The Truth Is Out - Lesson plan

Preliminary information

Time: 70 minutes??

Level: Upper intermediate

To introduce the set around 'lying'
To give extensive & more intensive reading strategy practice
To give freer speaking practice

That the stds will be interested in the content of the text.
That the language in the text will not be too challenging.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may need to be attended to later on

The article text from the Observer site


Stage 1 - Warmer
10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Tell the stds about your weekend or the past couple of days but lie 3 times. The stds have to guess the lies, to tell you when you have finished.
2. Stds in small groups do the same.
3. Feedback - did you guess the lies etc.. who was good at lying?

Stage 2 - Vocabulary
20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Elicit & build up the following lexical area on the board - add & change to suit. Mark word stress & part of speech as you go along.

to lie, a fib, a whopper, a pork pie

to tell a lie, to tell a fib....

a white lie, a half-truth

a liar, a compulsive/inveterate liar

to make up the truth

to lie through your teeth, a pack of lies, be a tissue of lies, stretch the truth

2. Stds copy down the vocab
3. Personalise the vocab - give out the following questions:

1. When was the last time you told a white lie?

2. When was the last time someone told you a whopper? What about?

3. Do you know anyone who is a compulsive liar?

4. When is it OK to stretch the truth?

5. What kind of things to children fib about?

4. Feedback - elicit answers & follow up interesting anecdotes.

Stage 3 - Intro to reading
5-10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Give the stds the brief article introduction - this could be dictated, done as a running dictation or simply read out.
2. Stds predict the content of the article - put some ideas on the board.

Stage 4 - Reading - general
10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Handout articles & stds see if their predictions come up in the article. Gibe a time limit to help them speed up their extensive reading ability.
Alternatively, you might want to work on logical sequencing - the text lends itself quite well to being cut up after each paragraph & the stds have to put it into a logical order - then compare with the original.
2. Stds compare.
3. Feedback.

Stage 5 - Reading - more specific
10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, tch<>stds
1. Handout the comprehension questions below - individually stds look for the answers.
2. Stds compare.
3. Feedback - discussing anything interesting that come up - what do they think? - their response to the text.

Look for the answers to these questions:

1. What are some of the reasons given for people lying?

2. Why is it suggested that people are lying more now than they used to?

3. Who was involved & what were the results of the study that is mentioned?

4. Why might lying seem to be a positive attribute?

5. Why is it suggested that singles on first dates lie?

6. What kind of things do singles lie about?

7. What does the article say about more long-term relationships?

8. Does the article suggest that we are also better at receiving lies?

A couple of considerations:
What about the vocabulary that might crop up? A post-reading task?
And poss. another language focus task - look through the text to see if there are any areas that would be of interest to your stds.

Stage 6 - Follow up activities
20 mins???
Here are a couple of ideas to use:

Discussion: when would you lie? List situation when you think it would be OK to lie to someone.

Nationalities - what is the general attitude to,lying in your native culture? What about other cultures that you know about?

News & history - collate incidents in the past that have made the news due to lying. Rank from most to least serious.

Chatting up - in pairs stds chat each other up, making up new backgrounds for themselves.

The truth is out

From little fibs in private to bare-faced deceit in public, we are all telling more lies than ever before. But, asks Hugh Wilson, is there any advantage to saying what you mean?

Sunday April 25, 2004
The Observer

The recently published Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them is an attack on right-wing propagandists in the US, but the title could just as easily apply to... well, the rest of us.

Human beings are not born liars, but the moment we can form complete sentences we begin lying to protect the feelings of others, to avoid punishment and confrontation, and, most frequently, because lying confers advantages the truth wouldn't get a sniff at. Lying gets results.

'Lying has evolved for the same reasons as any other ability,' says Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire. 'It gives us a competitive edge, providing we get away with it.' Which might explain why evidence suggests we are lying more, on a regular basis.

One study by Bella DePaulo, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, required participants to keep diaries of their social interactions. Every one of the 147 participants lied, and three-quarters of their lies were self-serving - designed to enhance status or avoid embarrassment, disapproval or conflict. Lies played a part in 30-38 per cent of their social interactions. Such research only serves to confirm the suspicion of Sissela Bok, author of Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, that, 'We are all on the receiving end of a great many more lies than in the past.'

There are general reasons why this might be true. 'I think that people are seeing more authority figures and institutions lying - thus giving the message that it's OK to do so,' says Professor Wiseman.

Dr Charles Ford, author of Lies! Lies! Lies! The Psychology of Deceit, points to 'a correlation between narcissism and deceit'. Others detect the pernicious influence of the media at work, in both its routine portrayal of successful liars and its barely disguised disdain for the honest confession-fixated losers paraded on Jerry Springer. But DePaulo's research suggests the media may have got it right. Socially skilful people, she discovered, told a lot more lies than their clumsier counterparts. Many experts are agreeing with Dr Ford. Lying, it seems, is becoming an acceptable and even admirable social skill.

Nowhere is this more obvious than on the singles scene. First dates have always involved a certain amount of self-aggrandisement, but some singles now regard out-and-out deceit as a legitimate tactic.

David, 34, uses internet dating services and has lied regularly. 'Why? Because a lot of potential dates seem to be in the market for perfection. I think they use any perceived fault or personality clash to whittle down the list.'

'Studies show newly dating couples lie - or heavily exaggerate - about two-thirds of the time,' says relationship expert Tracey Cox, author of Superflirt. 'They're trying to present themselves in the best possible light - and given the number of singles out there now, you can understand why.'

Experts believe that increased competition and the higher expectations among singles - with more and more happy to remain unattached, rather than settle for second best - along with the popularity of internet dating (where fabrications can be on a spectacular scale, and can also remain unchallenged), are encouraging increasingly rabid outbreaks of deceitfulness. 'We're so emotionally and intellectually evolved now,' says Cox. 'We all go to shrinks and grow up on a diet of self-help books; we've done our soul-searching and have our partner check lists ready and waiting. Can you really blame someone for lying to score a few more ticks in the right boxes?'

The problem is that many singles are presenting images of themselves that are impossible to live up to, and scuppering their already limited chances of long-term love in the process. They either deter potential lovers by asking for too much, or they invite lies that will be discovered quickly.

'Her advert had mentioned solvency as a necessity,' says David, of one internet date. 'So I invented a level of financial security that I didn't have. If it had worked out, I could hardly have kept my poverty a secret. But sometimes you think you have to tick all the boxes to have a chance of a date in the first place. After that, you hope that charm will maybe paper over the cracks.'

Of course, long-term lovers aren't immune to the conflict-avoiding, problem-burying lie either. Once again, a buoyant singles scene coupled with unrealistic expectations has put new pressure on less-than-faultless relationships and tempted many into more serious deception. A study last year by Cahoot found that a majority of partners lie to each other about their personal financial situation. Other studies have found that women appreciate judicious fibs about their weight, or looks, or ability in bed.

But the Cahoot research also showed that lying is on increasingly difficult ground. In this context, might a policy of honesty at all costs upset the delicate balance of deceit that we've stumbled into over the past few years? Could lying be little more than the latest social art, as Charles Ford et al suggest?

Possibly. After all, few of us feel that lying is inherently wrong any more. A lie is only wrong, general consensus runs, because it might be discovered, and cause hurt and upset. But then that, of course, is the real issue. We might be great and prolific liars these days, but we're not any better at recovering or forgiving, if we discover that we've been lied to.

To the original lesson plan

The lesson plan index

Tips & Newsletter Sign up —  Current Tip —  Past Tips 
Train with us — Online Development Courses — Lesson Plan Index 
Phonology —  English-To-Go Lesson  Articles Books
 Links —  Contact — Advertising — Web Hosting — Front page

Copyright 2000-2014© Developing