The Internet TESL Journal

Talking about the Top News Stories

Gerard Counihan
profesorSs [at]

These are a set of activities for low-intermediate and higher students.

Activity A

Get students to list off what they think are the top international news stories so far this year. Make a list of them. Examples: (Students must find their own)

Activity B

Discuss suggestions and questions the students have on their lists. Students must justify their choices.

Activity C

The following is a list of the top ten international stories in 1997, according to a study carried out in the UK. I have changed the order about, so get the students to put them in order. If the students do not know about some of the events, you can explain them or skip them, and reduce the list correspondingly.

Activity D

Discuss the answers.

This is the correct order of the top ten international stories in 1997.

Activity E

Compare and contrast the choices made by gender. You will be surprised by the student's answers. In my classes, the men said that they were quite affected by Lady Di's death, whereas a lot of women mentioned the cloning of Dolly.

Activity F

Now select the top ten news stories in your country/city/town. (Avoid anything too sensitive.)

Activity G

It seems that most big news is bad news. Is this true? Why? Can good news not be big news. Get the students to give examples of good news that made the news, either world-wide or in their town/country.

Activity H

Have you, personally, had any good news this year? A job? A new baby? A new partner? A new car?

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IV, No. 12, December 1998