, nevertheless, an interesting topic.

17 January Destination - page 148. I'd also like you to read this opinion piece about the British monarchy. As you are reading it, consider whether you like the style of writing.

10 January - Destination - pages 147 & 148. I'd like you to read two articles here and here about making New Year's resolutions. You don't need to read them both in detail. I'd like you to practice skim-reading - skimming through an article to notice the points that are interesting to you.

Which topic shall we discuss next? Click on this link to get some ideas about future topics or send me your own suggestions.

Previous topics


20 December - how to greet strangers (Emma Beddington)

13 December - Finnegans Wake book club

6 December - Ecology - don't rake up the leaves/ re-wilding golf courses

29 November - Classical music with Benjamin Zander

22 November - Britney Spears

15 November - better conversations TED Talk with Celeste Headlee

8 November - politics - Dominic Cummings at the Covid Inquiry

1 November - misophonia

25 October - history of English (Open University and Lane Greene videos)

4 October - Eurostar and Brexit

27 September - sharenting again

20 September - interview with Elon Musk

13 September - Getting front row seats

6 September - menopause video with Davina McCall

30 August - good posture

23 August - sharenting

12 July - poetry week, share your favourite poem with the class

5 July - an audio version of The Guardian's long read about a man in an iron lung

28 June - why do people start trolling? Read the article to find out

21 June - an article about negotiating

14 June - changing direction at the age of 60 (house-sitting)

7 June - a heart-warming article about letter writing

31 May - books and censorship (Roald Dahl and Judy Blume)

24 May - should you have access to your medical records?

17 May - listen to a podcast about fashion for the over fifties

10 May - an article about how a round the world trip nearly ruined someone's life

19 April - let's meet in person and play some games!

12 April - read about British architect, David Chipperfield.

5 April - an interesting article about playgrounds in Germany. Destination page 100 -101

29 March - a long read from The Guardian about the super rich being treated in Zurich clinics. Destination page 98 - 99

22 March - The Gary Lineker row at the BBC. Destination page 96 -97

15 March - an interview in The Guardian with football commentator, Chris Kamara who is suffering from a debilitating speech condition, Destination page 94 - 95

8 March - From a skip to the Saatchi. Destination page 91

1 March - an interesting article about giving feedback (I'll never regret following my mum's best ever advice.) Destination Page 90

8 February - an article about the collapse of furniture retailer (Made). Destination page 90.

1 February - 3 articles about Prince Harry's book Spare. Destination page 89.

25 January - a video featuring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin about female friendship. Destination page 88.

18 January - the controversy about a new museum in Berlin. Destination page 85.

11 January - An article from Hadley Freeman about celebrities. Destination page 84.


21 December - the dying art of sending a Christmas card. Destination page 78.

14 December - an article about the Barbados blueprint. Destination page 82

7 December - bees, butterflies and bus shelters. Destination page 81.

30 November - advice from a brain expert about tips to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. Destination page 80.

23 November - an article about the Terrence Higgins Trust. Destination page 79.

16 November - a great article about the benefits of walking in the rain. Destination page 78.

9 November - a film review of My Old School. Destination page 75.

2 November - letters about the English education system based upon a George Monbiot article. Destination page 74

26 October - a video entitled Dear Bradford. Destination page 73.

4 October- politics and economics this time. Destination page 72.

28 September - a challenge for us to take part in, rejection therapy. Destination page 69.

21 September - a scientific article about the benefits of sitting still. Destination pages 68 - 69.

14 September - an article about Instagram. Destination pages 66 - 67.

7 September - things to do by the time you are 47 (or not). Destination pages 64 - 65.

31 August - interesting article about men's groups. Destination pages 62 - 63.

24 August - raising teens article. Destination pages 58 - 59.

13 July - final lesson of the semester, let's do something easy. Read this article about sisters Nicola and Frankie Roberts and count how many times the word 'would' is used to talk about past habits.

6 July - we'll discuss the George Orwell article and whatever else takes your fancy!

29 June - it was such a great lesson today, very much student-led in terms of learning tips and conversation topics. Well done to all of you! Next week we'll continue our discussion about climate change after reading the book review of George Monbiot's book. Today's chat is in the Google doc, make sure you look at it again.

22 June - some press releases from Tesco. Focus on which words are used to talk about the future. See the box below for the two articles.

15 June - Another TED talk, this time by a 7-year-old. Here's the link.

8 June - I'll be teaching you from England this week. The topic is a fascinating article by photographer Daniel Meadows about a photograph he took in Salford in the 1970s. Although I tell people that I used to live in Manchester, technically I lived in the bordering city of Salford. I'll be able to tell you more about Salford in the lesson.

1 June - Let's discuss the Ask Philippa article. If you have time, read the other article about muting friends on social media.

25 May - Let's talk about the dangers of being overreliant on a mobile phone.

18 May - a Zoom lesson again. Please watch this video about public speaking. As you are watching, think about what the speaker does well. As extra homework, check out the definitions of some of the words we discussed in the 11 May lesson. Words and phrases such as breathtaking, inductive and deductive, shade and shadow, satisfactory and satisfying, vice squad, remark and much.

11 May - an interesting article from one of my other classes. This time it was one of the students who found the article. Can you also choose three things you learned in today's lesson that you can present to your classmates next week. We'll meet in person at my house rather than the usual Zoom lesson.

4 May - looking forward to seeing you all again. We're going to start with a bit of revision. Let's re-read one of the longer articles from last semester and continue our discussion about the topics raised in it. Are our attention spans being stolen and if so, what can we do about it? Before reading the article see how much you can remember from it. I can recall the I-pads at Graceland and I also remember the author's important conclusion.

Click here to see more topics we've talked about.

Do you want to read about some grammar topics? Check out the blog.


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