Selling Wellness

Health and medicine are major topics in our social and media discussions.  How well your students understand the news articles and conversations happening around them determines the extent to which they can make informed decisions about their well-being.

Of course most beginner-intermediate ESL students have learned about the body, and how to talk about simple ailments, but Selling Wellness, from Trends, Book 2, challenges students to take their skills in reading, listening, and discussion around health and medicine to the next level.  Starting off with a short paragraph on prescription drug sales in the United States, Selling Wellness engages solid intermediate-level students with reading and discussion exercises that center on health and exercise, taking medicine, pharmaceutical advertising, and the growing epidemic of pharmaceutical drug abuse and unintentional deaths by overdose.

Selling Wellness also includes a simple review of body part vocabulary, commonly-used idioms dealing with illness, and a survey exercise that can be used either in-class, or as a homework project.    

The way I run this lesson…

I start off with writing the questions from the Discussion Questions section on the board.  Students stand and discuss the questions in pairs, changing partners every five or ten minutes.

Next, I tell students to take out a notebook and prepare to write the questions from the Comprehension Questions section.  I then dictate the questions, which the students write in their notebooks.

After this, the students turn to a new page in their notebooks.  I then read the report twice, and the students take notes.  Then, students pair up and work out the answers to the Comprehensions Questions.

Finally, I hand out the two pages of Selling Wellness to the students, and the students work to check the answers to their questions, and practice reading the paragraph for themselves out loud.

From here I have the students drill each other using the Selling Wellness Drill section.  With this, students change pairs, with one student turning his or her paper over, and the other student asking the questions.  The partner listens closely to each question and gives a full answer.  For example, if the question is, “Are Americans taking less medicine?”, the student should answer, “No, Americans are not taking less medicine.  They are taking more medicine.”  This is a great listening-and-response drill, and it further reviews the information given in the reading.

Next I have the students work out the Identification: Body Parts section, and then move on to the Discussion Exercise 1 section.  For this discussion section, I give the students five or ten minutes to write out their ideas on their own, and then I put them in small groups for discussion.

Finally, depending on the amount of time left in class, I either set the students off to survey each other using the Survey Exercise section, or I assign the Survey Exercise as homework, giving them parameters on how many people they must ask, etc.

Another option for teaching this lesson would be to make it even more student-centered by having the students themselves run the class!  See my blog entry titled, The Oasis of The Seas.

Please share your ideas…

Or maybe you have your own ideas on how to run this lesson.  Please share your ideas!   I would love to learn about any other ways you get your students talking and learning about health and fitness.