Belief in Conspiracy Theories (Upper-Intermediate EFL Lesson)

ESL/EFL Level: Upper-Intermediate
Skill Focus
: Speaking, Reading, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 1.75 hours
Lesson Plan Download: conspiracy-theories-lesson-upper-intermediate-102022.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • The reading passage discusses reasons for believing in conspiracy theories and the common traits of believers. The passage mentions the 5G and QAnon conspiracy theories and concludes with a summary of the criminality they have caused.
  • Post-reading activities include a graph for plotting the believability and harmfulness of popular conspiracy theories, a debate between a geography teacher and a conspiracy-inclined student, and a focus on logical fallacies and biases (namely, post hoc fallacy, confirmation bias, argument from ignorance, and the bandwagon effect.)
  • All lessons come with warm-up questions, comprehension questions, a vocabulary section, and discussion questions.

One dollar bill

Note to teachers: There are many videos that could go with this lesson. Here are some examples:

UPPER-INTERMEDIATE Lesson on Conspiracy Theories: Warm-up (Pair Work)

  1. Do you trust mainstream media? Why or why not?
  2. What is a conspiracy theory? How does it differ from an opinion?
  3. Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? Write down three possible reasons as a group.

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-- Lesson plan on Conspiracy Theories by Matthew Barton of EnglishCurrent.com (copyright). Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Comprehension Question Answers

  • ….
  • People’s desire to find patterns and draw connections in order to understand the world is what he believes led to such a theory.
  • Trump is the savior or protector of the world.
  • It implies that the author does not believe the clues are real.
  • It makes sense to be paranoid because doing so had evolutionary advantages, i.e. it helped groups survive.
  • The purpose of the final paragraph is to show that conspiracy theories are not harmless, but rather, can lead to serious real-world consequences.
  • ….
  • (Student’s opinion… The survey source is PRRI.org, which appears to be a legitimate research organization).

Vocabulary answers: 1-f, 2-k, 3-a, 4-j, 5-I, 6-L, 7-d, 8-b, 9-h, 10-c, 11-g, 12-e

Fallacies & Biases Answers: 1-Argument from ignorance, 2-confirmation bias, 3-bandwagon effect, 4-post hoc

Endnotes

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