Harry Fights Back ! The power of the tabloids in the United Kingdom..

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – SEPTEMBER 23: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit the Nyanga Township during their royal tour of South Africa on September 23, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Harry Fights Back

  1. Do you know the names of the tabloids in the United Kingdom? What are the names of the more serious newspapers?
  2. What members of the Royal Family do we hear about most? Do you have any favourites?
  3. What is your opinion of the Royal Family? What is the Queen’s role compared to a President?
  4. What are the advantages/disadvantages of having a monarch?
  5. How influential is the press in your country? Can you give examples of the power of the press?
  6. Do you read tabloids and people magazines? What kind of public figures do the press usually attack in your country? Do you consider this to be similar to bullying?

Important vocabulary

A tabloid

A ruthless campaign

Relentless propaganda

Digital age

Newborn son


To vilify

At someone’s expense

To be a silent witness

Press coverage

Chip paper

My deepest fear


History repeating itself

Watch the news report about Harry and Meghan

Prince Harry’s full statement on his family’s relationship with the media, issued on Tuesday night (02.10.2019) after his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday over its decision to publish a private letter she had sent to her father.

As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world – on every level – we have never needed responsible media more.

Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.

There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been. Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe. One day’s coverage is no longer tomorrow’s chip-paper.

Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations – something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.

It is for this reason we are taking legal action, a process that has been many months in the making. The positive coverage of the past week from these same publications exposes the double standards of this specific press pack that has vilified her almost daily for the past nine months; they have been able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave. She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day, just as she is the same woman you’ve seen on this Africa tour.

For these select media this is a game, and one that we have been unwilling to play from the start. I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.

This particular legal action hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media. The contents of a private letter were published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question. In addition to their unlawful publication of this private document, they purposely misled you by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.

There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level. We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.

Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.

We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it.

Just to finish, here is a video about the more fun sides of the Queen!


Understanding (or at least trying to understand!) the Brexit

Spaces and Exchanges

The Brexit is a perfect topic for illustrating the notion of Spaces and Exchanges. What will be the implications for the movement of people and of goods across the new borders? How will industries and businesses be affected by the new taxes placed on cross-border trade? How will the fishing industry be organised? How will people be able to travel out of and to the UK? How will student exchanges be affected? There are so many questions and the answers are not always clear.

  • For a simple explanation about the Brexit take a look at the BBC’s « Newsround » website.
  • The Northern Irish Border is also very important in the Brexit negotiations. Watch this video to understand just why the problem of the Backstop is holding things up. It also explains the history of the troubles in Northern Ireland and why the border is so important.
  • You can also read this article on the Speakeasy website which explains what is the difference between a « hard Brexit » and a « soft Brexit » and what is « no deal ».
  • Finally with such a complex subject it helps to have some humour. Here is funny video about the « Brexit divorce »!

Les 4 notions au BAC – définitions et idées pour les illustrer

1.Myths and Heroes

What is a myth?

myth is a well-known story which was made up in the past to explain natural events or to justify religious beliefs or social customs. There may not be records or other proof that they happened, but at least some parts of myths may be true. All cultures have myths.

What is a hero?

hero is someone who is admired for either for their courage, qualities or particular achievements. They can be regarded as an ideal or role model. A hero can also be someone that you know personally and that you look up to, usually because of a particular quality or skill that they have.

What can we talk about to illustrate this notion?

  • a patriotic or national hero (sportsman, politician, human rights defender)
  • a fictitious hero (superhero or film star)
  • an icon or role model (fashion, tv, music)
  • a historical personality
  • mythical places in the world

Ideas for topics:

  • Historical heroes : how did they pave the way for others?
  • Rags to riches stories : Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, JK Rowling…
  • Disgraced heroes in sport :Oscar Pistorius, Lance Armstrong…
  • Founding myths of the United States (Pilgrim Fathers, the Constitution, Thanksgiving)
  • The American Dream – stories about those how have succeeded but also reasons to believe that it is simply a myth : the American Dream is dead
  • Heroes or fallen heroes of the Vietnam War that are portrayed in American films (Platoon, Born on the 4th July, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket)
  • National leaders or political figures who can be considered as heroes: Queen Elizabeth II, Obama, Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzi …..
  • American movies : superheroes such as Superman or Captain America and their role in society: why do Americans love superheroes?
  • Reality TV stars – are they the new heroes?
  • Famous British film characters: Sherlock Holmes, James Bond
  • British heroes or heroines: Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Stephen Hawking
  • The heroes of Irish independance
  • British myths and legends: Robin Hood, King Arthur, the Loch Ness Monster

2. Spaces and Exchanges

Our modern world is built on the exploration and the conquest of new spaces. Nations are becoming more and more dependant on each other and our world seems geographically smaller then ever before thanks to improved transportation and communication systems. Throughout history trade, emigration, communication and conquest have brought about numerous cultural, political and economical exchanges across the world

What can we talk about to illustrate this notion?

  • Trade exchanges across borders
  • Globalisation
  • Immigration
  • Language and educational exchanges
  • Cultural exchanges (arts, media, fashion, music)
  • International communication
  • Internet and social networks

Ideas for topics:

  • The Brexit – how will it affect Europe and trade across borders?
  • New technologies and internet and their influence on world trade
  • Globalisation – McDonalds/Starbucks/Amazon/Apple (to name but a few!)
  • The US-Mexican border issue
  • The Cold War
  • Space exploration (Satellites/ Life on Mars/ Missions to the Moon
  • The brain drain: the emigration of talented/highly educated individuals from developing countries to seek a higher standard of living elsewhere (doctors and scientists leaving India for example)
  • Northern Ireland (history of the country and it’s relationship with Ireland, and more recently the « backstop » in the Brexit deal)
  • Immigration to the USA (Ellis Island, colonial period, Trump’s policies…)
  • Culture shock
  • South Africa (immigration history)
  • Canada (labour shortage and need for immigrants)
  • The Commonwealth (the role of the Queen and the link between the different Commonwealth countries)

3. The Idea of Progress

This notion can be defined as an improvement, a development or a change in technology, science and social organisation which bring about a positive change to our society. These advances help improve our daily lives and give us a better quality of life. Social progress, scientific progress and economic development are usually considered as having a positive effect on our society however there are some cases where this change can have a negative effect too. Very often progress is also accompanied by opposition because society isn’t comfortable with the changes being made (same sex marriage, women’s rights, minority rights for example).

What can we talk about to illustrate this notion?

  • Scientific Progress such as medical advances, cures for illnesses, cloning, performance-enhancing drugs, genetically modified organisms.
  • Technological Progress such as technologies to slow down climate change: hybrid cars, wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel
  • New forms of communication: the internet, social media, satellite
  • Social Progress: changes that affect the social and environmental needs of a society. This can include wellness (health, shelter and sanitation), equality, inclusion, sustainability and personal freedom and safety.

Ideas for topics:

  • Designer babies – the ethical considerations
  • Internet and social networks – improvement to international communications
  • Cyberbullying and cyber criminality
  • Suffragettes – the right for women to vote
  • The civil rights movement in the USA
  • Same-sex marriage and the redefinition of family values
  • Equal access to education for girls and women
  • The end to apartheid in South Africa
  • New techologies to produce energy and protect the environment
  • The effects of industrial progress on the environment (greenhouse effect, melting ice caps, rising of ocean levels, ocean temperature increase
  • New methods for predicting severe weather (tsunami, tornado, storm warnings) that save thousands of lives
  • Journalism and internet and the problem of fake news
  • Progress in India: is it a modern country?
  • Online shopping: the pros and cons (increase in the offer of goods but decrease in the number of shops in towns and cities)
  • Equality: the same rights for women and men (salaries, number of women in influential positions)

4. Places and forms of power (or seats and forms of power)

In politics and social science, power is the ability to influence people’s behaviour. In order to be able to live together, members of a community draw up rules, regulations and law and try to respect them. This helps to create social cohesion but can also lead to conflicts and tensions when certain members of the community disagree with these rules. This notion deals with the different forms of power in the world and the places where it is exerted. It also includes the counter powers and the struggles when people try to resist.

What can we talk about to illustrate this notion?

  • Civil rights movements across the world
  • Financial power
  • The power of the press
  • The different places where power is exerted (parliaments, palaces, White House, Downing Street…)
  • Resistance to power (uprisings, riots, demonstrations)
  • The struggle for equality
  • The power of language
  • The power of the arts/cinema

Ideas for topics:

  • The Gun control debate in the USA – the US Constitution
  • Social media and the internet – the influence on our lives
  • Ellis Island – how immigration was controlled in the USA
  • The Brexit – how the media were able to influence the voting process
  • The superpowers: how can these countries influence events across the world
  • President Trump and his environmental policies
  • Wall Street and the 2008 financial crisis
  • Love of power – people who have made a name for themselves in history: Obama, Churchill, Kennedy, Mandela
  • The influence of Queen Elizabeth II and the role of the Monarchy
  • Violence in cinema/ video games: can it encourage people to be violent?
  • The different scandals in the media: how it can affect people’s lives
  • The power of art: Banksy – how his works bring our attention to a different side of the truth

Compréhension Orale – Spaces and Exchanges

The immigration debate in the USA

A new video to help you train for the oral comprehension exam

The hidden life of a US undocumented immigrant

To go further on the immigration debate in the USA you could also talk about the latest TV advertisement for Aeromexico

S’entraîner à l’épreuve de compréhension orale

maxresdefaultHappy New Year!

Back to school and it’s time to prepare the oral comprehension exam (for the Bac S and ES)

Here are several links to videos to help you prepare for the exam. The videos are the same length as the actual exam and you will hear each recording 3 times with time to write your notes. You will find include the text underneath the video to check your understanding.


Des conseils pour vous aider à préparer votre oral d’anglais

study-motivation-quotes (1)

L’oral d’anglais approche et vous cherchez désespérément sur internet des conseils pour vous aider à vous préparer à cette épreuve? Ce n’est pas facile de savoir exactement ce qu’on vous demande puisqu’elle est abordée de façon différente selon l’établissement où vous la passez. Il est donc très important de demander à vos professeurs ce qu’ils attendent exactement de vous.

Tout au long des deux années de 1ère et Terminale vous avez étudié 3 ou 4 notions et le jour de l’épreuve vous aurez à tirer au sort une de ces notions. Dans certains lycées on a le droit d’enlever une notion pour laquelle on se sent moins à l’aise.

Une fois que vous avez tiré cette notion au sort vous avez 10 minutes pour préparer votre « exposé ».  Qu’est ce qu’on attend de vous exactement?

  1. Définir la notion
  2. Faire un lien entre la notion et ce que vous avez vu en classe
  3. Proposer une problématique et répondre à cette problématique en faisant référence aux documents vus en classe (pas obligatoirement tous les documents vus en cours et vous pouvez aussi en rajouter que vous avez trouvé vous-même!)
    On n’attend pas une description des documents mais plutôt que vous les utilisez pour répondre à votre problématique.
  4. Donner une conclusion où vous donnez votre avis sur le sujet et cela peut servir d’ouverture pour la conversation de la deuxième partie de l’épreuve.

Il est important de préparer cet exposé chez vous à l’avance mais en aucun cas on attend du « par coeur ». L’essentiel est de communiquer avec l’examinateur, de le convaincre, de l’intéresser (parce qu’il voit beaucoup de personnes en une journée!) et si vous le pouvez, l’épater! Il ne s’agit pas de présenter juste les documents mais de proposer une problématique intéressante et ensuite utiliser les documents pour répondre à cette problématique.

Si il faut apprendre des choses par coeur c’est plutôt des mots et expressions pour lier des différentes parties de votre présentation. Vous trouverez des exemples ici:


Dans la deuxième partie de l’épreuve n’hésitez pas à donner votre avis personnel et surtout si vous le pouvez faire référence à des films, séries ou livres que vous connaissez.

Finalement voici quelques expressions que vous pouvez utiliser:

1. Introducing the notion

  • I’d like to talk about the notion of progress
  • I’m going to deal with the notion of spaces and exchanges
  • I’d like to begin by giving a definition of….
  • First I will explain what I understand by……

2. Introducing your key question (problématique)

  • In order to illustrate this notion I will try to answer the question:
  • So I would like to try to answer the question why…..
  • We can ask ourselves why……..
  • Let’s take a look at why/how/ in what way/ to what extent…….

3. Presenting your plan and documents

  • My presentation is made up of two/three main parts
  • I will base my presentation on two main points
  • I would first like to concentrate on… and then I will move on to… and finally I will take a look at…..
  • I will begin with an insight into….. after I will take…… into consideration…. and to conclude I would like to talk about……
  • In order to illustrate this notion I have chosen 3 documents which we studied in class this year.
  • I would like to talk about several documents that we looked at this year ….
  • In addition to the documents we studied in class I would also like to talk about…..

4. Talking about a document/article/video

  • This document raises the point of…/ focuses on…/deals with
  • The main idea behind this article is that….
  • This article points out/underlines the fact that/stresses the fact that…..
  • The journalist draws our attention to the fact that….
  • The artist is trying to show how much…..
  • The author raises the problem of…….
  • He suggests that….
  • He tries to point out that…..
  • The narrator/author/writer approves of….
  • The author totally disagrees with the idea of….
  • The journalist disapproves of….
  • The illustrator is trying to warn us against….

5. Giving your opinion

  • In my opinion/from my point of view/as far as I am concerned…..
  • I really feel that….
  • I get the impression that…
  • I can’t help thinking that….
  • I have the feeling that….
  • I totally disagree with the fact that…
  • There is no doubt that…
  • It is impossible to deny that….
  •  I am convinced that……
  • I really find it hard to believe that….

6. Coming to a conclusion

  • To conclude I would like to say that
  • All in all I would like to point out that
  • To sum up I would like to say
  • By way of conclusion I would like to say that
  • In conclusion we can say that……
  • So to recap I’d like to finish/end/wind up by saying
  • Before I finish I’d finally like to say…
  • To put it in a nutshell (attention! cette expression est parfois un peu trop utilisée maintenant donc ça risque de moins impressionner les examinateurs!)


Surtout n’oubliez pas que l’examinateur va voir plusieurs élèves de suite et parfois plusieurs jours de suite. Si vous le pouvez, essayez d’être un peu original et ne faites pas simplement un copier-coller d’un texte que vous avez trouvé sur internet – de toute façon vous n’allez pas vous en rappeler! N’oubliez pas qu’il s’agit d’une conversation entre vous et l’examinateur et que pour l’intéresser il faut que vous aussi vous soyez intéressé par le sujet. Si vous faites des erreurs de temps/grammaire ne paniquez pas.. corrigez si vous le pouvez et passez à la suite. Sans parler en français! Et sinon si vous n’êtes pas sûr vous pouvez toujours utiliser une petite expression:

  • I’m not quite sure that this is how you say it in English but……
  • I hope I’m not wrong when I say that….
  • I’m not totally sure but I think that…
  • I hope I’m right in saying that….
  • I can’t quite remember how to say it in English
  • I have forgotten how to say…..
  • It has totally slipped my mind how to say….

Good luck!!! You can do it!! 🙂

PS: n’oubliez pas que tous les conseils ici sont gratuits! merci de bien vouloir désactiver votre bloqueur de publicité sur cette page pour que l’accès aux conseils et articles restent gratuit!

Vidéos pour vous aider à préparer la compréhension orale


Here are a few links to help you prepare the oral comprehension part of the BAC

The first one is a general explanation of the exam and some tips to help you earn points!


The second link is a channel on YouTube with different videos to help you prepare the exam. You can watch with or without subtitles and the 1 minute breaks are included in the video to put you in the real situation of the exam:

Here is just one example. You can subscribe to the channel for more videos:

S’entraîner pour la compréhension orale du BAC


Comment ça se passe?

Vous allez écouter 3 fois un enregistrement de 1 minute 30. Le titre vous est communiqué au  début de l’épreuve avant la première l’écoute. Chaque écoute sera séparée d’une pause de 1 minute pour la prise de notes. Vous aurez ensuite 10 minutes pour résumer par écrit en français de ce que vous avez compris.

Comment rédiger son compte rendu?

Il faut résumer en français ce que vous avez compris, avec autant de détails que possible sans commenter ni donner son avis.
Pour cela il peut être utile de préparer un tableau en 3 colonnes. Vous pouvez compléter vos notes au fil des écoutes.
● Avant la première écoute
Préparez votre brouillon et essayez d’anticiper le contenu du document à partir du titre,
● Pendant chaque écoute
Concentrez-vous et mémorisez un maximum. N’essayez pas d’écrire et écouter en même temps.
● Pendant les deux pauses de 1 minute
Rajoutez les éléments que vous avez mémorisés dans votre tableau. Ne mettez sur le brouillon que des éléments/mots essentiels. C’est à partir de ce brouillon que vous rédigerez des phrases complètes directement sur la copie.
● Pendant les 10 dernières minutes
Réorganisez vos notes pour construire le plan du résumé en utilisant des mots de liaison pour établir les liens logiques entre les paragraphes. Dans votre introduction annoncez la nature du document, et l’identité du ou des locuteurs. Concluez
éventuellement par un commentaire sur l’attitude du locuteur.

Comment s’entraîner?

Voici quelques liens pour vous aider à vous entraîner:

Sur YouTube vous trouverez le super site de Mrs S avec des dizaines d’entraînements formatées en condition de bac: 3 écoutes ponctuées de pauses d’une minute, puis 10 minutes pour rédiger en français votre résumé, jusqu’au bip final. Vous y trouverez également le script et le vocabulaire pour vous aider avec le texte. Voici quelques exemples:




Help! What is a notion and how do I describe it?


Voilà la rentrée est faite et votre professeur d’anglais a commencé à vous parler des différentes « notions » que vous allez étudier tout au long de l’année. Il va peut être vous demander de trouver une définition pour chaque notion (sans regarder sur internet!) – mais comment donner une définition simple et claire pour chaque notion?

Vous trouverez ici des définitions pour les quatre notions que vous allez étudier- à vous de les utiliser et écrire à votre façon. Sous chaque définition vous trouverez également une liste de sujets qui pourraient  être utilisés pour illustrer cette notion.

Si vous avez d’autres idées pour illustrer les notions, des liens, des articles ou des vidéos que vous avez aimé, merci de les partager en bas de l’article et je les intégrerai dans l’article par la suite.

Je profite de la rentrée pour vous rappeler que ce blog reste (et restera ) entièrement gratuite et que j’aimerais que ça devient de plus en plus un endroit de partage de bonnes idées et de conseils – pour les lycéens ainsi que les profs!

Aussi si vous utilisez un bloqueur de publicité je vous remercie de le désactiver sur cette page, la publicité de la page étant le seul revenu pour tout le travail fourni. Thank you 🙂

Myths and Heroes

Myths are stories that are based on tradition. Some may have factual origins, while others are completely fictional, but myths are just as important to us today as in ancient cultures because they help explain the world and man’s experience. They help to answer questions, they reassure us and sometimes even give people hope. The subjects of myths are usually based on topics such as birth, death, the origin of man, good and evil and the nature of man himself.

Myths are not always optimistic – they can also be a form of warning. In this way we can consider them to be instructive and a sort of guide to social norms. They tell us how we should and should not behave. They can be used to justify choices when times are hard.

Just like myths, heroes can be real or completely fictional. A hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her achievements, a superhero or maybe a role model or an icon. Heroes are people we can look up to, people we would like to ressemble – whether they are sports personalities or political figures. A hero is not necessarily someone famous, it can be a member of our family or circle of friends. Someone we simply admire.

Heroes lead, inspire, and entertain the masses. This is why heroes, with all their mistakes and shortcomings, are vital to humanity. Heroic stereotypes can be considered to be unrealistic and outdated, but heroes show how vital they are to society when they inspire younger generations to do great things, and when heroes influence movements toward the improvement of humanity.

Here are just a few examples that could be used to illustrate this notion:

  • rags to riches stories : Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, JK Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, and others here
  • Founding myths of the United States (Pilgrim Fathers, the Constitution, Thanksgiving)
  • the American Dream – stories about those how have succeeded but also reasons to believe that it is simply a myth : the American Dream is dead
  • Heroes or fallen heroes of the Vietnam War that are portrayed in American films (Platoon, Born on the 4th July, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket)
  • National leaders or figures who can be considered as heroes: Queen Elizabeth II, Obama, Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzi …..
  • Pop stars or sports heroes (and fallen idols)
  • American movies : superheroes such as Superman or Captain America and their role in society: why do Americans love superheroes?
  • Famous British film characters: Sherlock Holmes, James Bond
  • British heroes or heroines: Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Stephen Hawking…..
  • British myths and legends: Robin Hood, King Arthur, the Loch Ness Monster

The Idea of Progress

The idea of progress is the idea that advances in technology, science and social organisation can bring about a positive change to our society. These advances help improve our daily lives and give us a better quality of life. Social progress, scientific progress and economic development are usually considered as having a positive effect on our society however there are some cases where this change can have a negative effect too. Very often progress is also accompanied by opposition because society isn’t comfortable with the changes being made (same sex marriage, women’s rights, minority rights to name but a few). We can ask ourselves whether progress is always positive?

There are many kinds of progress and they can be divided in diverse areas.

A. Technological progress

The technological advances of the last decades have totally changed the world we know today. If we take the example of the arrival of internet and access to computers and smartphones it is easy to see to what extent our lives and our relationships with others have been completely transformed. On the one hand we have access to far more information than before, we can easily communicate across borders, buy new products, be informed about the latest news events, share our opinions about different topics but on the negative side many people have become addicted to social media and this creates new problems such as depression, isolation, bullying, cybercriminality…..

Of course there are other types of technological progress that have a more positive impact on society – means of transport, robots, means of communication, energy production, protection of the environment.


B. Scientific progress

Scientific progress has had a direct impact on the improvement of human life. Thanks to advances in medicine we can cure illnesses that could never have been cured in the past. Vaccinations protect millions of children from disease. Antibiotics, painkillers and other medical treatments have helped to improve our general state of health and survival rates. But could there be a point were progress come too far? What should be the importance given to ethics? What about scientific progress in the area of cures for illnesses, cloning, performance enhancing drugs,   genetically modified organisms etc?


C. Social progress

Social progress most often comes about when members of a population feel unhappy with their living conditions or their social rights. Change most often comes about following a fight for rights and this change sometimes accompanied by severe opposition.

Examples that can be used to illustrate this notion:

  • easy communication across the world via internet and the impact this information has on our daily lives
  • information from satellites warning us about severe weather conditions
  • robots and automation in the workplace
  • addiction to smartphones and video games
  • cyberbullying or cybercriminality
  • facebook and twitter and how quickly rumours can spread
  • the pros and cons of medical advances
  • performance enhancing drugs in the sports world
  • « designer » babies
  • the Space race
  • Euthanasia
  • Industrial pollution
  • Ocean pollution
  • the ethics of progress: tests on animals/abortion/cloning/genetically modified organisms
  • the «Suffragettes», an organisation set up by women in Britain to fight for the right to vote at the beginning of the 20th Century
  • the Civil Rights Movement in the US characterized by acts of non violent protest and civil disobedience
  • same-sex marriage in several countries across the world
  • access to education for women
  • the end to apartheid in South Africa


Places and Forms of Power (sometimes called Seats and Forms of Power)

Power is the ability to control others, events, or resources; to succeed in doing what you want to do in spite of obstacles, resistance, or opposition. Power can be held but can also be quickly taken away, lost, or stolen. There is usually conflict between those with power and those without. Power is also associated with authority and influence and certain places can be associated with the authority – for example the White House and the President of the USA, 10 Downing Street and the British Prime Minister,  A place of power can also be a country or a state –  for example the USA is a state which is powerful enough to influence events throughout the world (superpower) and China is a major economic power in today’s world. Power is exercised by states — through military and police, through political groups and bureaucracies, through legislation; it is exercised by corporations and organizations or by social movements within society.

Members of a community accept rules and regulations in order to live or work together but this can also lead to conflict and tensions.

Here are some ideas to help illustrate this notion:

  • America’s gun problem and the gun debate
  • The Civil Rights movement and political recognition (Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela)
  • Financial power: global financial crises and recession
  • The power of the media: influence over public opinion during elections, reality tv, 24h news channels, tabloid newspapers and scandal stories
  • The power of advertising: how demand is created for new products, designer brands, smartphones, sports clothes (sponsoring)
  • Cinema and power: how do films influence society? Movie stars using their fame to influence public opinion on certain topics (Leonardo Dicaprio, Schwarzenegger)
  • Arts and Power: using art for addressing political, social, and moral issues through paintings (Banksy)
  • The power of education: improving knowledge and education across the world and enabling access to education for all (Malala)
  • The power of music and the music industry: songs used to change people’s opinions on political subjects (vietnam war, US President, poverty, climate change), pop stars who use their fame to bring about changes in the world (Bono, Bob Geldof, Madonna)
  • Political power/terrorism/wars/monarchies/nuclear weapons


Spaces and Exchanges

This notion deals with the idea of giving one thing and receiving another in return    (exchange) and also with the places (or « spaces ») where  these exchanges take place. It is the idea that in today’s modern-day world there are more and more exchanges taking place, more and more interaction between different populations, business, students, families etc. These exchanges can take several forms:  economic – work exchanges, exchange of goods, trading across borders,  cultural – exchange of ideas, information, education,  movement of people – immigration, student exchanges, gap years…  Our modern-day world is changing quickly and seems to be a smaller place due to improvements in technology and communication. Information exchange has become easier thanks to the internet and international trade has enabled us to expand our markets for goods and services that might not have been available to us.

More and more people are crossing borders, leaving their countries to seek better lives elsewhere. This migration can be for several reasons: economic migration – moving to find work or follow a particular career path, social migration – moving somewhere for a better quality of life or to be closer to family or friends, political migration – moving to escape political persecution or war.

These different cultural, economic, sociological and language interactions have transformed and characterised our modern-day world – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

Here are some ideas of topics that could be used to illustrate this notion:

  • Globalisation: what is it and what are the positive and negative effects? (BBC link)
  • How internet is changing international business exchanges (product availability, prices, demand…)
  • How internet is changing cultural exchanges (access to information across borders, easier and faster communication but also negative effects)
  • The brain drain: migration of personnel in search of the better standard of living and quality of life, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and more stable political conditions in different places worldwide
  • Student exchanges – work placements and gap years in foreign countries
  • Social media – the advantages and disadvantages of increased access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Cybercriminality, identity theft, cyberbullying, internet scams….
  • Immigration: the reasons why people migrate and what effect this has on the countries they migrate to and migrate from
  • Immigration to the USA – the problem between Mexico and the USA
  • Immigration to the UK – the migrant problem
  • The reasons for Irish immigration to America
  • The first Americans/ the pilgrims
  • Exchanges across borders – how the European Union was created and how it has developed
  • The Brexit – why and how did it happen and what effect will it have on Europe?
  • The influence of wars and conflicts on the world economy and population