News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

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July 2010

Level ≥ Advanced Style ≥ Individual or group activities
Welcome to the Guardian Weekly’s special news-based materials to support learners and teachers of English. Each month, the Guardian Weekly newspaper selects topical news articles that can be used to practise English language skills. The materials are graded for two levels: Advanced and Lower Intermediate. These worksheets can be downloaded free from You can also find more advice for teachers and learners from the Guardian Weekly’s Learning English section on the site. Materials prepared by Janet Hardy-Gould

Israeli and Palestinian youth to talk peace on reality TV

Conflict ... Israelis call for an end to fighting David Silverman/Getty Images

Before reading
1 The article is about a reality TV show. Read these questions and make notes. Then discuss your ideas in small groups. a What is a reality TV show? Why are these shows sometimes popular? b Which reality TV shows have attracted a lot of viewers? c Which shows have been worth watching? Why?

a b c d

ratings scenario participant trash TV

e f g

standard TV formula live broadcast footage

2 TV vocabulary from the article. Match these nouns to the definitions below.

1 poor quality television 2 a set of figures that show how many people watched a TV programme 3 part of a film showing a particular event 4 a TV programme where viewers watch events at the same time that they happen 5 a person who takes part in something such as a


News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

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reality TV show 6 a written outline of what happens in a film or TV programme 7 the format for a typical programme 3 Look at the headline, photo and caption of the article. Use your own words to complete the sentences. a The participants in the new reality TV show will be young … insist the most important part of the programme will be the process the participants will undergo in carrying out the talks. 5 French director Mohamed Ulad, who has co-written the scenario with Franco-Israeli philosopher Sophie Nordmann, has rejected the idea that the programme could be provocative. With the biggest populations of Jews and Muslims of any western European country, France often experiences violence related to developments in the Middle East. 6 “We are not going to make trash TV ... We will try to take part in discussions between young people, Israelis and Palestinians, who will be socialising for the first time,” he said, adding: “These young people born in the hope of peace [in 1991, year of the Madrid conference] have known only conflict.” 7 For the three weeks of filming, the 12 participants will be living together in a house near Marseille. In order to distance the programme from the standard reality TV formula, Ulad has insisted there be no filming in bedrooms, no live broadcasts and no 24/7 camera footage. 8 He chose to film the show in France, he said, because it would provide the young people with a “relatively isolated and sheltered” environment in which to discuss controversial issues. Among topics to be debated are the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian right of return. 9 “This kind of project ... would be impossible to do [in the Middle East], where everyone is stuck in their own convictions, cliches and milieu,” he told La Provence newspaper. Lizzy Davies Paris

b The participants will discuss …

c The photo shows people who want to …

Israeli and Palestinian youth to talk peace on reality TV
1 Most reality television shows keep their aspirations modest: good ratings, plenty of gossip and at least one participant who makes their way on to the front pages.

2 A French programme debuting this autumn, however, is aiming rather higher. Its mission – for 12 teenagers who choose to accept it – is nothing less than a road map to peace in the Middle East. 3 Les Accords de Marseille, which is expected to be broadcast on the public channel France5 in September, will bring together a dozen 18-yearolds – six from Israel, six from the Palestinian territories – and make them cohabit as they hold negotiations aimed at establishing a peace deal. 4 While the show’s creators admit such an aim is more of a symbol than a realistic target, they

Go to page 3 for article glossary


News-based English language activities from the global newspaper

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3 Discussion. Put agree (A) or disagree (D) next to the sentences below. Discuss your ideas with a partner. The show will be an interesting way of tackling a a difficult long-term problem. It’s wrong to discuss such serious issues in a b reality TV format. The creators of the show seem to have sincere c and honest intentions. The programme might create more problems d than it solves.

aspiration (noun) a strong desire to have or to do something undergo (verb) to experience something; especially a change provocative (adjective) intended to make people argue about something or make them upset cliche (noun) a phrase or idea that has been used so often that it no longer has much meaning or is interesting

After reading
1 Word building Use the words in brackets to create new words to complete this summary. Look back at the text to check your answers. A French TV channel will broadcast a (controversy) new (a) reality show in September. The (direct) of the (b) programme, Mohamed Ulad, will bring together young Palestinians and Israelis to hold peace (negotiate) in a house (c) near Marseille. Ulad wanted to film the show in France because it (relative) would give a (d) sheltered environment for the young (participate). The topic (e) is also important in the country because it has the (populate) of largest (f) Jews and Muslims in Europe and there is sometimes (violent) after (g) particular (h) (develop) in the Middle East. (create) of the The two (i) new show admit that the (discuss) between the (j) two groups will be mostly symbolic but they hope that the process will prove valuable.

While reading
1 Read the article and take notes about the new show. Use the categories below. Name of show: Number/age/ nationality of participants: Show’s key activity and main aim: Date/channel when show to be broadcast: Names of writers: Location/length of filming: Differences between show and usual reality TV: Work as a class. Use notes to describe the programme in your own words. 2 Read the article again. In which paragraph can you find the following information? Write the paragraph numbers. The reasons why the show might be provocative a in France. The assertion that the show will be a quality b programme. The ambitious aim of the new show. c The reasons why the programme will be made in d Europe. Information about the background and age of the e participants. The things that a reality TV show usually hopes f to achieve. The explanation why the show won’t be made in g the Middle East. The fact that the act of talking will be the most h significant part. The reason why the participants will not be i continuously filmed.


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2 What do the following words and phrases from the article mean? Paragraph numbers are in brackets. a … at least one participant who makes their way on to the front pages. (1)

Activity – devising a reality TV show
You work for a TV production company and you have plans for a new reality TV show. Work in small groups and follow the steps below. a Decide and make notes about the features of your show: main theme (e.g. jungle survival) location length in days or weeks number and age of participants tasks and activities to be done by participants how the show will begin and end target audience b Present your ideas to the class. Allow for a short question and answer session at the end of your presentation. c Decide as a class which idea would make the most successful show.

b … a French programme debuting this autumn … (2)

c … and make them co-habit as they hold negotiations … (3)

d … the process the participants will undergo in carrying out the talks. (4)

e ... In order to distance the programme from the standard reality TV formula … (7)

Before reading 1 a A reality TV show is a programme that presents real people in a live, though often deliberately manufactured, situation and monitors their behaviour. [Students’ own answers.] 2a2b6c5d1e7f4g3 3 Possible answers: a Israelis and Palestinians. b peace in the Middle East. c stop the cycle of violence / fighting in the Middle East. While reading 1 Name: Les Accords De Marseille Number/age/nationality: 12 18-year-old Israelis and Palestinians Show’s key activity/aim: discussion, to find a road map to peace Date/channel: September, France5 Names of writers: Mohamed Ulad and Sophie Nordmann

Location/length: house near Marseille, three weeks Differences: no filming in bedrooms, not live, no 24/7 footage 2a5b6c2d8e3f1g9h4i7 After reading 1 a controversial b director c negotiations d relatively e participants f population g violence h developments i creators j discussions 2 a gets onto the newspaper front pages b appear for the first time c to live together with another person d to do and complete a task e to show that you are not connected with something

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