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How to be alone

Posted on February 19, 2012 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is designed around How To Be Alone, a short film by artist and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, and a poem by  singer-songwriter and poet Tanya Davies which examines how we can enjoy being alone.

film_in_action_thumbnail

 

I would ask all teachers who use Film English to consider buying my book Film in Action as the royalties which I receive from sales help to keep the website completely free.

 

 

Language level: Upper-intermediate (B2.1) – Advanced (C1)
Learner type: Mature teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Talking about being alone,giving advice about being alone, watching a short film and reading a poem

Topic: Loneliness and being alone

Language: Should, shouldn’t, ought to and imperative form

Materials: Short film, discussion questions and poem

Downloadble materialsHow to be alone instuctions    how to be alone discussion questions      how to be alone poem

 

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Step 1

Write the following suffixes on the board:

________dom      _________ness    _________ment

 

Ask your students to come up with as many abstract nouns as they can which end with these suffixes.

Step 2

Write the following sentences on the board:

Sometimes I like to be alone.

Sometimes I like to be lonely.

Ask your students to say what the difference in meaning is between the 2 sentences.

Step 3

Put your students into pairs and ask them to discuss the questions on being alone.

how to be alone discussion questions

[scribd id=82086984 key=key-79b624p4b5pz13woamm mode=list]

Step 4

Write up the following words:

alonedom

Ask your students what they think the difference is between these 2 words.

The difference is that loneliness expresses a negative emotion of being unhappy about being on your own while alonedom (a word invented by a poet) expresses a much more positive emotion about being on your own.

Step 5

Write up:

How to be alone

 

Put your students into small groups and ask them to come up with advice about how to be alone. Tell them to use should, shouldn’t, ought to and the imperative form. They should include the following areas:

Places to go to, things to do, hobbies and interests, learning, attitude

You shouldn’t worry about being alone, you should enjoy your freedom and travel to new places.

After 5 minutes get feedback from each group. Write up the following example sentences:

 

Step 6

Explain to your students that they are going to watch a short film called How To Be Alone. Ask them to watch the film and see if any of their advice in Step 6 is in the film.

Get feedback.

Step 7

Give them the poem and ask them to read it. Discuss the meaning.

how to be alone poem

You can also view the poem in the Scribd document below.

[scribd id=82037407 key=key-2gw12lq8c5lq8z70lc14 mode=list]

Step 8

Play the film again, but this time without the images. Students should listen and read the poem noticing the intonation.

 

Homework

Tell your students you would like them to write a composition titled How To Be Alone.

They should include some of the advice they liked in the poem and also read this article about how to enjoy being alone.

I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Support Film English

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.

Monthly subscription

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7 thoughts on “How to be alone

  1. Thank you again! I do enjoy following your blog. Will you post activities that are targeted on easier level students (like A2) in the future? It would be great if you could do so. Keep up the super duper job you’ve been doing!

    • Hi Shutterbug,
      Thanks a lot. I’ll be doing some more lessons for lower levels soon, quite a lot of the lessons can be done with lower levels especially those which have films with no dialogue.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  2. Hi Kieran,
    Thank you so much for this, what a beautiful class! It’s my second favourite after the secrets one I saw you do at a seminar 🙂 I really enjoy your lessons and my students do too. Thank you for all your hard work.
    Jo

  3. Pingback: VIDEO: How To Be Alone | ideaFM

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