Video Based session- The hot coffee case

Today, I am sharing with you a lesson I made for my B2 adult learners. They wanted a few video- based sessions that would get them to practise their listening and speaking. I designed a lesson that focused mainly on those two skills, but I also added an optional email writing task that can be done in class or as homework (in my classes email writing had been covered so I was able to link it with previous sessions).The video is approximately 12 minutes long.

My Context/ How I carry out these sessions

I call these lessons conversational/chit chat sessions as the main reason I do them is to get the learners to talk as much as possible. While they talk, I make notes of any errors they make and then we do a bit of error correction towards the end of the session. If the errors are impeding communication or re-occurring, then I correct on the spot. I also ask them to do a bit of intensive listening and answer listening comprehension questions. After the listening tasks, the students talk again and answer some more general follow up questions which allow them to share their views. If I have time I ask them to write something based on what they watched/talked about.

Screen shot from the New York Times video. Link found here

Screen shot from the New York Times video. Link found here

Below you will find a brief lesson plan, the video, and a PPT.

Brief lesson plan ( for a 45-60 minute session)

  • Aims of the lesson (2-3 mins).
  • Lead in. General discussion about McDonald’s and ‘predictions’ on what can happen there (5 mins).
  • Students create a story based on the words and the pictures they see on the PPT slide (slide 4).
  • Students read the listening comprehension questions (2-3 mins).
  • Students watch the video (approx. 12 mins).
  • Students discuss with their partner/teacher what actually happened in the story and discuss if their predictions were correct (5-8 mins).
  • Students check listening answers ( slide 6 2-3 mins).
  • Follow up questions (5-8 mins)
  • Email writing. This depends on your time. You can assign it as hoemwork or do it in class.


Video Based session-Stella Liebeck (2)

The Video

Final thoughts

I use this lesson when I teach one to one online. If you have bigger classes, you may need to spend more time. You can do the activities in pairs. You can also do a jigsaw listening task where half the students watch up to minute 6 and the others the rest. You then ask them to share the information, answer the questions and make the story again. There are also loads of articles written about this story, so you may want to look for those as well.

You can adapt and change the ideas here as much as you like. Make the lesson yours. I can assure you that they story is very interesting and whenever I use it, my students really enjoy it! You may need to warn the students that there are pictures of Stella’s burns in the video.

You can use this with adults and university students studying journalism or law as well.

Let me know how it goes. Feel free to leave a comment below and add your own twist to the session. remember no lesson is written in stone 🙂

Till next time.


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