This EFL lesson practises listening, speaking and reading. This optimistic lesson is designed around a short film School Portrait by director Nick Scott which tells the story of a jaded, cynical school photographer who tries to give each child a harsh vision of what their future will really look like, but a little girl with an infectious smile teaches him an important life lesson. The lesson also includes images from a beautiful book Everything Is Going To Be OK which uses positive artwork from a variety of artists, graphic designers and illustrators.
Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper-intermediate (B2.1)
Learner type: Mature teens; Adults
Time: 90 minutes
Activity: Listening; speaking; reading
Topic: Smiling; optimism
Language: Optimistic vocabulary and expressions
Materials: 2 short films and TED video,video transcripts; PowerPoint presentation
Write School Portrait on the board and ask your students if they know what it means. If they don’t know explain that it is a photograph taken at school by a professional photographer. Ask your students if they have had an individual school portrait taken at their school. Ask about their experience. If you have your own school portrait show it to your students.
Ask your students if they can remember what the photographer said to them and how he encouraged them to smile.
Tell your students that they are going to watch a short film called School Portrait. Ask them the following question:
How is the photographer different from a normal school photographer?
Cut up the sentences which the photographer says in the School Portrait Dialogue Word document. Put students into small groups and give each group one set of sentences. Tell them they are going to watch the film again and that they have to put the photographer’s sentences into the correct order.
Check answers and get feedback.
Put your students in small groups and ask them to discuss what the message of the film is.
The message of the film is that smiling and being optimistic is extremely important in life. Show students the images below taken from a beautiful book Everything Is Going To Be OK . Ask them to discuss each image and its message.
You can also show the images using this PowerPoint presentation.
Ask students if they know what an infectious smile is. Ask them if they know anyone with an infectious smile. Show them the photo below.
Ask your students the following questions:
Do you like this woman’s smile?
Does she smile a lot?
What kind of person do you think she is?
What kind of philosophy does she have about life?
What does she do?
Tell your students they are going to watch a short film about this woman. Ask them to watch the film and check their answers. Here’s a link.
Ask students to watch the video and make notes about research which shows that smiling has a positive effect on our lives.
Give students the transcript of the talk. Check answers in the following class.
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