Despondex: ESL Listening and Discussion Activity

Activities Discussion Screen English
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This is another example of a Screen English Class that I did. The video can be found here and the other article I did about stabbing monkeys can be found here. I love the Onion’s news stories because they do it so seriously and there usually is only one line that betrays that it is not a real story other than the absurdity of the topics.

This is a great one because it can lead to a discussion of annoying personality types afterward. A word of warning though. There is the F word in the news report. I did this after I had many classes with my students and they were ready for it. The funny thing is that most students didn’t even catch what had been said. Despondex ESL Screen English activity

This is a bit shorter and can be used with another article on personality types or a deeper discussion on using drugs to alter moods and behavior. If you want a really great exercise on drugs then this one (not mine) is awesome. I have used it in class before and it could make a nice companion to this class but it will run a little long.

I suggest showing the news story once or twice and then go into the fill in the blanks answers and after that the discussion questions.


  1. Dr. Wei: If you’re in a _____ _____every so often well that’s fine. That’s normal. This is for those who have a ________ _______ outlook on life.
  2. Jeff: And she was always ___________ but I didn’t know what to do to help her.
  3. The drug may have saved their marriage how?
  4. What are some natural treatments for excessive happiness?__________________________________________________________________
  5. Dr. Wei: We have to ________ the _________ associated with getting chirpy people help. Real medical help. Do you know what it’s like to be around these people? It’s pretty ________ ________.
  6. What are some of the symptoms of someone who is excessively happy?_______________________________________________________________________
  7. Do you know anyone who should be taking this? Are they annoying?
  8. What do you think of taking drugs to become happier or sadder?
  9. Which do you think was better, Eva before the drug or after?
  10. What do you think about using drugs to control one’s mood?
  11. _______________________________________________________?
  12. _______________________________________________________?

That Video Was Hilarious, Wasn’t it?

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did when I used it for class. The Onion is great for things like this. If you want to have a follow-on activity for your next class try this one on “Juicy Baek.” This is a really fun class and I really enjoyed it. It was one of my “go-to” classes after I discovered it.

Another thing you can do is to get people to start to talk about drugs of all kinds in the discussion questions. Notice I left a blank for the last question. Having students create their own questions often can generate better discussion. I suggest adding to these questions or have some ready just in case this TEFL activity ends quicker than you expect.

Enjoy your Class Let Me Know How it Went

As always have fun with this class and let me know how it went for you in the comments below. Also, if you have any variations or any other videos that you think will be fun for class, share it with the community. All the best and remember that Teaching English is Fun!


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