Poor President

Posted on November 19, 2012


The first time I saw the video below the speakers on my computer weren’t working, which was quite fortuitous really ‘cos it gave me an idea!

The following is not really a full lesson (it should stretch to about an hour), but it should fit in nicely if you’re doing something related to money, wealth, salaries or politics. It’s suitable for higher-level adult learners of English.

Note : If you happen to be teaching in Uruguay, you might like to skip a-d in Step One.

Step One : Video

a) Tell your students they are going to watch a short video without sound. Tell them that it features an elderly man and that you would like them to use their imaginations to guess the answers to the following questions.

  1. Where does he live?
  2. What does he do?
  3. What sort of life does he lead?
  4. Is he married? Does he have a family?
  5. Why are there police officers outside his house?
  6. Why have the BBC made a report about him?

b) Play the video in full-screen mode until 01:00 – it is obviously important to hide the report headline and the news overlay which appears when José Mujica is being interviewed.
c) Give your students time to collect their thoughts, then put them in pairs or small groups to compare their ideas.

d) Now play the whole video with sound. Allow a few moments for gasps of surprise, then ask your students for their reactions.
e) Finally, play the video again with some comprehension questions. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. How does international media refer to him?
  2. Where exactly is the house?
  3. How does José Mujica define poor people?
  4. What does he own according to his latest declaration of wealth?
  5. What does he do with his salary?
  6. What is his political background?
  7. What do the people interviewed say about his lifestyle and political record?
  8. What do his approval ratings say about his popularity?
  9. What does his main political rival accuse him of?
  10. What does he hope for in the future?

Step Two : Conversation

Ask your students to discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups (I usually project these documents on the screen in full-screen mode – it saves on photocopies).

Hope you find these ideas useful!

Posted in: Video Lessons