25 de maio de 2024

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Time for a change & New experiences

Dear fellow English teachers,

How often do you try to step out of your comfort zone and do something different? Do you believe bold individuals have an edge over cautious ones?

The title of this unit is “Time for a change & New Experiences” (extracted from Let´s Talk about it! – The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book). The following Lesson Plan is intended for B2/A1 level students. Enjoy!

Pre-listening/reading questions: 

  1. How often do you try new experiences? Do you consider yourself an adventurous person?
  2. Do you like to plan your day/weekend carefully and stick to the plan? Why/Why not?
  3. How has the world changed in the past twenty years? Is the world changing faster now than it used to?

Click the link below to listen to the dialogue “The limo chauffeur experience”.


Dialogue ComprehensionThe limo chauffeur experience – True, False or I don´t know?

  1. Something hilarious happened to Tommy when he was a limo chauffeur in New York. True ___ False ___ I don´t know ___
  2. Hank has never been to New York. True ___ False ___ I don´t know _
  3. Tommy used to live close to Central Park. True ___ False ___ I don´t know ___
  4. Finding a parking spot for a limo can be difficult. True ___ False ___ I don´t know __
  5. Only very rich people rent limos in New York. True ___ False ___ I don´t know ___

Focus on Words & Expressions – Find words or expressions in the dialogue that mean the same as:

a. An informal name for New York City ____________________
b. Rich ________________
c. Very well _____________
d. A store that sells ready-to-eat food products __________________
e. A car with a roof that can be removed or folded ________________
f. (of a vehicle) Taken away from a place by towing ________________
g. So lost in thought that he didn´t realize what he was doing _______________
h. Learn how to do something ________________________
i. An area where parking is not allowed __________________
j. Parking space _________________________
k. Difficult to do or deal with ________________
l. A limousine ___________________

Fill in the blanks below with a word or expression highlighted in the dialogue:

  1. Samuel was born and bred in Boston. He knows his hometown _______________.
  2. “Gee, this parking lot is packed today. Keep your eyes open for a _____________.” Camila told Jean.
  3. “Learning how to use the new dishwasher properly was pretty easy for me. I _______________ it in no time”. Gladys told a coworker.
  4. “You can´t park here. Look at that sign. This is a ________________.” Cindy told Fred.
  5. “Can you stop by the ______________ to pick up some sliced cheese?” Carol asked Will over the phone.

Discussion & Conversation 1

  1. Do bold people have an edge over cautious people in your opinion? Why/Why not?
  2. How often do you try to get out of your comfort zone and do something different?
  3. Are you an open-minded person? Explain your answer.
  4. How important are challenges in your opinion?
  5. “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Do you agree with this saying? Why/Why not?

Time for a change & New experiences – Additional Vocabulary & Expressions

Paradigm shift: the moment when the usual way of doing things changes completely; a radical change in ideas or beliefs

Ex. The internet has brought about a paradigm shift in the way we live and do business.

Make a fresh start: start over Ex. “If you are so dissatisfied with your job why don´t you quit and make a fresh start somewhere else?” Michael asked Howard.

Mindset: a way of thinking; mentality Ex. “Changing one´s mindset isn´t that simple. To start with you need to be willing to do so”, said Dr. Freeman to the audience.

Be at a crossroads: be at a point when a choice must be made Ex. After graduating high school Andrew felt like he was at a crossroads. He wasn´t sure whether he should go on to college or do something else with his life.

Life-changing: changing someone´s life or circumstances in a substantial way Ex. “Traveling around Asia when I was in my early twenties was a life-changing experience for me ” Gabe told Ruth.

Same old, same old: the same thing that is always done or always happens, implying that it is boring Ex. “Why don´t we do something different this weekend? I´m tired of the same old, same old.” said Barry to his friends.

Blaze a trail: do something new and important that others will follow up on; do pioneering work Ex. Thomas Alva Edison blazed a trail in developing many important devices including the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the electric light bulb.

Fill in the sentences or short dialogues below with words or expressions presented in Additional Vocabulary & Expressions:

  1. “Doing volunteer work for an NGO that helps the underprivileged is a __________ experience. Everyone should do that once in their lives.” said Mr. Wylie during his talk.
  2. Seth: So, what did you make of today´s meeting? Jordan: Honestly? I think they´re narrow-minded. They´ll have to change their __________ if they really want their company to grow.
    3. Dr. Christiaan Barnard _______________ by performing the world´s first heart transplant in 1967.
  1. “I wish we could break the routine and do something different for a change. I´m so fed up with the _________________.” Brian told Alison.
  2. “We all have moments when we feel like we __________________ and don´t know which path we should take.” Meredith told Lucas.

Discussion & Conversation 2

  1. “We grow wiser as we grow older.” Do you agree with this saying? Why/Why not?
  2. Do you know anyone who has changed their look radically? If so, talk about what they have done.
  3. When going to a restaurant do you like trying new dishes or prefer to stick to the usual ones?
  4. Have you ever tried a radical sport? If so, describe the experience.
  5. How does the idea of spending some days at a holistic retreat sound to you?

Choose the alternative that best explains the meaning of the words in bold in the sentences below.

  1. “Driving a stick-shift can be a little tricky if you are not used to it.” Jake told a friend.

a) a cinch       b) a piece of cake        c) difficult       d) easy

  1. “Only well-off people can afford that.” Melanie told Jill.

a) pricy          b) intelligent          c) rich            d) brainy

  1. “Life is a lot easier when you keep a positive mindset.” said Mr. Shields during his talk.

a) way of thinking             b) narrow-minded               c) beliefs                d) tendency

  1. “Don´t you ever get tired of the same old same old?” Tom asked Benjamin.

a) spontaneity           b) new circumstances             c) same thing           d) robotic behavior

  1. “I feel like I´m at a crossroads.” said Anthony to a friend.

a) completely lost       b) have to make an important decision        c) have acquired a lot of experience        d) about to start a new phase

Complete the sentences below with your own words.

  1. ……………………………………………………………………………… tow-away zone.
  2. Jefferson absentmindedly …………………………………………………………………
  3. ………………………………………… deli …………………………………………………
  4. ………………………………………………………….. life-changing experience for her.
  5. ………………………………………………………………….. like the back of her hand.

Discussion & Conversation 3

  1. Do you consider yourself a creative person? Explain your answer.
  2. What do you think of situations that push you out of your comfort zone? Do you like them?
  3. How important is it for people to get out of their comfort zone sometimes?
  4. Are you the same person you used to be twenty years ago? How have you changed over time?
  5. “If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always gotten.” Do you agree with this statement? Explain why or why not.

Dialogue Script: The limo chauffeur experience

Tommy: Check out that car over there.
Hank: Nice convertible! It must feel great driving one like that.
Tommy: Yeah, I´ve always wanted to have a sports car. Did I tell you I was a limo chauffeur in New York for some time?
Hank: A limo chauffeur? Wow, it must´ve been a great experience. Isn´t it difficult to drive a limo?  I mean, it´s so much bigger than an average car.
Tommy: It does take a while to get the hang of driving a limo, but it´s not as hard as it seems. Finding a parking spot for it is a little tricky though.
Hank: I can only imagine. And what was it like? I bet you got to know lots of rich people, didn´t you?
Tommy: Uh, not only well-off people, you know. Renting a limo is not that expensive if you split the bill in three or four, so a lot of tourists like to rent one for the fun of it, and I must say, the tips are great!
Hank: So, you took people everywhere in New York?
Tommy: Oh yeah, I got to know Manhattan like the back of my hand.
Hank: Cool! I´ve always wanted to visit the Big Apple, but I´ve never had the opportunity. How long were you on the east coast for?
Tommy: For about two years. Hah! (laughing) I just remembered what happened to me once when I was a limo chauffeur.
Hank: Something funny?
Tommy: Well, it´s funny now, but it sure wasn´t funny then. I actually got the scare of my life.
Hank: You got me curious now. What happened?
Tommy: I was hungry so I parked the limo on a busy avenue and went to a deli to get a sandwich. I was only gone for a few minutes, but when I came back the limo wasn´t there anymore.
Hank: What do you mean it wasn´t there anymore? Had it been stolen?
Tommy: No, fortunately not! It had been towed away. You see, I had absent-mindedly parked in a tow-away zone!
Hank: Wow man! What a story!

José Roberto A. Igreja is the author and co-author of several ELT books, including:

LET´S TALK ABOUT IT! – The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book, now available on the Amazon stores of the following countries:


If you´re based in Brazil the paperback is available at a discount price on UICLAP!
240 pages – 31 QR-CODES for the audio tracks (dialogues) “even the paperback comes with built-in technology”

Let's Talk About It!: The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book (English Edition) por [Jose Roberto A. Igreja]

600 Phrasal Verbs (with Jonathan T. Hogan)

Talking Business

How do you say … in English?

Fluent Business English (with Robert C. Young)

What to say when …?

False Friends

English for Job Interviews (with Robert C. Young)

Essential American Idioms! (with Joe Bailey Noble III)