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Harvard Professor Makes The Case For Optimism

Student Level


Video Length: 3:15

Updated on: 05/17/2023

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Lesson Description

In this ESL lesson plan for adults and teens, students watch and listen to an informative video about the current state of humanity and the world from the view of Steven Pinker, an author and professor. It includes discussion questions, conversation, and vocabulary activities about humanity, the world, the news, and optimism. Students then do some listening/viewing comprehension activities based on the video. The viewing follow-up includes some additional discussion, an activity on adjectives conveying optimistic or positive connotations, and news headlines. There is an additional optimistic news headlines task. There is a quiz & review as well as a lesson reflection included.

Video Description

Author and Harvard professor Steven Pinker lays out what he see as a basic paradox. The news today seems worse than ever - but based on a number of key metrics, Pinker argues the world is better than it's ever been. Pinker explores the data and makes the case for how can we tackle the world's problems while not drowning in negativity. That's the focus of his latest book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

Lesson Activities

Optimism, The News, The World, Humanity
Matching Activity, Facts, True / False, Missing Word Endings
Idioms, News Headlines, Adjectives
Optimistic News Headlines, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Optimism, Humanity, The World, The News

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