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Discussion Starters

Binge-Watching
Pre-Reading
A. Warm-Up Questions

1. How many hours of TV do you watch each week?

2. Do you use a digital streaming service for watching


TV? Why or why not? If yes, do you pay for it?

3. W
 hy might staring at a screen
before bed affect sleep?

B. Vocabulary Preview

Match up as many words and meanings


as you can. Check this exercise again after
seeing the words in context on page 2.

1. binge-watch a)  more than necessary

2. consecutive b)  available online at any time

3. streaming c)  to watch a number of TV episodes in a row in one sitting

4. tune in d)  the inability to get to sleep or stay asleep

5. on demand e)  the state of remaining inactive for a long time

6. excess f)  in a row, one after the other

7. insomnia g)  to have a strong need or desire for something

8. fatigue h)  extreme tiredness

9. sedentary i)  to enjoy something that one is addicted to

10. dopamine j)  a chemical in the brain that delivers a feeling of pleasure

11. crave k)  continuously transferring data from the Internet

12. get one’s fix l)  to start watching a TV show or listening to an audio program

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Binge-Watching
Discussion Starters

Reading
BINGE-WATCHING
Just one more episode

1. Do you ever dream about the characters from your favorite TV “TV viewers are no
show? Have you caught yourself thinking about them during your longer zoning out
work or school day? If you answered yes, you’re probably familiar
with binge‑watching.
as a way to forget
2. Binge-watching, or watching three or more consecutive
about their day;
episodes of a TV series in one sitting, is a relatively new phenomenon. they are tuning
Digital streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon have drastically in, on their own
changed our viewing habits. Instead of waiting for a certain time, schedule, to a
day, or season to tune in to our favorite show, we can now enjoy an
entire commercial-free season or series on demand. Is your digital
different world.”
streaming service set to autoplay? —Grant McCracken, anthropologist

3. Though it’s too soon to measure the long-term effects of


binge‑watching, health experts already have several concerns
about this guilty pleasure. As with any form of excess screen time,
binge‑watching disrupts our natural sleep cycle and can cause
insomnia and fatigue. Binge-watching also leads to a sedentary
lifestyle. When we sit for long periods of time, we are more likely
to snack on unhealthy food and avoid exercising and socializing.
Could binge-watching lower our life expectancy?

4. “But binge-watching makes me happy!” There is a scientific explanation


for this argument. When we do something enjoyable, our brains
release a chemical called dopamine. Dramatic story lines and strong
lead characters give us a drug‑like high. The more we watch, the more
we crave. Before long, any activity (or substance) providing dopamine
becomes an addiction.

5. Is binge-watching all bad? Some psychologists say that binge-watching


is an effective stress reliever. Getting sucked into a fictional world with
your friends and family members can even improve your relationships.
On the other hand, with so much content available on multiple devices,
people commonly retreat into separate rooms to get their fix. After a
while, feelings of guilt and depression can replace the high.

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Binge-Watching
Discussion Starters

Comprehension
Discuss these questions in pairs, and write the answers below.

1. Define binge-watching in your own words.

2. How has TV viewing changed in recent years?

3. What can be inferred about excess video game play and sleep?

4. Why does the reading mention snacks?

5. What is the final paragraph mainly about?

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Binge-Watching
Discussion Starters

Vocabulary Review
A. Related Words

Which word(s) from page 1 are related to each sentence below?

# Sentences Words

1 The debate is on channel 2 at 8:00 pm. You should watch it.

2 I really want some chocolate right now.

3 Five ambulances drove by one after the other.

4 It was a lazy Sunday, and we watched six hours of Gossip Girl.

5 I can’t watch TV late at night. I feel too tired the next day.

6 You can find any movie you want on this digital provider.

B. Odd One Out

Circle the word that does not belong in the group.

1. a) streaming 4. a) tiredness 7. a) on demand


b) enjoying b) dopamine b) consecutive
c) running c) happiness c) in a row

2. a) excess 5. a) desire 8. a) insomnia


b) enough b) fix b) streaming
c) too much c) crave c) sleep deficiency

3. a) sedentary 6. a) get one’s fix 9. a) still


b) fatigue b) feed one’s addiction b) craving
c) exhaustion c) watch on demand c) sedentary

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Binge-Watching
Discussion Starters

Grammar Review
AFFECT VS. EFFECT

A. Comparison Chart

These words are commonly confused in writing (even by native speakers).

Affect Effect

Part of Speech verb noun

Meaning to influence or cause a change in something the result or influence of something

Pronunciation slow: fast: slow: fast:


 /æ ˈfɛkt/ /ə ˈfɛkt/ /i ˈfɛkt/ /ə ˈfɛkt/

• Autoplay affects how screenwriters • A sedentary lifestyle has a drastic


tell stories these days. effect on one’s life expectancy.
Examples
• Binge-watching will affect • We won’t know the long-term
your natural sleep patterns. effects for at least another decade.

Memory Trick
One way to keep these words straight is to remember that
verbs are actions, and the verb affect starts with an A!

B. Practice

Complete each sentence with effect or affect.

1. My brother swears that binge-watching does not               his schoolwork.

2. The main character has a weird               on me. I can’t stop thinking about her.

3. The weather can               how much TV we watch.

4. One negative               is that the kids end up watching TV in separate rooms.

5. Does binge-watching               how often your family eats dinner together?

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Binge-Watching
Discussion Starters

Discussion
1. Does the alert “Are you still watching?” from on-demand providers
encourage viewers to continue watching or stop watching a series?

2. Do you feel guilty after binge-watching? What do you feel bad about?

3. Is binge-watching worse than spending the whole day reading?

4. What do digital streaming platforms and


content creators do to encourage binge-watching?

Class Opinion
Walk around the class and ask your classmates the following questions.
Write their answers in the chart below.

Do you often eat


What TV show(s) How many hours
snacks while you
Classmate’s name: do you or have you a week do you
watch TV? What
binge-watched? typically watch TV?
type of snacks?

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Binge-Watching
Discussion Starters

Listening
 http://blog.esllibrary.com/2018/08/08/podcast-binge-watching/

Fill in the blanks as you listen to the recording.

BINGE-WATCHING
Just one more episode

1. Do you ever dream about the 4. “But binge-watching makes me happy!” There is
               from your a scientific explanation for this argument. When
favorite TV show? Have you caught yourself we do something enjoyable, our brains release
thinking about them during your work or school a chemical called                .
day? If you answered yes, you’re probably Dramatic story lines and strong lead characters
familiar with                . give us a drug-like high. The more we watch, the
more we                . Before
2. Binge-watching, or watching three or more
long, any activity (or substance) providing
               episodes of
dopamine becomes an addiction.
a TV series in one sitting, is a relatively new
phenomenon. Digital streaming platforms like 5. Is binge-watching all bad? Some psychologists
Netflix and Amazon have drastically changed our say that binge-watching is an effective stress
viewing habits. Instead of waiting for a certain time,                . Getting sucked
day, or season to tune in to our favorite show, we into a fictional world with your friends and family
can now enjoy an entire commercial-free season members can even improve your relationships.
or series                . Is your On the other hand, with so much content available
digital streaming service set to autoplay? on multiple devices, people commonly retreat into
separate rooms to                .
3. Though it’s too soon to measure the long-term
After a while, feelings of guilt and depression can
effects of binge-watching, health experts
replace the high.
already have several concerns about
this guilty pleasure. As with any form of
               screen time,
binge‑watching disrupts our natural
sleep cycle and can cause insomnia and
               . Binge-watching
also leads to a sedentary lifestyle. When we sit
for long periods of time, we are more likely to
snack on unhealthy food and avoid exercising
and socializing. Could binge-watching lower our
life expectancy?

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Binge-Watching
Discussion Starters

Answer Key
LESSON DESCRIPTION: TEACHING TIPS: LEVEL: Int – High Int

Students read about the modern See Discussion Starters Teaching Guide TIME: 1.5–2 hours
phenomenon of binge-watching. They (https://esllibrary.com/courses/72/lessons/)
TAGS:  discussion, binge-watching,
review vocabulary and discuss addictive for a variety of ways to use the reading.
streaming, TV, Netflix, screens,
viewing behavior. This lesson also includes
health, lifestyle, relationships
a quick review of affect and effect.

Pre-Reading Vocabulary Review

A. WARM-UP QUESTIONS A. RELATED WORDS

Answers will vary. 1. tune in


2. crave, dopamine, get one’s fix
B. VOCABULARY PREVIEW 3. consecutive
4. binge-watch, sedentary, excess, get one’s fix
1. c 3. k 5. b 7. d 9. e 11. g
5. fatigue, insomnia
2. f 4. l 6. a 8. h 10. j 12. i
6. on demand, streaming

Reading (and/or Listening) B. ODD ONE OUT

1. b 3. a 5. b 7. a 9. b
Read individually, in small groups, or as a class. You can also play
2. b 4. a 6. c 8. b
the listening as your students read along. A gap-fill version of the
reading is available on page 7. Help your students with vocabulary
and expressions that they are unfamiliar with. Discuss the quote. (continued on the next page...)

You may need to explain the word “anthropologist” (a person who


studies past and present societies).

Comprehension

1. Answers will vary.


2. You can now get commercial-free programming on demand,
and you don’t have to wait to watch your favorite shows.
3. It can be inferred that excess gaming
in the evening also disrupts sleep patterns.
4. The reading mentions snacks to show that there are
other reasons binge-watching is bad for one’s health.
People often snack on unhealthy food while they watch TV.
5. The final paragraph is about how binge-watching
can be good and bad for family relationships.

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Binge-Watching
Discussion Starters

Answer Key cont.


Grammar Review

A. COMPARISON CHART

Go over the grammar notes about affect and effect.


Play the recording or say the words out loud
to demonstrate the pronunciation.

B. PR ACTICE

See if your students can distinguish between


the two commonly confused words.

1. affect 3. affect 5. affect


2. effect 4. effect

Discussion

Answers will vary. Can be done orally in small groups or pairs


or individually in writing.

Class Opinion

Have students walk around the class and ask their


classmates questions. They should record the answers
in the chart. Follow up with a class discussion.

Listening

1. characters, binge-watching
2. consecutive, on demand
3. excess, fatigue
4. dopamine, crave
5. reliever, get their fix

SPELLING NOTE:

This lesson shows the American spelling of the word Favorite.


Most other English-speaking countries spell it this way: Favourite.
Make it a challenge for your students to find this word in the
lesson and see if they know the alternate spelling.

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