EFL Takeaways: Materials for EFL classes

Welcome to EFL Takeaways!

Eng 2

Image credit: http://www.etc-institute.com.ar/

Over the years I’ve written, used and accumulated a lot of classroom materials, some of which I thought other teachers might find useful. Hence this blog!

A little bit about me. I’ve been teaching since 1991, most of that time in Barcelona. I work at the Escola d’Idiomes Moderns of the University of Barcelona as an EFL teacher and head of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). To find out more, please visit the About section.

All the materials on this site are tried-and-tested, but bear in mind that they have been produced to use in a general adult EFL context in Spain. Please feel free to adapt the activities to use with learners of different L1s and different age groups. I’d love to hear your feedback, so please leave a comment.

Thank you for visiting.




TED Talks: Jigsaw Listening – Mobile phones


mobile phone use

Ted Talks Worksheets and ppt discussion


Two worksheets (in print or paper-free ppt versions) related to TED talks on the subject of the (mis)use of mobile devices, followed by a ppt discussion/debate on using mobiles in class. Students have to negotiate and agree on what is and isn’t acceptable and draw up a code of good conduct. I find it very useful to do this early on in the course, as learners in different contexts (and especially of different age groups) may have different perceptions of mobile ‘etiquette’.


Each of these activities can be used independently, but I find they work very well together, especially if you can use the two talks as a jigsaw listening before moving on to the debate:

  • In-class activity: The discussion on mobile use in class is a stand-alone activity, but it is very helpful to watch one or both of the TED talks on the subject beforehand to generate ideas. There are equivalent worksheets and ppt (paper-free) versions of the activities for each TED talk.
  • Jigsaw listening: Two groups in different rooms work through the exercises on their assigned talk, controlling the subtitles  & repetition of sections as they wish. Learners re-group and summarise the talks to each other before debating the issue of mobile use in class.
  • Jigsaw listening: Flipped version. Learners are set a different talk and corresponding worksheet for homework. They summarise talks to each other in the following class before the class discussion.

This activity was inspired by Anastasia Dedyukhina’s plenary talk at Innovate ELT conference, 2019.


TED Talk 1 Adam Alter (2017) Why screens make us less happy

TED Talk 2 Anastasia Dedyukhina (2016): Could you live without a smartphone?



There is a worksheet (paper and ppt version) and teacher’s notes with key for both talks, The debate on mobile phone use in class is on ppt only and has accompanying teacher’s notes,

TED Talk 1 (worksheet) Adam Alter – Why screens make us less happy – student

TED Talk 1 (ppt) Adam Alter 2017

TED Talk 1 Teacher’s notes Adam Alter – Why screens make us less happy – teacher

TED Talk 2 (worksheet) Anastasia Dedyukhina – Addicted to phones – student

TED Talk 2 (ppt) Anastasia Dedyukhina 2016

TED Talk 2 Teacher’s notes Anastasia Dedyukhina – Addicted to phones – teacher

PPT discussion Mobiles in class

PPT discussion Teacher’s notes Mobiles in class. Teacher’s notes

Discussion worksheet: Millennials

Image credit: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/312408


Speaking worksheet


Worksheet inspired by the updated version of the song ‘Ironic’ (for millennials) by Alanis Morissette, shown on the Late Late Show with James Corden in 2015.


Discussion worksheet on the theme of millennials, focussing on vocabulary of personality traits and new technology. Learners listen to an updated version of the 90s classic ‘Ironic’ by Alanis Morissette, updated for Gen Y, and discuss their reactions. I used this to supplement unit 11 of Headway Advanced (on the subject of new technology), but it could also work at lower levels for discussion of personality, generation (gaps), etc.

I’ve uploaded both the ppt and pdf version here. The ppt version includes the song and has more animations, but it is a heavier file. You can adapt it if you want, but please remember to credit me if you do!


Ironic – for millennials – teacher

Ironic – for millennials (ppt)

Ironic – for millennials 

Link to video: Ironic (for millennials)

Link to video: Tracey Ullman ‘Woke’

NB: Adult themes, bad language!



Advert worksheet: John Lewis, 2009

guns n roses

Video worksheet


An advert is not just for Christmas! You’ve probably noticed a number of John Lewis ads on this blog and I make no apology for adding another one, even if it isn’t Christmas.


Video worksheet based on the 2009 Christmas ad. Yes, it’s commercial and portrays an aspirational lifestyle perhaps not in keeping with the times, but I think that can be used as a springboard for discussion: how much has changed in the 10 years since this advert first came out? As for language, I’ve used this worksheet as a way to introduce the indirect object passive at B1 -B2 level (challenging for Spanish speakers as there is no equivalent in their L1). Plus, the song is a classic!


Ad – John Lewis 2009 Sweet child o mine – Teacher

Ad – John Lewis 2009 sweet child o mine – Student

Link to (ad) video

Link to (music) video

NB – the video has English subtitles. Play just sound first if you want your learners to do the listening practice first.


TED Talks – Hackschooling makes me happy

Logan LaPlante

Video worksheet


Worksheet based on a TED talk given by a 13-year old boy, Logan LaPlante, about his experiences of homeschooling.


This worksheet is based on a TED Talk (the link below has subtitles in English). It can be used to introduce the topics of education, parenting and happiness and as a springboard for discussion on the subject of homeschooling. It is designed to be used at higher levels (C1+) and would supplement units 7 (happiness) and 8 (Gender/Parenting) in New Headway Advanced (4th Edition, Soars, J & L, & Hancock, P. Oxford University Press).


Logan LaPlante – Hackschooling – student

Logan LaPlante – Hackschooling – teacher

Link to video

Advert worksheet: We are what we do…


Video worksheet


To round off the year, and kick off the new one: An activity based on a short (1 min,) advert by NatWest Bank, entitled ‘We are what we do’. Aimed at marketing this bank as an ethical company, the advert portrays images of social issues and uses lexical opposites (or near-opposites) to illustrate its theme.


I’ve used this worksheet with levels from A2-C1, as the images are very clear and powerful, and the vocabulary is relatively simple. Students brainstorm opposites of adjectives and nouns related to social problems, then watch to check their answers. Works well to supplement classes based around vocabulary of personality, or as a springboard for discussion on social issues. Personally, I’m going to use it in my first classes of 2019 to introduce the topic of new year’s resolutions.

The link below takes you to the vídeo with subtitles, which I use with lower levels. There are versions online without subtitles, which are easy to find.


Video worksheet We are what we do – student

Video worksheet We are what we do – teacher

Link to video

Iceland Palm Oil ad, Christmas 2018

iceland ad

Christmas activity – vídeo worksheet


The latest in a succession of worksheets and activities based on TV Christmas ads, this one might be interesting for those of you who like a dash of polítics with your Christmas cheers. The theme has made the news recently, largely due to shocking vídeos like this one:


This lesson is based on the 2018 Iceland Christmas ad which was banned for being too political. The lesson plan introduces the controversy surrounding palm oil with a T/F activity. The worksheet for the ad itself focuses on pronunciation (rhyming) and vocabulary to guide learners towards understanding the message. Finally, a follow-up discussion invites students to share their opinions and suggest ways of reducing the problem.


Iceland 2018 Christmas Ad ‘Rang-Tan’ – student

Iceland 2018 Christmas Ad ‘Rang-Tan’ – Teacher

Iceland 2018 Palm Oil (ppt)

Link to video



John Lewis Christmas Ad, 2018

boy and piano

Christmas activity – vídeo worksheet


The latest in a collection of a collection of (predominantly John Lewis) Christmas adverts. This is the latest, featuring ‘Your Song’ by Elton John accompanied by images of his life and career.


The song can be used for intense listening practice (focusing on individual words). As it says in the song, it’s quite simple, so could be used at any level. The ordering activity in part B lends itself to practice of comparative forms and modal verbs of speculation. As usual, any Christmas ad can be used to lead in to discussions on presents, gift-giving, Christmas values, etc.


John Lewis ad 2018 -student

John Lewis ad 2018 – teacher

Link to the video