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Two Fingers

Posted on May 16, 2014 by kierandonaghy

two_fingers_large

This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short film by Jamie Thraves used as a music video for Jake Bugg and his song Two Fingers. Students watch a short film and a lyrics video, speak about the problems faced by young people, and reconstruct a story and lyrics.

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

Learner type:Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Watching a short film, speaking about the problems faced by young people, reconstructing a story and lyrics and writing

Topic: Problems faced by young people

Language: Slang expressions

Materials: Short film and two lyrics videos

Downloadable materials: two fingers lesson instructions

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Step 1

Ask the learners what are typical problems which young people face in their country.

 

Step 2

Tell the learners they are going to watch, but not hear, a young man who has some problems. As they watch they should say what problems are shown.

Show the film.

 

 

Step 3

Get feedback from the learners on the problems the young man has. Possible answers: he feels alienated from his family, he has problems in his relationship with his mother, his mother and her partner drink too much, there is domestic violence at home, and he may be unemployed.

 

Step 4

Tell the learners they are going to watch the film again. As they watch they should try to remember the story the film tells.

Show the film.

 

Step 5

After watching they should make some notes and then try to reconstruct the story with a partner. Ask learners to retell the story.

 

Step 6

Draw a thought bubble on the board or hand out copies of the thought bubble below.

 

thought_bubble

Elicit or explain that they are used in comics, cartoons and graphic novels to show what a character is thinking.

Tell them they are going to watch the film again and consider what the young man and other characters are thinking at key points in the film.

Show the film.

 

Step 7

The learners draw thought bubbles and complete them with what the characters are thinking. The learners compare their thought bubbles with a partner.

 

Step 8

Tell the learners that the film is a video for a song sung by the young man. Ask them to predict the lyrics of the song.

 

Step 9

Play the film with sound and ask the learners to note down any words or expressions they understand.

 

Step 10

Put the learners into small groups and ask them to try to reconstruct the lyrics.

Show the film.

 

Step 11

Show the video with the lyrics and ask the learners to compare their lyrics with the actual lyrics. If the learners find the first lyrics video too difficult show them the second one.

 

 

It will probably be necessary to explain some words and expressions.

Glossary

Clifton – a working class area of Nottingham, UK which is the home town of the singer Jake Bugg.

hold two fingers up – the act of using only the middle and index fingers, while bending the other fingers at the second knuckle, and with the palm facing the signer mean “fuck you” in the U K.

skin up a fat one – to roll a joint.

the feds – a slang expression to describe the police.

White Lightning – a brand of very strong cider in the UK.

 

Step 12

Hold a plenary discussion based on the following questions:

Does the song have a message?

Do you think the film goes well with the lyrics of the song?

Are the problems shown in the film the same types of problems faced by young people in your country?

 

Homework

The learners write an article on problems faced by young people in their country and put forward possible solutions.

I hope you enjoy the 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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13 thoughts on “Two Fingers

  1. Love it — the story, the video, the song… But wonder if it might not be a bit close to the bone to use in class?

    Way more interesting than the politically correct but bland stuff in course books, of course…

    • Hi Tom,
      Thanks a lot for commenting. I know what you mean about it being close to the bone, but I think it depends on the context. I can see resonating with a lot of young people, and older students could also relate to it on many levels. I know the smoking (both cigarettes and joints), the sense of alienation, unemployment and domestic violence may all be controversial issues, but I think students can deal with them, and, as you say, they may motivate learners more than the safe bland issues in the majority of coursebooks.
      All the best,
      Kieran

      • This is great. I would never think of hiding the real world from my students. They and I live in it and we are all a part of it. Teaching needs to be an authentic reflection of reality. A confident teacher who manages lessons well will certainly enjoy using this material. In my experience students get bored with unrealistic course books and respond well when using authentic materials. I credit them with the ability to learn from this and to enjoy the experience. Great stuff Kieran. Well done.

        • Hi Kieran,
          Thanks a lot for commenting and for the kind words. I completely agree with you about using authentic materials. Great name, by the way 🙂
          All the best,
          Kieran

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