News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

October 2009

Level ≥ Lower intermediate Style ≥ Lesson plan
Welcome to the Guardian Weekly’s special news-based materials to support learners and teachers of English. Each month, the Guardian Weekly newspaper selects topical news articles that can be used to practise English language skills. The materials are graded for two levels: advanced and lower intermediate. These worksheets can be downloaded free from guardianweekly.co.uk/learningenglish/. You can also find more advice for teachers and learners on the site.

Clinic for internet addicts opens in US
Materials prepared by Janet Hardy-Gould

Instructions
Lesson focus: Materials sheet: Time:

reading, role play copies of the article 50 minutes Answers: 1 c 2 b 3 a 4 c 5 a 6 b 4 Ask students if they have a good memory. Read the text out loud this time, while the students follow the text and remember as many details as possible. Then ask them to cover up the article. Read out the questions below. In pairs students note the answers. 10 mins a Where is the new centre? b How much does the course cost? c How long is the course? d When did Cash have her first addicted patient? e What internet game did Ben play? f How many hours a day did Ben play the game? Answers: a Seattle. b $14,000. c 45 days. d 1994. e World of Warcraft. f 16 or 17. 5 Students now do a role play in pairs between Ben and his last friend at college. The friend suggests to Ben how he can change his life. Go through possible suggestions and answers eg “Why don’t you join a university club?”; “I suppose so”. Students prepare their roles and then do the role play. 15 mins

1 Tell students they are going to read an article about the hobby of a 19-year-old American man. Ask them to guess the hobby. Brainstorm a list including playing video games and surfing the internet. 3 mins 2 Then ask: What are the positive and negative things about hobbies? For example: positive – they can help you to socialise with other people, negative – they can take up most of your time. In pairs, students write a list of positive and negative things. During class feedback feed in vocabulary: social life, group activities, take a break from, addicted to/addict, glued to. 10 mins 3 Give out the questions below and go through them. Give out copies of the article. Students read and choose correct answers. Class feedback. 12 mins 1 The centre is for people who spend too much time: a at the office. b on the phone. c online. 2 The residents at the centre do activities: a in pairs. b in small groups. c in big groups. 3 Cash’s first patient was addicted to: a video games. b exercising. c household chores. 4 People have been slow to recognise the addiction in: a China. b South Korea. c the US. 5 Ben began to have problems when he started: a at college. b at the centre. c at work. 6 Ben found the game a good way to: a study. b meet people. c help his problem.

News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

October 2009

Materials sheet

Article: Clinic for internet addicts opens in US
1 If you have to take a quick break from reading this article to send a text message or check your Blackberry, then the good news is that help is at hand. 2 A new centre for cyberspace addicts has opened in the US city of Seattle. It claims to be America’s first residential centre for people addicted to the internet and video games. 3 For $14,000, six people at a time can spend 45 days fighting against their constant need to connect to the internet. Residents are given counselling and psychotherapy, as well as group activities such as household chores, walks in the grounds and exercising. 4 The centre, in the countryside about 50km outside Seattle, is the idea of therapist Hilarie Cash. She recorded her first case of cyberspace addiction in 1994, with a patient so glued to video games that he lost his marriage and two jobs. But until this summer she had only met patients on a day-by-day basis. 5 Cash points out that although countries such as China, South Korea and Taiwan have places where internet addicts can find help, America has been slow to recognise the problem. 6 Ben Alexander, 19, was one of the centre’s first residents. He became addicted to the video game World of Warcraft, which took up most of his time awake. He started playing the game when he was a new student at Iowa University. “At first it was a couple of hours a day. By midway through the first semester, I was playing 16 or 17 hours a day,” he said. 7 By comparison to the whizz-bang on the screen in front of him, the social life at university seemed very boring. He came to see the game as an “easy way to socialise and meet people”. Alexander eventually left the university and found help with his gaming problem. 8 “I don’t think I’ll go back to World of Warcraft any time soon,” he said. Original article by Ed Pilkington, rewritten by Janet Hardy-Gould

Ben Alexander, left, gets therapy Stephen Brashear/AP Photo

Student tasks
1 Read the article to choose the correct answers to these quesions. 1 The centre is for people who spend too much time: a at the office. b on the phone. c online. 2 The residents at the centre do activities: a in pairs. b in small groups. c in big groups. 3 Cash’s first patient was addicted to: a video games. b exercising. c household chores. 4 People have been slow to recognise the addiction in: a China. b South Korea. c the US. 5 Ben began to have problems when he started: a at college. b at the centre. c at work. 6 Ben found the game a good way to: a study. b meet people. c help his problem. 2 Listen to the questions and write your answers here a b c d e f

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