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April 1, 2009

13-Page Handout: WORD | PDF
LISTENING (2:08 - 1,002KB)
ONLINE TEST

Britons Furious Over Politician's Expenses

British people are expressing their outrage over how much they have to pay for their politicians. Their anger increased this week after it came to light that a politician’s husband claimed expenses for two adult movies. The husband of Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said he made a mistake. He apologized for his error on national television. A day later, more details came out about Ms Smith’s expenses to make the British people even angrier. Media reports state she claimed over $150,000 in expenses for her second home. This includes several washing machines, antique furniture, two televisions and even a kitchen sink for her home. This all comes from taxpayers’ money. Many Britons are suffering financially because of the global financial crisis.


Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown acted quickly to try and control any political damage. He asked for a committee to be set up to look into politicians' expenses. A top-ranking politician in Britain earns just over $90,000 a year. However, it is possible for them to claim an extra $200,000 a year in expenses. This can include paying a husband or wife around $65,000 to be a personal assistant. The chairman of the committee Sir Christopher Kelly said his changes would take effect from April 2010. He told reporters: "It is now obvious that this piece of work needs to start as soon as possible.” He added: "The issues involved are complex…This is not something which can be done with a quick fix." It is unclear whether his changes will make Britons happier with their politicians.



 

WARM-UPS

1. POLITICIANS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about politicians. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

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

 

British people / anger / expenses / making mistakes / antique furniture / crisis / acting quickly / political damage / personal assistants / complex issues / quick fixes

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

3. YOUR EXPENSES: What are your weekly expenses? Complete the table. Talk about what you wrote with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you found out.

Expense Type

Amount

Too high / Too low?

Necessary / Unnecessary?

Food

 

 

 

Entertainment

 

 

 

Communications

 

 

 

Travel

 

 

 

Clothes

 

 

 

Hobby

 

 

 

4. UNNECESSARY: Students A strongly believe politicians should be able to claim $200,000 a year in expenses; Students B strongly believe most politicians’ expenses are unnecessary. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. FURIOUS: Who makes you angry? Rate these people from 10 (makes me super-boiling mad) to 1 (never, ever makes me angry). Share your ratings with your partner(s).

_____  My English teacher

_____  My country’s leader

_____  My mother / father

_____  My favourite sports team

_____  My neighbour

_____  My brother / sister

_____  My boss

_____  Myself

6. ANGER: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘anger’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

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

a.

British people aren’t happy at how much politicians claim in expenses.

T / F

b.

A politician’s husband bought a light, and so angered the British public.

T / F

c.

The politician’s husband said he was sorry on British television.

T / F

d.

British taxpayers’ paid for the politician’s washing machines and sink.

T / F

e.

Gordon Brown was not slow to react to this news.

T / F

f.

UK politicians cannot ask family members to assist them in their job.

T / F

g.

A committee will start looking into politicians’ expenses from 2010.

T / F

h.

The committee’s recommendations will make the British public happy.

T / F

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

1.

expressing

a.

difficult

2

outrage

b.

hurting

3.

claimed

c.

swiftly

4.

several

d.

numerous

5.

suffering

e.

start

6.

quickly

f.

if

7.

set up

g.

communicating

8.

take effect

h.

asked for

9.

complex

i.

anger

10.

whether

j.

created

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

1.

people are expressing

a.

to light

2

after it came

b.

just over $90,000 a year

3.

He apologized for his

c.

with a quick fix

4.

This all comes from

d.

their outrage

5.

Many Britons are suffering

e.

damage

6.

control any political

f.

taxpayers’ money

7.

He asked for a committee to be

g.

from April 2010

8.

A top-ranking politician in Britain earns

h.

financially

9.

his changes would take effect

i.

set up

10.

This is not something which can be done

j.

error on national television

WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

British people are expressing their __________ over how much they have to pay for their politicians. Their anger increased this week after it came to __________ that a politician’s husband claimed expenses for two adult movies. The husband of Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said he __________ a mistake. He apologized for his error on national television. A day later, more __________ came out about Ms Smith’s expenses to make the British people even angrier. Media reports state she __________ over $150,000 in expenses for her second home. This includes __________ washing machines, antique furniture, two televisions and even a kitchen sink for her home. This all __________ from taxpayers’ money. Many Britons are __________ financially because of the global financial crisis.

 

 

 

details
light
several
suffering
outrage
claimed
made
comes

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown __________ quickly to try and control any political damage. He asked for a committee to be __________ up to look into politicians’ expenses. A top-ranking politician in Britain __________ just over $90,000 a year. However, it is possible for them to claim an extra $200,000 a year in expenses. This can include paying a husband or wife __________ $65,000 to be a personal assistant. The chairman of the committee Sir Christopher Kelly said his changes would take __________ from April 2010. He told reporters: "It is now __________ that this piece of work needs to start as soon as possible.” He added: "The issues involved are __________ …This is not something which can be done with a __________ fix." It is unclear whether his changes will make Britons happier with their politicians.

 

 

obvious
quick
set
around
acted
complex
earns
effect

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

British people are expressing their outrage _________________ they have to pay for their politicians. Their anger increased this week after it _________________ that a politician’s husband claimed expenses for two adult movies. The husband of Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said he made a mistake. He apologized _________________ national television. A day later, more details _________________ Ms Smith’s expenses to make the British people even angrier. Media reports state she claimed over $150,000 ___________________ second home. This includes several washing machines, antique furniture, two televisions and even a kitchen sink for her home. This _________________ taxpayers’ money. Many Britons are suffering financially because of the global financial crisis.

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown acted quickly _________________ any political damage. He asked for a committee _________________ look into politicians’ expenses. A top-ranking politician in Britain earns just over $90,000 a year. However, it is possible for them _________________ $200,000 a year in expenses. This can include paying a husband or wife around $65,000 to be a personal assistant. The chairman of the committee Sir Christopher Kelly said his changes _________________ from April 2010. He told reporters: "It is now obvious that this piece of work needs to start as soon as possible.” He added: "The issues ___________________ …This is not something which _________________ a quick fix." It is unclear whether his changes will make Britons happier with their politicians.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

financial

crisis

 

 

 

 

  • 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 how they were used in the text:

  • expressing
  • light
  • apologized
  • angrier
  • several
  • suffering
  • quickly
  • set up
  • earns
  • wife
  • obvious
  • unclear

STUDENT POLITICIANS SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about politicians 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.

POLITICIANS DISCUSSION

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

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘politician’?

c)

Do you like the politicians you know?

d)

A well-known expression says you know when a politician I lying because his/her lips move. What does this mean? Do you agree?

e)

Do you think politicians are overpaid?

f)

Do you think politicians should face heavy penalties if they betray the public’s trust?

g)

Would you be a good politician?

h)

Should taxpayers have to pay for a politician’s furniture?

i)

Are you suffering in the global financial crisis?

j)

Would you like a say in how your government spends your taxes?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What do you think of the politician’s husband making the British taxpayer pay for his adult videos?

c)

Do you think Jacqui Smith should resign?

d)

What stupid things do politicians in your country do?

e)

When was the last time you apologized about a mistake you made?

f)

Would this kind of story cause political damage in your country?

g)

Do politicians work hard enough?

h)

What kind of person makes a good politician?

i)

Should a politician go to prison for falsely claiming expenses?

j)

What questions would you ask Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith?

LANGUAGE

British people are expressing their (1) ____ over how much they have to pay for their politicians. Their anger increased this week after it came to (2) ____ that a politician’s husband claimed expenses for two adult movies. The husband of Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said he (3) ____ a mistake. He apologized for his error on national television. A day later, more details came out about Ms Smith’s expenses to (4) ____ the British people even angrier. Media reports state she claimed over $150,000 in expenses for her second home. This includes (5) ____ washing machines, antique furniture, two televisions and even a kitchen sink for her home. This all comes from (6) ____  money. Many Britons are suffering financially because of the global financial crisis.

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown acted quickly to try and control any political (7) ____. He asked for a committee to be set up to look into politicians’ expenses. A top-ranking politician in Britain (8) ____ just over $90,000 a year. However, it is possible for them to claim an extra $200,000 a year in expenses. This can include (9) ____ a husband or wife around $65,000 to be a personal assistant. The chairman of the committee Sir Christopher Kelly said his changes would (10) ____ effect from April 2010. He told reporters: "It is now obvious that this piece of work needs to start as soon as possible.” He added: "The issues involved are complex…This is not something which can be done with a (11) ____ fix." It is unclear whether his changes will make Britons happier (12) ____ their politicians.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

outrage

(b)

outrageous

(c)

outraged

(d)

outrageously

2.

(a)

dark

(b)

dim

(c)

light

(d)

bright

3.

(a)

did

(b)

made

(c)

make

(d)

do

4.

(a)

making

(b)

makes

(c)

made

(d)

make

5.

(a)

few

(b)

pair

(c)

several

(d)

number

6.

(a)

taxpayers’

(b)

taxpayers

(c)

tax payers

(d)

taxpayer’s

7.

(a)

damages

(b)

damaging

(c)

damaged

(d)

damage

8.

(a)

earnings

(b)

earns

(c)

earners

(d)

earn

9.

(a)

paid

(b)

payment

(c)

paying

(d)

pays

10.

(a)

take

(b)

give

(c)

do

(d)

see

11.

(a)

quickly

(b)

quick

(c)

quicken

(d)

quickens

12.

(a)

to

(b)

so

(c)

up

(d)

with

WRITING: 

Write about politicians 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 out more about the work of politicians. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. POLITICIAN: Make a job recruitment poster for a politician’s position. Include details of what experience and qualifications are needed. What are the politician’s duties? Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. TAXPAYER: Write a magazine article about Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s expenses claim for her husband’s adult videos. Include imaginary interviews with Jacqui Smith and someone who has just lost his/her job..

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Ask her three questions about her husband’s actions. Give her three ideas on what she should do to help the British people. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

F

c.

T

d.

T

e.

T

f.

F

g.

F

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

expressing

a.

communicating

2

outrage

b.

anger

3.

claimed

c.

asked for

4.

several

d.

numerous

5.

suffering

e.

hurting

6.

quickly

f.

swiftly

7.

set up

g.

created

8.

take effect

h.

start

9.

complex

i.

difficult

10.

whether

j.

if

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

people are expressing

a.

their outrage

2

after it came

b.

to light

3.

He apologized for his

c.

error on national television

4.

This all comes from

d.

taxpayers’ money

5.

Many Britons are suffering

e.

financially

6.

control any political

f.

damage

7.

He asked for a committee to be

g.

set up

8.

A top-ranking politician in Britain earns

h.

just over $90,000 a year

9.

his changes would take effect

i.

from April 2010

10.

This is not something which can be done

j.

with a quick fix

GAP FILL:

Britons furious over politician’s expenses

British people are expressing their outrage over how much they have to pay for their politicians. Their anger increased this week after it came to light that a politician’s husband claimed expenses for two adult movies. The husband of Britain’s Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said he made a mistake. He apologized for his error on national television. A day later, more details came out about Ms Smith’s expenses to make the British people even angrier. Media reports state she claimed over $150,000 in expenses for her second home. This includes several washing machines, antique furniture, two televisions and even a kitchen sink for her home. This all comes from taxpayers’ money. Many Britons are suffering financially because of the global financial crisis.

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown acted quickly to try and control any political damage. He asked for a committee to be set up to look into politicians’ expenses. A top-ranking politician in Britain earns just over $90,000 a year. However, it is possible for them to claim an extra $200,000 a year in expenses. This can include paying a husband or wife around $65,000 to be a personal assistant. The chairman of the committee Sir Christopher Kelly said his changes would take effect from April 2010. He told reporters: "It is now obvious that this piece of work needs to start as soon as possible.” He added: "The issues involved are complex…This is not something which can be done with a quick fix." It is unclear whether his changes will make Britons happier with their politicians.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - c

3 - b

4 - d

5 - c

6 - a

7 - d

8 - b

9 - c

10 - a

11 - b

12 - d

 

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