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Pre-Intermediate Instant Lesson™

Homework For Sale

Pre-Reading Activities

A:Tell Someone Else
Answer these questions in pairs.
1. When you do homework, do you often get help from your parents or someone else? Why or why not?
2. Do you think homework is a good idea for students at elementary school? Why or why not?

B: Discussion

Answer this question in pairs.
 A child does his or her math homework. Which is more important:
i. Getting the answers correct but not understanding how to get the answers?
or
ii. Getting answers wrong but understanding how to get the correct answers next time?
Why do you think this?


C: Vocabulary
Look at the words below. These words are in today's article. In pairs decide which word is different from the other words. Say why the word is different from the other words.
Example: dog, cat, desk, bird
Answer: Desk is the odd one out because it is different from the other words. The other words are animal words.
1. consumer, pupil, schoolteacher, education
2. website, Internet, homepage, price
3. defend, buy, pay, cost

Reading Activities

A: Finding The Main Idea
Read today's article quickly. Answer the questions.
1. Who was the website for? 2. What does it offer help with?
  a. math teachers,
b.English teachers,
c. children.
 

French website sells math answers...
PARIS, Wed Mar 4, (Reuters) - "You can't do it? We're here to help," says the homepage of a new French website where children can pay for older students to do homework for them.

On faismesdevoirs.com  [which means 'do my homework'], children buy answers to simple maths problems for 5 euros ($6), while a full end-of-year presentation complete with slides and speaking notes costs 80 euros ($100).

The website goes live Thursday morning, founder Stephane Boukris told Reuters.

"I realized there was a gap in the market. Add to that a dose of insolence, a zest of arrogance and the internet, and you have faismesdevoirs.com," he said.

Schoolteachers reacted with anger. "It is shocking. It defeats the purpose of education which is that the pupils need to learn for themselves how to do the work," said Agathe Field, a young English teacher at a secondary school in a suburb of Paris.
"It turns them into consumers. The message is that for the right price you can get the results you want. It's nonsense," she said.

Boukris defended the website, saying that the schoolchildren would still learn something if they bought homework from the site because it would come with annotations from the students explaining how they got to the final result.

"We're not just giving them the fish, we're teaching them how to fish," Boukris said in a telephone interview.

"Of course some schoolchildren might use the system to cheat, but they'll have to learn sooner or later because we won't be there on exam day," he said.
Article © 2009 Thomson Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2009 www.english-to-go.com

B: Word Order
Part One
Put the words in order to make questions about today's article.
1. of / is the / name / What / the website ? ____________________________________
2. does / the homepage / What / say ? ____________________________________
3. their homework / can / Who / children / pay / to do ? ____________________________________
4. cost / do / How much / answers / for / math problems ? ____________________________________
5. founder /  is / the / Who / website's ? ____________________________________
6. website / do / schoolteachers / What / think / of the ? ____________________________________

Part Two
Find the answers to your questions from Part One.
1. ____________________________________
2. ____________________________________
3. ____________________________________
4. ____________________________________
5. ____________________________________
6. ____________________________________
C: Writing Questions
Work in pairs. Write three questions about today's article. Then ask another pair to answer your questions.
1. (Write your questions here.) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


D: Reading For Meaning
Work in pairs. Read the sentences and say what you think they mean.
1. "...pupils need to learn for themselves how to do the work," said Agathe Field, a young English teacher at a secondary school in a suburb of Paris.
2. "It turns them into consumers. The message is that for the right price you can get the results you want. It's nonsense," she said.
3. "We're not just giving them the fish, we're teaching them how to fish," Boukris said....
4. "Of course some schoolchildren might use the system to cheat, but they'll have to learn sooner or later because we won't be there on exam day," he said.


E: Give Your Opinion
Answer this question in pairs:
On 6 March 2009, a message was posted on the website saying it was closed: "Fermeture De Faismesdevoirs.com"
Why do you think this happened?

Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these.
A: Thinking of Ideas
1. Work in small groups. Your teacher will ask you to do i. or ii. 
i. Imagine you are Boukris. Think of as many ideas as you can that show your website are helpful for students.
ii. Imagine you are a teacher who doesn't like the website.
Think of as many ideas as you can that show that websites like this are not good for students.
2. As a class debate whether websites like this one are a good idea.


B: Writing An Ad
Work in pairs and do ONE of the following:
1. Fill the gaps in the ad below
OR
2. Write your own ad for a homework website.



C: Decide Your Homework!
Work in small groups or as a class. Answer this question:
Your teacher wants to give you some homework. What would be the best homework for you to do after this class?


TEACHERS' NOTES AND ANSWER KEY
Pre-Reading Activities

B: Vocabulary - Suggested Answers
1. Consumer is the odd one out as it relates to shopping whereas the others relate to schooling.
2.
Price is the odd one out as it relates to shopping whereas the others relate to webpages.
3.
Defend is the odd one out; the others relate to payment and shopping.
Reading Activities
A: Finding The Main Idea - Answers
1. c., 2. homework.

B: Word Order
- Answers
Part One

1. What is the name of the website?
2. What does the homepage say?
3. Who can children pay to do their homework?
4. How much do answers for math problems cost?
5. Who is the websites founder?
6. What do schoolteachers think of the website?
Part Two
1. faismesdevoirs.com, 2. "You can't do it? We're here to help", 3. older students, 4. 5 euros ($6), 5. Stephane Boukris, 6. Answers will vary. (Look for answers that show teachers disagree with the website's aim.)

C: Writing Questions - Notes
Students work in pairs and write questions for the article. Circulate and assist with any grammar difficulties. Check that questions are sensible and can be answered. When pairs have had enough time, ask them to read their questions to another pair who then answer them. (This can also be done by students working alone and then pairing to ask and answer questions.)

D: Reading For Meaning - Suggested Answers
1. Students have to learn how to do something rather than having it done for them.
2. This kind of website makes students into shoppers who learn that if they pay the right amount they can get what they want.
3. The website founder argues that the website is not only giving students the answers but also is helping them learn how to get the answers.
4. Some schoolchildren will use the website in the wrong way (i.e. just buying the answers rather than trying to learn anything from the website.) However, this will not help them when they come to do their exams.


E: Give Your Opinion - Notes
Answers will vary. You may like to show students the letter posted on the website from Stéphane.
Post-Reading Activities

B: Writing An Ad - Sample Answer
Tricky math? Difficult English assignments? Does your homework stink?
Do you open your books every night and then cry when you see your homework? Do you always get the wrong answers at school?
Our website is here to help you. Tricky math problems, difficult English assignments: we do the work for you. You send us your homework and we do it for you! (And we give you notes on how to do it too!) Click on the link below, fill in your details and let us do your homework! It's that simple!
Children, please note: get your parents' permission first!

C: Decide Your Homework! - Notes
Having discussed the validity of websites that give students the answers and also talked of the benefits (or otherwise of homework), students now have a chance to decide what their homework will be after this class.  (This is presuming that you are planning to set up some sort of follow up activity.)  Small groups can suggest ideas and then present them to you or the class could hold a discussion (with you stepping aside and others acting as scribe and discussion facilitator.) Be prepared to accept whatever conclusion they come up including the suggestion that there be no homework at all!

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