Fear of the Pandemic
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level
To provide Ss with the opportunity to practice spontaneous, freer speech while discussing the topic of pandemics and epidemics (in the past and present).
To provide Ss with the opportunity to practice and use their detailed listening skills while completing a listening task.
Procedure (58-66 minutes)
Write on the WB PANDEMIC, EPIDEMIC, and OUTBREAK. Elicit from the WC the differences among these 3 forms of transmission of disease. Write on the WB the following quote from a historian of medicine, Frank M. Snowden. "Epidemics are a category of disease that seem to hold up the mirror to human beings as to who we really are." ['Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present.'] Elicit from the WC what they think the quote means and whether they agree with it. Write on the WB EPIDEMICS/PANDEMICS REVEAL OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH: MORTALITY, THE ENVIRONMENT, EACH OTHER Elicit from the WC what the coronavirus has revealed about us/our world [refer to the information on the WB]. "The coronavirus has also revealed some human behavior specific to how we respond to crisis." Write on the WB: HERD MENTALITY; PANIC-BUYING; STOCKPILING. Elicit from the WC what they know about these behaviors and how these phenomena have played out in Turkey versus the western world (specifically Europe and the US).
Inform the WC that they are going to watch an interview with Bill Gates, done in 2015, discussing his biggest fear for our future. Before Ss watch, elicit from the WC what they think Bill Gates might be afraid of. Before playing the video, write on the WB the following things. Instruct the Ss to listen for the details connected to these topics while watching the interview. 1) "The chances of an epidemic worse than Ebola [50%] 2) The two types of flu [spreads fast and deadly] 3) The origins of the name 'Spanish flu' [the spanish press spoke openly about the pandemic] 4) Why epidemics today spread quicker than in the 20th Century [modern transport] 5) How big of an investment to prepare for an epidemic" [$1 billion/year] Following a viewing of the interview, elicit from the WC the answers to the pre-listening questions. Focus on Point 2: "What type of flu is the coronavirus?" Focus on Point 5: "Was Gates correct? Is this an underestimate or an overestimate of the amount of funds needed to combat the coronavirus?" Elicit from the WC a general response to the interview. "What would Gates say about the coronavirus pandemic? Were we globally prepared for such an infectious disease?"
Write on the WB the following quote from the 20th Century Austrian journalist, Ernst Fischer. "In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable. And help to change it." Elicit from the WC what they think the quote means and whether they agree with it. Write on the WB some famous pandemics/epidemics (both historic and more recent). Elicit from the WC which ones they are familiar with and any details they know (e.g. which parts of the world did they affect; how much did they affect the world [how many people died]). PANDEMICS/EPIDEMICS IN HISTORY: THE BLACK DEATH THE SPANISH FLU TUBERCULOSIS HIV/AIDS EBOLA Poject on the WB 'The Triumph of Death' (by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Flemish Renaissance painter). Go through the painting with the WC. "What do you think is the message of this painting? Does this artwork reflect society, or is it trying to change society in some way?" Inform the WC, in pairs, to look through some artwork that was inspired by the aforementioned pandemics/epidemics. Instruct the Ss, with their partner, to discuss what they think is the message of the painter, and does the painting reflect society or is it trying to change society in some way. Distribute the HO on 'Art and Pandemics.' Following PW discussion, bring the WC together for FB.
"So what can we learn from all of this? Looking back through the history of pandemics and epidemics, society has learned and changed drastically in response to these disastrous diseases." Inform the Ss that for the remainder of the lesson they are going to read some facts connected to some major pandemics (and epidemics) in history. "How did society change as a result of these pandemics/epidemics? What did we learn from these pandemics/epidemics? And finally, what do you think we can learn from the current pandemic that we are facing?" Distribute the HO on 'The Past and Pandemics' to paired groups. Following PW discussion, bring the WC together for FB and any final thoughts on the subject.