The Real Hustle- Speaking lesson, past tenses, intermediate lesson plan

English Lesson Plan Blog, Intermediate B1/B2, Upper- intermediate B2, Video

“A company of wolves, is better than a company of wolves in sheep’s clothing.” – Anthony Liccione

During this lesson your EFL students will learn vocabulary related to crime, precisely scams and tricksters plus they’ll practise past simple and past continuous tenses when talking about the scams they saw. It’s an excellent English lesson plan for intermediate and upper-intermediate level students who need to practise speaking using past tenses.

Language Level: intermediate/ upper-intermediate B1/B2
Learner: teens, adults
Activity: listening, speaking
Time: 50- 60 mins
Topic: The Real Hustle
Materials: worksheet + video 

Write the proverb on the board and ask students to discuss its meaning in pairs

Proverb: “A company of wolves, is better than a company of wolves in sheep’s clothing.” – Anthony Liccione

Later show the  photo, explain that all the four pictures have something in common. Ask students, what it might be.

Allow 4 mins and after explain that both the proverb as well as the pics relate to a rather illegal profession that is a con artist. Write the word on the board and write the following definition:

a con artist– a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true.

Note: words such as ‘cheats’, ‘tricks’ and ‘persuade’ might need to be explained as well.
Go back to the proverb and pictures and explain what they have in common (possible answer: they all deal with the same issue that is crime, trust, tricks, people who cheat, etc.)

Point to the picture of two men and a woman entitled ‘The Real Hustle’. Tell the students it is actually a British reality TV programme, ask students what the programme might be about and elicit the answers.
Distribute worksheet and do exercise no.1- it’s a short description of the programme. Students’ task is to match the words with the gaps:

avoid     tricksters    episode      innocent     aware

The Real Hustle is a BBC series about a team of confident (1) tricksters Alex, Jess and Paul, who have been carrying out magic tricks and infamous scams on (2) innocent members of the public whilst hidden cameras capture all the action. The unlawful operations are held in common places such as streets, pubs, restaurants or cinemas. The ‘victim’ that is referred to as the mark is unaware of the scam until the whole event is presented afterwards. The main purpose of show is to make viewers (3) aware of frauds and cons, although anyone who has ever seen an (4) episode will know that it’s less about showing you how to (5) avoid them and more about how they’re done. In any case, it makes for some pretty fun and entertaining television. You might be surprised to learn about how sophisticated the con game has become.

You will need to pre-teach the unknown words before students start the exercise. This text is actually packed with new words, so make sure you explain the following words: trickster, scam, fraud, con game. Once students completed Ex. 1a, they should do Ex. 1b. Allow 7-10mins and check the answers.

On the board write:

Scam 1 –   Mind My Bag         Scam 2 –  Bill Switch

Explain that you are going to watch two different scams, ask students what these scams might be about- pair work- later elicit answers.

Divide the class into two groups, one group is watching scam 1 the other group scam 2. Their task is to make notes about what’s happening and what the scam is all about. Each group watches the video twice. Later they discuss what they had seen using past tenses of course. This will allow weaker students catch up on the plot and the necessary vocab.

Mix students so that each students sits together with the a person who watched the other scam. Their task is to explain what happened in the scam using past tenses. They can make notes.

Once all students explained the plot the whole class watches the scams and compares the details the other students didn’t mention. By doing this, students will pay attention to details and so, speak more.

Once both scams are explained students task is to write a description of what happened in scam. Students who initially watched scam 1 are going to write the description of scan 2 and vice versa. Remind students to use past tenses to depict the situation they had seen.


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English Lesson PlanThe Real Hustle- Speaking lesson, past tenses, intermediate lesson plan