CPE: 60 Second Idea To Change The World

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADue to the late delivery of a CD to accompany my CPE text book, I found myself browsing the internet looking for a suitable listening text.  I came across this BBC segment called 60 Second Idea To Change The World, part of the Forum on the World Service and decided it was ideal for my class. It was natural language, there were a few different accents, and I thought it could generate lots of discussion.

  • First of all, we talked about things that get our goat (goats?) and boarded lots of ideas.
  • Next, the students matched words in order to make collocations. From the resulting list, I asked them to predict what gets the goat of the person we were about to listen to, and what their 60-second idea could be.
  • I wrote 4 multiple choice questions for the class to answer whilst listening to the 60-second idea and the responses and questions that followed (about 4 minutes in total).
  • I then gave the students the audioscript to check their answers (the text of the 60-second idea is available on the webpage), but I added the responses and questions from the other guests.
  • The students then scoured the text for different ways to talk about walking, eg. meander, stroll, veer, etc. and we talked about the differences in meaning. We also looked at some interesting expressions, like three strikes and you’re out, and last but not least, some useful phrases for discussion , eg. I sympathise to a certain extent,, and How would this go down in…?
  • Then I asked the students to think about the things that they found annoying again, choose one and come up with their own idea to change the world. For homework, they were to prepare by making notes for this talk. At the start of the next lesson, after reading through their notes, they presented their ideas in groups and each idea was followed up with some discussion, using the phrases we mined from the text.

I asked my class of CPE students to prepare a 120-second idea, because this is how long they are required to talk for in part 3 of the CPE speaking exam, but it could also be done as a 60-second idea and a general speaking task for advanced levels.

There is a new 60-second idea every week (I think) and it generated so much interesting language that I might use it again. If you use it or have used it in the past, I’d love to know what you and your students did with it and how it went!


  1. Emma my darling! I love your blog, so many great tips and ideas!!! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience!

    1. Thanks a lot, Brittany! I’m glad you like it!

  2. […] A hive of activities – Tried and tested ELT ideas […]

  3. […] The original idea and resources were suggested by Emma Gore-Lloyd on her WordPress website, A hive of activities. […]

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