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Mankind is no Island

Posted on May 15, 2011 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is around a beautiful short film called Mankind is No Island directed by Jason Van Genderen, and the themes of homelessness and empathy. The film presents a poignant reminder of the continuing reality of homelessness in the city. Shot in New York and Sydney on a mobile phone, the 3 minute short uses street signs and footage of actual homeless people. Students watch a short film clip and a short film, predict the content of a short film, speak about empathy and homelessness, and write a composition on homelessness.

film_in_action_thumbnail

 

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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B1.1)

Learner type:Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Watching short film clip and short film, predicting, the content of a short film, and speaking about empathy and homelessness

Topic: Empathy and homelessness

Language: Vocabulary related to empathy and homelessness

Materials: Short film clip, short film, empathy images and discussion questions

Downloadable materials: mankind is no island lesson instructions     empathy images     homelessness discussion questions

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Step 1

Write the sympathy and empathy on the board; ask your students if they can define the words and say what the difference between the two words is.

 

Step 2

Ask your students what they know about the actress Audrey Hepburn. Tell them they are going to watch a short clip from the film Funny Face in which Audrey Hepburn explains the difference between sympathy and empathy.

 

 

Step 3

Next show them this PowerPoint presentation with a definition of empathy and images related to empathy.  Put your students in pairs and ask to discuss each slide for 2 minutes.

 

 [slideshare id=15852862&doc=empathyimages-130104054441-phpapp01]

 

Step 4

Show your students the picture of the man below. Ask them to put themselves in his shoes and to try to empathise with him.

 

 

Ask your students to imagine they are the man and to think about the following questions:

Where do I come from?

What do I do?

What have I done in my life?

How am I feeling right now?

Once your students have thought about the questions ask them to discuss their answers with a partner.

 

Step 5

Tell your students that they are going to watch a short film called Mankind is No Island in which the man in the photo appears. Show them this screen capture of the opening credits.

 

 

Ask them what they think the film is about, what story it tells and what images they expect to see.

 

Step 6

Show the students the film and ask them to compare their answers in Step 5 with what they see in the film.

 

 

Step 7

Get feedback from your students. Ask them what the message of the film is.

 

 Step 8

Show your students the discussion questions about homelessness, and ask them to discuss them in small groups.

 

[scribd id=118936525 key=key-j28lwiflkgmb5xrn5yc mode=scroll]

 

Homework

Ask students to write a composition titled:

Imagine that you are a homeless person. Write about how you became homeless and what a day in your life is like.

Ask your students to look at this website on empathy, and this site on homelessness to get  information and ideas to write the composition.

 

I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

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Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

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8 thoughts on “Mankind is no Island

  1. Thanks for sharing this material! It convinced me even more of how important it is to introduce the topic in class. The homeless are often ignored, looked down or even considered lazy, while they are simply people who were not lucky and with whom life has not been generous . Young people should be more sensitive to this social issue. I really appreciated the way you structured the lesson plan, the use of scribd, etc.

    • Hi Silvan,
      I completely agree with you, the homeless are in the streets through no fault of their own, and society tries to ignore them. I’m really happy you like the lesson.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  2. Dear Kieran,
    I will probably also include some vidoeoviewing and let my students watch the movie trailer of “Conversations with God” about Neale Donald Walsch (or, perhaps, even the whole film ) which is very suitable and very moving and let them listen to the song “The street of London”. What do you say?
    Silvana

  3. Dear Kieran:
    The video is stricking and it gets to you: That is precisely what I was looking for to show to the kids. The music is beautiful it it made me feel very sad and showed me that we really don’t ever see these people. We turn blind and that has to change.
    Gaby

  4. Hey Ths is great. I mixedit together with ‘The Conditioned@
    Check it out.
    Anoher great film-english video lesson

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