|With Answers! | Download the Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson plan here: Topic-Whistleblowing-Wigand-Tobacco-Advanced-02082011.doc|
Advanced Whistle-blowing ESL News Lesson Plan : Warm-up
1) What was the worst thing you did as a child? Did you get caught?
2) What does it mean if someone is a rat in your language?
3) Have you ever taken a complaint to your boss or the police?
4) What does it mean to blow the whistle?
Topic: Jeffrey Wigand the Whistle-blower
Jeffrey Wigand began working as a researcher at Brown & Williamson (B&W), an American tobacco company, in 1989. He and other scientists put forward the idea of developing a safer cigarette that would be less likely to cause cancer. His boss, however, told him to abandon the idea because a safer cigarette would highlight the harmful effects of other cigarettes. Wigand bit his tongue and gave up the project. He turned his attention to investigating the ingredients in his company’s products and found harmful additives that were poisonous and highly addictive. He also uncovered documents that showed company executives knew the truth about these additives, despite having made public statements to the contrary. Wigand asked to have these additives removed from their products. He was dismissed shortly after in March 1993.
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan : Comprehension Questions
1) Why did Wigand’s boss tell him to cancel his project to make a safer cigarette?
2) True or False: Wigand was fired for giving private documents to the media.
3) How does Wigand claim he was threatened?
4) What is a smear campaign? Who does Wigand claim started such a campaign? Why?
5) What was the result of the lawsuit?
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan : Vocabulary Matching
- put forward (an idea) – to suggest
- bite your tongue – stop yourself from speaking although you want to
- contrary – opposite
- dismiss – fire, sack, give someone their notice
- testify – state sth is true in a court of law
- smear – make sth appear dirty or damage sb's reputation by telling lies
- undermine – make sth weaker and less effective
- comb through – examine thoroughly
- no avail – of no use, useless
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan : Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.
government / uprising
put forward / proposal
bite your tongue / boss
|dismiss / whistle / blow|
|scandal / undermine / credibility|
testify / mafia
politician / smear / reputation
|comb through / newspaper|
efforts / no avail
- The company has put forward a proposal to open a manufacturing plant in Kenya.
- I thought the idea was stupid, but I had to bite my tongue because it was my boss' idea.
- I knew that I would be dismissed if I blew the whistle
- The scandal undermined the credibility of the politician during his campaign.
- The man was scared to testify against the mafia.
- The politician launched a smear campaign to destroy the reputation of his opponent.
- Andy combed through the newspaper for any reference to the fire on his street.
- Barb's efforts to lose weight were to no avail.
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan: Idiom Focus
used to state that the opposite of what sb said is true
A: Cobras are the deadliest animals on Earth.
B: On the contrary, mosquitoes cause far more human deaths than cobras.
showing or suggesting the opposite
“Regardless of what people say to the contrary, I know Alan would never steal.”
- A: You spent your vacation at HOME?? It must have been terrible.
- B: On the contrary, .
- Although B&W had made public statements to the contrary,.
- On the contrary, it was very relaxing.
- Although B&W had made public statements to the contrary, it had acknowledged the poisonous and addictive affects of the additives in its internal documents.
of no use, producing no benefit. (*usually used in the negative)
Efforts by workers to fix the crack were of no avail. / They worked to no avail.
- Peter’s charisma was of no avail because he wasn’t given a chance to speak.
- The doctor tried to,but his efforts were of no avail.
- I argued to no avail. My wife .
- , but to no avail.
- The doctor tried to revive the patient, but his efforts were of no avail.
- I argued to no avail. My wife did not want to watch football.
- The firemen tried to break the door down, but to no avail.
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan: Brainstorming
Why might someone NOT blow the whistle on his or her employer? Think of reasons for 1-2 minutes and then discuss your ideas with the class.
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan: Debate (Pair Work)
Your support this policy. Think of reasons why adopting this policy would be beneficial (1-2 minutes). Start the debate when you’re ready by presenting your ideas to your partner.
You are against this. Think of reasons why such a policy might harm the company [for example, it may contribute to an environment of mistrust, it might make it hard to fire bad employees, etc]. Your partner will begin the debate.
Whistle-blowing ESL Lesson Plan : Discussion Questions
(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish).
- Is Jeffrey Wigand a hero?
- What are some questions a person should consider before deciding to whistle-blow?
- LOYALTY: should employees be loyal to their company or the public good?
- COMPENSATION CULTURE: do smokers have the right to sue tobacco companies for damages?
- WIKILEAKS: Wikileaks publishes private information, often obtained from whistleblowers, to the public. Do you support Wikileaks?
- What whistle-blower cases do you know of?
- What kind of protection does your government provide for whistleblowers?
- Do you believe the company really made death threats to Wigand?
Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com