Kony 2012 & International Justice (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

Download the Kony lesson plan here: Kony-2012-Africa-UppIntermediate-11032012.doc

Kony 2012 ESL Lesson Plan: Upper-Intermediate

Kony 2012 ESL Lesson Plan: Warm-up (Pair Work)

1) Do you give to charity? If not, why not? If so, which ones?
2) Have you ever stood up for someone else?
3) Is your country involved in any military action abroad? Do you support this involvement?
4) Who are the world’s worst criminals?

Kony 2012 & International Justice (March 10th, 2012)

In spring 2003, Jason Russell and two other American filmmakers visited Africa in search of a story. They found one in Uganda, home of the continent’s longest-running war. They heard accounts of the atrocities committed by warlord Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA rebel group. Frightened children recounted details of the nighttime raids carried out by Kony in order to abduct them and force them to become soldiers or soldier-wives.
Russell promised the local people to stop Kony, who was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as one of the world’s worst war criminals in 2005, and the LRA, which has kidnapped an estimated 66,000 children and displaced over two million people since 1986. Russell and his friends formed a not-for-profit (NPO) organization called Invisible Children to raise awareness of the LRA. Through their efforts, they succeeded in influencing the Obama government to send 100 military advisors to Africa in October 2011 to help kill or capture Kony. The mission, however, will expire at the end of 2012, and Kony remains at large. His army has moved from Uganda into neighboring regions.
Realizing time is of the essence, Invisible Children has launched an unconventional campaign to make Kony famous. In March they released a video entitled “Stop Kony”, which has since gone viral online and received over 90 million views (as of March 9th). The video tells the story of the LRA and encourages people to not only watch but also get involved by ordering posters, buttons, and other merchandise with Kony’s face on it. Then, on April 20th, supporters of the campaign will put up the posters in their hometowns, in hope of bringing recognition to the issue to ensure governments continue to press for Kony’s capture.
The campaign has been endorsed by celebrities such as George Clooney and Bill Gates. It has also been criticized for oversimplifying a complex issue and being a form of 21st century colonialism. Despite Kony 2012’s critics, what’s certain is that a nearly hundred million more people now know who Joseph Kony is. Time will tell what effect the campaign has on both the LRA and how international justice is brought about in the future. (363 words)
[Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kony_2012, http://www.kony2012.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kony]

Kony 2012 ESL Lesson Plan: Comprehension & Follow-Up Questions

1) Why were the children in Uganda afraid of Joseph Kony?
2) True or False: Invisible Children got Kony listed as a war criminal by the ICC.
3) Idiom: what does it mean if time is of the essence?
4) Why is time of the essence for Invisible Children?
5) What is unconventional about the Kony 2012 campaign?
6) What have campaign supporters planned for April 20th, 2012?
7) The campaign has been criticized as “21st century colonialism”. What does this mean?
8) Your opinion: What do you think of the Kony 2012 campaign?


1 – They were afraid of being kidnapped in the night and forced to become soldiers or sex slaves.
2 – False.
3 – It means that time is limited.
4 – Time is of the essence because the US’s commitment in Africa expires at the end of the year.
5 – They are trying to make him famous. That is unconventional.
6- They have planned to spread posters throughout their towns to make Kony famous.
7- It means that it’s an other example of the West telling other countries what to do, and how they should live their lives.
8 – …

Kony 2012 ESL Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the Kony ESL news lesson.
recount (verb)
abduct (verb)
indict (verb)
at large
go viral (phr. verb)
endorse (verb)
oversimplify (verb)
  • account – a description of sth that has happened
  • atrocity – a terrible act
  • recount (verb) – tell sb about sth
  • raid – a short surprise attack
  • abduct – kidnap
  • indict – official charge sb with a crime
  • at large – free; not captured
  • go viral – become popular incredibly quickly (online)
  • endorse – support
  • oversimplify – describe sth in a simple way that ignores some facts
  • colonialism – the practice by which a powerful country controls another

Kony 2012 ESL Lesson Plan: Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
account / atrocity
recount / raid
abduct / soldiers
indict / war crimes
at large / Bin Laden
go viral/ YouTube
endorse / campaign
criticism / oversimplify
Europe / colonialism

Kony 2012 ESL Lesson Plan: Intervention Debate

Student A: Student B has sent you a link to the Kony 2012 video. You disliked the video for two reasons: 1) the campaign itself is dumb, and 2) the West shouldn’t get involved in Africa’s problems. Spend a minute thinking of ways to support these two statements. Your partner will start the conversation.

Student B: You have just sent your friend, Student A, a link to the Stop Kony video. You support the campaign. Spend a minute thinking of reasons why the campaign is good, and why it’s important to help Africa. When ready, ask your partner what he/she thought of the video.

Kony 2012 ESL Lesson Plan: Slacktivism

Slacktivism is a new word. It is a combination of “slacker” & activism”. A slacker is a lazy person who avoids work. Thus, slacktivism is a lazy kind of activism done by people who feel good by sharing and promoting issues online without investing money or taking any real action.

>Questions: 1) Are you a slacktivist? 2) Is online activism worthwhile or worthless? 3) What role will social media have in tomorrow’s politics?

Kony 2012 Lesson Plan: Campaign (Optional Pair Work)

With a partner, decide what are the top problems facing your country or the world today (e.g. government corruption, drug abuse, obesity). Then, pick a problem and spend 2-3 minutes developing an unconventional campaign to help solve the issue. When finished, present your ideas to the class.

Kony 2012 ESL Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

  1. Would you donate money to Invisible Children?
  2. Intervention: would you support sending your country’s troops to stop Kony?
  3. You are camping in the wild and you come across two other campers, fighting, in the forest. One man is hurting the other, badly. There are no police nearby to call. What do you do? Why?
  4. Paradox: If saving children in Africa requires killing (LRA) child-soldiers, is it worth doing?

Kony ESL Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com

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