I came across a video when I was hunting for material to use with the COO of a chain of Brazilian shopping malls. It proved so intriguing, that now I sometimes show it to other students, if I can find a way to work it in. So here it is - a contribution to the ESL/EFL Carnival of Lessons. If you have any ideas for extending it, please share. It's for upper-intermediate students.
(Viewers in the UK may find they hit a copyright block, but they can find something similar here. UK : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1f_o7xgvl8
Thanks for that link Laura!)
When your students have watched it, ask the logical question: how did he do it?
Students unfamiliar with Derren Brown may have difficulty believing it’s for real at first. You can assure them it is – or ar least, as I understand it, it really did happen.
OK, onto the dictation task. Explain to your students that they’re going to listen again and find out what he said. Then hand out the text below. Derren said something similar, but not quite the same. Their task is to spot the differences and make a note of them.
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Pallisades Mall. We hope that your shopping experience is an uplifting one and I’d like to bring to your attention some very special offers today. Details of our special offers can be found by the elevators, so why not come right on up and see for yourselves. Our special offers will only be available for a short period of time, so all those customers wishing to reach out and grab this exciting opportunity should do so now.
For your reference, here’s what Derren actually said. Embedded (in CAPS) are hidden commands.
We hope that your shopping experience is an UPLIFTING ARM, and I’d like to bring to your PAY ATTENTION some very special offers today. Details of our special offers can be found HANDILY by the ELEVATORS, so why not come RIGHT ARM UP and SEIZE for yourselves. Our special offers will only be available for a short period of time, so all those customers wishing to REACH UP and GRAB this exciting opportunity should do so NOW.
So now your students are looking at what Derren Brown actually said: how do they think he did it?
The answer? Well, goodness knows really, but it seems shopping malls put us into some kind of trance where we become susceptible to subliminal messages. He mentioned at the start that:
- the recording was prerecorded and played throughout the shopping centre for about half an hour
- shopping malls are ‘the perfect place’ to find a large number of compliant people
(Sales people may be familiar with that technique.)
For a printable classroom worksheet with some vocabulary help and possible discussion questions, click here.
And if your students want to see more Derren Brown, they’ll find lots more to watch at youtube. For example: