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Date: Nov 17, 2007
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: 1:58 - 460.5KB - 32kbps
Online Test: Recreate the text in this online test.

1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

UN calls for death penalty abolition

A United Nations committee has voted for an immediate worldwide freeze on the use of the death penalty. A total of 99 countries voted in favor of a suspension of capital punishment, while 52 opposed the proposal and the remaining 33 nations did not vote. Those who campaigned against the death penalty said the abolition would "contribute to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights." They said capital punishment has not been a deterrent for crimes and many innocent people are still put to death by mistake. British ambassador to the UN Sir John Sawers said the vote showed that international opinion has changed in the past decade: "We now have a global coalition and I think it's an important sign that the death penalty is increasingly unpopular and is seen as unreliable," he said.

The vote followed two days of heated and at times bad-tempered discussions. Singapore, the USA, China, Syria and Libya were among those wanting to keep the death penalty. Singapore’s ambassador Vanu Gopala Menon was very vocal in his support of it. He was angry at the European Union because it voted for a ban on capital punishment. He accused the EU of improperly linking the death penalty with human rights and said it was imposing its “values” on the rest of the world. He blasted the EU for trying “to force through a resolution that a significant number of other countries do not agree with.” He argued that countries have a “right to determine the legal measures and penalties which are appropriate for their societies, including the death penalty for the most serious crimes”.

WARM-UPS

1. PUNISHMENT: Walk around the class and talk to other students about different kinds of punishments. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your original partner(s) and share what you found out.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

committees / voting / the death penalty / human rights / global coalitions / heated discussions / ambassadors / being vocal / imposing one’s values

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. TWO-MINUTE DEBATES: Debate these arguments about the death penalty with a partner for just two minutes. Change partners often. Student A agrees with the first argument, Student B, the second.

a.    All killing is wrong. Vs. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

b.    It saves taxpayers’ money. Vs. No price can be put on human life.

c.     The death penalty stops crime. Vs. Murders happen with or without it.

d.    The death penalty goes against human rights. Vs. So does multiple murder.

e.    Mistakes are made. Innocent people die. Vs. No system is perfect.

f.     The death penalty gives society the message that killing is OK. Vs. No way.

g.    It provides closure for victims’ families. Vs. That’s a poor reason to kill someone.

h.    Life in prison is better. Vs. Life in prison means life watching TV, reading and chatting.

4. DEATH PENALTY METHODS: In pairs / groups, talk about the following methods of capital punishment that are used around the world. What are the worst things about each method?

  • hanging
  • lethal injection
  • guillotine
  • beheading
  • firing squad
  • electrocution (electric chair)
  • stoning
  • gas chamber

5. DEATH PENALTY: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the death penalty. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

6. QUICK DEBATE: Students A think the death penalty should be banned worldwide; Students B think individual countries should be able to decide whether or not to have the death penalty. Debate this with your partners. Change partners often.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

The UN has banned the use of the death penalty around the world.

T / F

b.

33 countries voted against the abolition of the death penalty.

T / F

c.

Many countries believe the death penalty does not deter crime.

T / F

d.

International opinion towards the death penalty has changed.

T / F

e.

The discussions at the UN were, in general, good-natured.

T / F

f.

Singapore’s ambassador spoke strongly in favor of abolition.

T / F

g.

Singapore’s ambassador was very angry with the European Union.

T / F

h.

The ambassador said countries needed to decide for themselves.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

freeze

a.

strengthening

2

abolition

b.

alliance

3.

enhancement

c.

decide

4.

deterrent

d.

ending

5.

coalition

e.

stormy

6.

heated

f.

outspoken

7.

vocal

g.

suspension

8.

imposing

h.

scolded

9.

blasted

i.

obstacle

10.

determine

j.

forcing

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

1.

an immediate worldwide freeze on

a.

deterrent for crimes

2

in favor of a suspension

b.

through a resolution

3.

the enhancement and progressive

c.

of capital punishment

4.

capital punishment has not been a

d.

bad-tempered discussions

5.

We now have a global

e.

with human rights

6.

heated and at times

f.

development of human rights

7.

Menon was very vocal

g.

coalition

8.

improperly linking the death penalty

h.

measures and penalties

9.

He blasted the EU for trying to force

i.

the use of the death penalty

10.

a right to determine the legal

j.

in his support

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

A United Nations committee has voted for an __________ worldwide freeze on the use of the death penalty. A total of 99 countries voted in __________ of a suspension of capital punishment, while 52 opposed the proposal and the remaining 33 nations did not vote. Those who campaigned __________ the death penalty said the abolition would "__________ to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights." They said capital punishment has not been a deterrent for __________ and many innocent people are still __________ to death by mistake. British ambassador to the UN Sir John Sawers said the vote showed that international opinion has changed in the past decade: "We now have a __________ coalition and I think it's an important sign that the death penalty is increasingly unpopular and is seen as __________," he said.

 

 

 

global
favor
contribute
unreliable
immediate
put
against
crimes

The vote followed two days of __________ and at times bad-tempered discussions. Singapore, the USA, China, Syria and Libya were __________ those wanting to keep the death penalty. Singapore’s ambassador Vanu Gopala Menon was very __________ in his support of it. He was angry at the European Union because it voted for a ban on capital punishment. He accused the EU of improperly __________ the death penalty with human rights and said it was imposing its “values” on the rest of the world. He __________ the EU for trying “to __________ through a resolution that a significant number of other countries do not agree with.” He argued that countries have a “right to __________ the legal measures and penalties which are appropriate for their __________, including the death penalty for the most serious crimes”.

 

 

societies among
blasted
force
linking
heated
determine
vocal

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

A United Nations committee has voted ________________ worldwide freeze on the use of the death penalty. A total of 99 countries ________________ suspension of capital punishment, while 52 ________________ and the remaining 33 nations did not vote. Those who campaigned against the death penalty said ________________ "contribute to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights." They said capital punishment has not _____________________ crimes and many innocent people are still put to death by mistake. British ambassador to the UN Sir John Sawers said the vote showed that international opinion has changed ________________: "We now have a global coalition and I think it's an important sign that the death penalty is increasingly unpopular and ________________," he said.

The vote followed two days of _____________________ bad-tempered discussions. Singapore, the USA, China, Syria and Libya were among those ___________________ death penalty. Singapore’s ambassador Vanu Gopala Menon was very vocal in his support of it. He was angry at the European Union because ________________ on capital punishment. He accused the EU of improperly linking the death penalty with human rights and said it was ___________________ on the rest of the world. He blasted the EU for trying “to force through a resolution that a significant number of other countries do not agree with.” He argued that countries ________________ determine the legal measures and penalties which are appropriate for their societies, including the death penalty ________________ crimes”.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘death’ and ‘penalty’.

death

penalty

 

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • immediate
  • opposed
  • contribute
  • deterrent
  • opinion
  • sign
  • heated
  • wanting
  • angry
  • force
  • determine
  • serious

STUDENT DEATH PENALTY SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about the death penalty in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What are your feelings after reading the article?

c)

Do you agree with the death penalty?

d)

Why do you think so many countries voted for the death penalty?

e)

Do you think capital punishment is a deterrent to crime?

f)

Is there a very strong link between the death penalty and human rights?

g)

What is the history of capital punishment in your country?

h)

Do you think the death penalty is similar to murder?

i)

Is it OK to have the death penalty if 0.0001% of those sentenced to death are totally innocent?

--------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Do you think most of the world will oppose the death penalty a decade from now?

c)

What do you think countries said to each other in the bad-tempered discussions?

d)

Why do you think the USA is so in favor of the death penalty while it also sees itself as a champion of human rights?

e)

Do you think the EU imposes its values on the rest of the world?

f)

Is the Singaporean ambassador correct in saying each country has to decide whether or not it wants the death penalty?

g)

What questions would you like to ask someone on Death Row?

h)

What questions would you like to ask an executioner?

i)

Did you like this discussion?

LANGUAGE

CORRECT WORD: Put the correct words from a–d below in the article.

A United Nations committee has voted (1) ____ an immediate worldwide freeze on the use of the death penalty. A total of 99 countries voted (2) ____ favor of a suspension of capital punishment, while 52 opposed the proposal and the remaining 33 nations did not vote. Those who campaigned (3) ____ the death penalty said the abolition would "contribute to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights." They said capital punishment has not been a (4) ____ for crimes and many innocent people are still put (5) ____ death by mistake. British ambassador to the UN Sir John Sawers said the vote showed that international opinion has changed in the past decade: "We now have a global (6) ____ and I think it's an important sign that the death penalty is increasingly unpopular and is seen as unreliable," he said.

The vote followed two days of heated and at (7) ____ bad-tempered discussions. Singapore, the USA, China, Syria and Libya were among those (8) ____ to keep the death penalty. Singapore’s ambassador Vanu Gopala Menon was very (9) ____ in his support of it. He was angry at the European Union because it voted for a ban on capital punishment. He accused the EU of improperly (10) ____ the death penalty with human rights and said it was imposing its “values” on the rest of the world. He blasted the EU for trying “to force through a resolution that a significant (11) ____ of other countries do not agree with.” He argued that countries have a “right to determine the legal (12) ____ and penalties which are appropriate for their societies, including the death penalty for the most serious crimes”.

1.

(a)

for

(b)

with

(c)

by

(d)

to

2.

(a)

for

(b)

in

(c)

on

(d)

to

3.

(a)

opposed

(b)

opposite

(c)

again

(d)

against

4.

(a)

deterring

(b)

deter

(c)

deterrent

(d)

determine

5.

(a)

to

(b)

for

(c)

by

(d)

with

6.

(a)

collision

(b)

condition

(c)

coalition

(d)

competition

7.

(a)

time

(b)

times

(c)

timed

(d)

timely

8.

(a)

wants

(b)

want

(c)

wanted

(d)

wanting

9.

(a)

vocalist

(b)

vocal

(c)

vocals

(d)

vocal cords

10.

(a)

linking

(b)

link

(c)

linked

(d)

links

11.

(a)

numerical

(b)

numbers

(c)

numeral

(d)

number

12.

(a)

measure

(b)

quantity

(c)

measures

(d)

quantities

WRITING: 

Write about the death penalty for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about countries that have and countries that do not have capital punishment. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. DEATH PENALTY: Make a poster about the death penalty. Include information on the methods different countries use, and what opposition groups say about capital punishment. Show your poster to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all include similar things?

4. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about someone who is on Death Row but is innocent. Include imaginary interviews with the person and the judge who sentenced him/her to death.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down new words and expressions.

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the Singaporean ambassador. Ask him three questions about the death penalty. Give him three pieces of advice on how to keep Singapore safe without capital punishment. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. F

c. T

d. T

e. F

f. F

g. T

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

freeze

a.

suspension

2

abolition

b.

ending

3.

enhancement

c.

strengthening

4.

deterrent

d.

obstacle

5.

coalition

e.

alliance

6.

heated

f.

stormy

7.

vocal

g.

outspoken

8.

imposing

h.

forcing

9.

blasted

i.

scolded

10.

determine

j.

decide

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

an immediate worldwide freeze on

a.

the use of the death penalty

2

in favor of a suspension

b.

of capital punishment

3.

the enhancement and progressive

c.

development of human rights

4.

capital punishment has not been a

d.

deterrent for crimes

5.

We now have a global

e.

coalition

6.

heated and at times

f.

bad-tempered discussions

7.

Menon was very vocal

g.

in his support

8.

improperly linking the death penalty

h.

with human rights

9.

He blasted the EU for trying to force

i.

through a resolution

10.

a right to determine the legal

j.

measures and penalties

GAP FILL:

UN calls for death penalty abolition

A United Nations committee has voted for an immediate worldwide freeze on the use of the death penalty. A total of 99 countries voted in favor of a suspension of capital punishment, while 52 opposed the proposal and the remaining 33 nations did not vote. Those who campaigned against the death penalty said the abolition would "contribute to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights." They said capital punishment has not been a deterrent for crimes and many innocent people are still put to death by mistake. British ambassador to the UN Sir John Sawers said the vote showed that international opinion has changed in the past decade: "We now have a global coalition and I think it's an important sign that the death penalty is increasingly unpopular and is seen as unreliable," he said.

The vote followed two days of heated and at times bad-tempered discussions. Singapore, the USA, China, Syria and Libya were among those wanting to keep the death penalty. Singapore’s ambassador Vanu Gopala Menon was very vocal in his support of it. He was angry at the European Union because it voted for a ban on capital punishment. He accused the EU of improperly linking the death penalty with human rights and said it was imposing its “values” on the rest of the world. He blasted the EU for trying “to force through a resolution that a significant number of other countries do not agree with.” He argued that countries have a “right to determine the legal measures and penalties which are appropriate for their societies, including the death penalty for the most serious crimes”.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - b

3 - d

4 - c

5 - a

6 - c

7 - b

8 - d

9 - b

10 - a

11 - d

12 - c

 

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