Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

It Should Be Banned
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson Ss will focus their discussion on the topic of genetic modification and genetic selection--and whether these techniques are (not) morally and ethically acceptable in our society. A short clip from the movie 'Gattaca,' and a news clip, analyzing the realistic aspects of the future of Gattaca, will provide detailed listening practice as well as some context for the lesson's productive tasks.


Abc Designer Baby: Discussion
Abc Designer Baby: Reading
Abc Genetic Selection Situations

Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with the opportunity for freer-speaking practice on the topic of genetic selection and genetic modification

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with the opportunity to practice their gist and detailed listening skills while watching two short films related to the 'Gattaca' movie


Warmer/Lead-in (16-18 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Write on the WB BANNING, LIMITING, and RESTRICTING. Try to elicit the differences among these types of laws/rules from the WC. [If Ss are graduates from the prep program, remind them of the earlier discussion in the 'Pet Peeves' LP.] T's Note: --LIMITING: a general inability (“Tobacco companies are limited from creating advertising that is attractive to teenagers.”) --RESTRICTING: sth specific that is regulated by force, e.g. the Government (“The age restriction on smoking is 18 and below.”) Write on the WB the header BIOTECHNOLOGY and underneath the following controversial topics: CLONING (ANIMAL OR HUMAN); GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) ORGANISMS (FOOD OR ANIMALS); and GENETIC SELECTION Elicit from the WC a general explanation for these three processes. Divide the WC into groups and instruct the Ss, in pairs, to discuss these three processes and their thoughts on them. "What do you think about biotechnology and modifying (or changing) organisms? Should these things be banned, limited, or restricted in modern society? How so?" Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Inform the Ss that you are going to show them some ancient (and more recent) examples of genetic modification. Project on the WB a series of images demonstrating how humans have been 'modifying' (but not 'engineering') organisms for over 32,000 years. Elicit from the WC a general response to these images and their thoughts on genetic selection/modification. T Note: 1) Broccoli was created from genetic selection of the wild cabbage plant; 3) olives were domesticated through the process of branch 'cloning'; 4) Oberkassel Site in Germany, 15,000 years ago, oldest evidence of the domesticated dog; 5) Axel Erlandson, tree grafting in the 1940s.

Exposure (33-35 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through listening

Write on the WB DESIGNER BABY. Elicit from the WC what they think this term means, based on the previous section's discussion. Elicit from the WC those who are familiar with the movie GATTACA. "We are going to watch a clip from the opening scenes in this movie. The movie 'Gattaca' occurs in the not-so-distant future. The opening scene introduces us to a couple, making some difficult decisions about their future family. While watching, try to answer some questions on the parents' choices concerning their children." Distribute the 'Gattaca Questions' HO. Following a viewing of the clip, have the Ss discuss their answers and observations in pairs. Bring the WC together for FB. Focus on Ss' response to the last question (the 'brightness' or 'darkness' of the world of Gattaca). "In 2011, NASA named Gattaca the most plausible science fiction movie of all time." Inform the Ss that they are going to watch a short news clip on this subject. "Based on this clip, why does NASA believe the not-so-distant future of Gattaca might exist in our future? Listen for the biotechnologies mentioned and what these biotechnologies have done on human embryos." Mach at the Movies Gattaca [3:03] https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/show-me/video/in-a-not-too-distant-future-gattaca-like-designer-babies-could-become-possible-1282199107707 Following a viewing of the clip, have the Ss discuss in groups what they heard. Bring the WC together for FB and a response to the message of the clip. T NOTE: --IVF case (pre-implanation genetic diagnosis [PGD]: for diseases as well as sex and eye color) --CRISPR case (2017 editing of gene mutation for heart condition)

Productive Task: Designer Baby Continued (24-26 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

"I want you to imagine that we are living in the not-so-distant future and your parents 'designed' you before you were born. How would you feel about this?" Distribute the HO on 'Designer Baby: Discussion' and have the Ss share with their partners their answers to the questions. Following GW discussion, inform the WC that you have a real-life example of a 'designed' baby--based on gender selection. "This news story occurred in Britain. With your partner, read through the article and try to answer the following question: 'Why do the Jones want a baby girl?'" Allow the groups time to discuss and answer the T/F questions as well. Following completion of the article, instruct the groups to complete the discussion portion of the HO. Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB.

Productive Task: Genetic Selection Situations (10-12 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Conclude the lesson with some specific situations where an individual desires the option of genetic selection. "With your partner, discuss which, if any, of these situations would be morally or ethically appropriate for genetic selection to be an option." Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB.

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