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The Scarecrow

Posted on October 14, 2013 by kierandonaghy

the-_scarecrow

 

This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short film for Chipotle and the topics of food and the factory farming industry. Students talk about the factory farming industry, watch a short film, discuss issues related to the film and then watch and discuss a parody of the film.

Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2)

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Talking about issues related to food and watching a short film and a parody

Topic: Food and factory farming

Language: Food vocabulary

Materials: Short film

Downloadable materials: the scarecrow lesson instructions

Overview

This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short film for Chipotle and the topics of food and the factory farming industry. Students talk about the factory farming industry, watch a short film, discuss issues related to the film and then watch and discuss a parody of the film.

This lesson plan has been created especially for the IATEFL Global Issues SIG Food Issues Month.

food_issues_month

 

 

Step 1

Write “factory farming” on the board and ask students if they know what it is. Ask for concrete examples of factory farming. If students don’t know explain that factory farming is a system of rearing pigs, cattle, and chickens using very intensive methods where animals are confined indoors under very strict conditions to produce, meat, milk and eggs for human consumption.

 

Step 2

Pair students and ask them to discuss the following questions:

 

Does factory farming exist in your country?

What do you think of factory farming?

What alternatives are there to factory farming?

 

When students are ready hold a plenary discussion.

 

Step 3

Tell students they are going to watch the start of a short film in which they will see a factory farm. As they watch they should look for concrete examples of factory farming. Show the film and pause at 02:01.

 

 

Step 4

Get feedback form students. Write up examples of factory farming they see: people eating “beefish” meat (“meat” which contains very little real meat but which is sold as meat) which has been produced on a factory farm; chickens being pumped with what we imagine must be some kind of drug probably hormones and cows caged in very small metal boxes.

 

Step 5

Ask students the following questions:

How does the film make you feel?

Do you think a factory farm is really like this?

 

Step 6

Ask students if they know what the main character in the film is. Try to elicit “scarecrow”. If students don’t know explain that “scare” is a verb meaning to frighten and that “crow” is a type of bird which farmers don’t like because iteats their seeds when they are trying to grow crops. Ask students how they think the scarecrow feels.

 

Step 7

Ask students to focus on the paused image at 02:01. Ask them the following questions:

 

Why is the company called Crow Food?

What do you think of the slogan Feeding The World?

 

Step 8

Put students into small groups and ask them to predict what will happen in the rest of the film. Give them 5 minutes to discuss their narrative. When they are ready ask a person from each group to say what they think is going to happen.

 

Step 9

Show the rest of the film and ask students to compare their predictions with what they see in the film.

 

Step 10

Put students in pairs and ask them to discuss the following questions:

What’s the film’s message?

Do you like the film?

 

Step 11

Tell students that the film is an advertisement for the Mexican-themed restaurant chain Chipotle which claims to use only meat from animals which have been treated with dignity and respect and to use only natural ingredients. Chipotle’s slogan is Food with Integrity.

 

Ask students if they think that the advertisement in communicating the company’s values.

 

Step 12

Ask students if there are any restaurant chains in their country which claim to only use meat which comes from animals which have been treated with dignity and respect or to use only fresh and natural ingredient.

 

Step 13

Tell students that the advertisement has been a huge popular and critical success. However, some people have criticized the advertisement and a website called Funny or Die has released a parody of the ad called Honest Scarecrow. Tell students they are going to watch the parody and that they should concentrate on the subtitles of the new lyrics (Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory gives way to Pure Manipulation).

They should note down criticism of the ad as they watch the parody.

 

 

Step 14

After students have watched the parody put them in pairs and ask them to compare their answers. When students are ready hold a plenary session and discuss the criticism of the ad. Students should mention some of the following points: Chipotle is a giant corporation; viewers are manipulated; the ad had a huge budget; the scarecrow picks a pepper which looks very similar to the Chipotle logo using vegetarian imagery to sell meat.

 

Step 15

Ask students if they think the parody’s criticism of the ad and Chipotle are justified.

 

I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Film English is a labour of love, it takes hundreds of hours and thousands of euros a year to sustain and provide free English language lesson plans. Keeping it a free, clean, ad-free experience — which is important to me and, I hope, to you — means it’s subsidised by the generous support of readers like you through donations. So if you find any inspiration, joy and stimulation in these English language lessons or if they help you teaching English, please consider a modest donation — however much you can afford.

 

15 thoughts on “The Scarecrow

  1. This is a perfect film for Halloween! I use a lot of your videos because they’re short and not time consuming. I use them as a warmer for speaking classes. My favorite video is the one of “Validation”. I get a lot of positive feedback from that.

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  4. Excellent lesson. However, after running this in two classes I have to advocate a critical tweak: pause the film at the end right as it zooms out to the iPad, then continue on with step 10. After that, resume the video then move to step 11.

    In the first class, not having paused, their ideas of the film’s message were, “eat Chipotle”, “play our games”, etc. In fact, when that corporate marketing came on, there were gasps and sounds of shock and surprise. They seemed quite annoyed.

    In the second class, where I did pause, their ideas of the film’s message were profoundly deeper.

    • Hi Max,
      Thanks a lot for the comments. I understand what you mean, but out if the objectives of the lesson is to point out the way the film manipulates us and how the company may not be as ethical as it presents itself.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  5. This is quite timely. I had tried to find factory farming info that was appropriate to my class. I have had no luck until today and we are doing food this week. So happy. I think I will probably not include the Chipotle brand as part of it, nor will I use the parody. The other piece is exactly what I am looking for to spring board into factory farming. Thanks!

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