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Préparation Oral C

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Préparation Oral C


 The Language of Leadership!


Instructor Information

Review this article on the first day to make it clear what the C expectations are.  The link to Big Bad C is there, but it talks about the old test.  Reinforce that the new test is only abstract questions. 

Welcome to your English language course!  What follows is an overview of what Level C is and some tips on how to succeed.

Please watch this excellent video produced by Knowledge Circle:  Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad C?  You will discuss the concepts in the first class.

Candidates who can perform at level C can skillfully use English, their second language, to lead.

They use the language to build cohesiveness in their team.

They use the language to facilitate the resolution of conflict between employees or groups.

They use the language to motivate people.

They use the language to guide employees who are working under stressful conditions.

They use the language to inspire.

They use the language to convince people to step out of their comfort zone.

They use the language to mentor future leaders.

They use the language to quell concerns.

They use the language to explain a complex issue and offer solutions.

A Level C student already knows how to do these tasks in their first language.

If you are able to use English to LEAD, then the exam will simply confirm your ability.

Your Knowledge Circle English instructor will

  • Discuss the video Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad C?
  • Provide you with authentic material to enrich your vocabulary related to abstract themes
  • Occasionally give a grammar lesson as needed
  • Lead you to stay in the abstract during discussions and minimize ‘I’ statements.
  • Challenge you to expand an explanation or further support an opinion
  • Give you effective error correction and feedback without interrupting
  • Use strategies to unembed fossilized errors

Initially, your lessons will be about expanding vocabulary, honing skills, and engaging in a variety of intellectual work-related discussions.

As your test draws closer, you will focus on

  • Practicing abstract questions
  • Practicing switching between topics
  • Doing simulations

For you to succeed, you need to

  • Use English at every opportunity outside the classroom
  • Understand that you will not fail if you make grammar mistakes
  • Review the material seen in class
  • Use new vocabulary as often as possible
  • Come up with your own answers and ideas
  • Take risks with the language -- if you play it safe, you will stay in the concrete B Level
  • Avoid formulas like the plague!

Verb Tense Overview Continuous vs Simple

The best explanation is on


This is just an overview for C students as they have been exposed to it all.  Usually, it is the nuance between continuous and simple that needs refining.  Also, stative verbs are often a problem… but focus on the change in meaning and how this can also add weight to the message. 


Part One:  Types of Verbs

  • Normal Verbs
  • Non-Continuous (stative) verbs
  • Mixed verbs (depending on the MEANING, these verbs can be non-continuous)




Non-continuous (stative) verbs


Verb Tenses at a View

All the Verb Tenses in a Chart!

Part Two: Simple vs Continuous


  • One particular event
  • started before the moment we are talking about and will continue. 

I eat dinner every day.        I am eating dinner. 

I ate dinner yesterday. I was eating dinner when the doorbell rang. 

I will eat dinner. I will be eating dinner at 10 pm


Present Progressive (continuous)

Key Words

Action in progress

Near Future

Repeated action that annoys you

Simple Present

Key Words




At the moment











Hardly ever





How Languages Shape the Way We Think

Task:  Summarize the talk. 

  1.  Which analogy did you find the most interesting and why?
  2.  If you are bilingual or multilingual, share language experiences you have had.  Do you prefer one language over another for specific language tasks?  
  3. What do you think came first?  Language or Culture?
  4. When working with colleagues from different cultures, what communication issues could you encounter?  How would you handle them?
  5. Grammar Recycling:  Look at the highlighted text.  Discuss why they are simple present or present continuous.


Excerpts from the Transcript

So, I'll be speaking to you using language ... because I can. This is one these magical abilities that we humans have. We can transmit really complicated thoughts to one another. So what I'm doing right now is, I'm making sounds with my mouth as I'm exhaling. I'm making tones and hisses and puffs, and those are creating air vibrations in the air. Those air vibrations are traveling to you, they're hitting your eardrums, and then your brain takes those vibrations from your eardrums and transforms them into thoughts. I hope. 


Now of course, there isn't just one language in the world, there are about 7,000 languages spoken around the world. And all the languages differ from one another in all kinds of ways. Some languages have different sounds, they have different vocabularies, and they also have different structures -- very importantly, different structures. That begs the question: Does the language we speak shape the way we think? Now, this is an ancient question. People have been speculating about this question forever. Charlemagne, Holy Roman emperor, said, "To have a second language is to have a second soul" -- strong statement that language crafts reality. But on the other hand, Shakespeare has Juliet say, "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Well, that suggests that maybe language doesn't craft reality. 


These arguments have gone back and forth for thousands of years. But until recently, there hasn't been any data to help us decide either way. Recently, in my lab and other labs around the world, we've started doing research, and now we have actual scientific data to weigh in on this question. 


So let me tell you about some of my favorite examples. I'll start with an example from an Aboriginal community in Australia that I had the chance to work with. These are the Kuuk Thaayorre people. They live in Pormpuraaw at the very west edge of Cape York. What's cool about Kuuk Thaayorre is, in Kuuk Thaayorre, they don't use words like "left" and "right," and instead, everything is in cardinal directions: north, south, east and west. And when I say everything, I really mean everything. You would say something like, "Oh, there's an ant on your southwest leg." Or, "Move your cup to the north-northeast a little bit." In fact, the way that you say "hello" in Kuuk Thaayorre is you say, "Which way are you going?" And the answer should be, "North-northeast in the far distance. How about you?" 


So imagine as you're walking around your day, every person you greet, you have to report your heading direction. 




But that would actually get you oriented pretty fast, right? Because you literally couldn't get past "hello," if you didn't know which way you were going. In fact, people who speak languages like this stay oriented really well. They stay oriented better than we used to think humans could. We used to think that humans were worse than other creatures because of some biological excuse: "Oh, we don't have magnets in our beaks or in our scales." No; if your language and your culture trains you to do it, actually, you can do it. 03:57

Keep your eyes closed. Point. OK, so you can open your eyes. I see you guys pointing there, there, there, there, there ... I don't know which way it is myself -- 


But how would the Kuuk Thaayorre, this Aboriginal group I just told you about, do it? They don't use words like "left" and "right." Let me give you hint. When we sat people facing south, they organized time from left to right. When we sat them facing north, they organized time from right to left. When we sat them facing east, time came towards the body. What's the pattern? East to west, right? So for them, time doesn't actually get locked on the body at all, it gets locked on the landscape. So for me, if I'm facing this way, then time goes this way, and if I'm facing this way, then time goes this way. I'm facing this way, time goes this way -- very egocentric of me to have the direction of time chase me around every time I turn my body. For the Kuuk Thaayorre, time is locked on the landscape. It's a dramatically different way of thinking about time. 


Here's another really smart human trick. Suppose I ask you how many penguins are there. Well, I bet I know how you'd solve that problem if you solved it. You went, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight." You counted them. You named each one with a number, and the last number you said was the number of penguins. This is a little trick that you're taught to use as kids. You learn the number list and you learn how to apply it. A little linguistic trick. Well, some languages don't do this, because some languages don't have exact number words. They're languages that don't have a word like "seven" or a word like "eight." In fact, people who speak these languages don't count, and they have trouble keeping track of exact quantities. So, for example, if I ask you to match this number of penguins to the same number of ducks, you would be able to do that by counting. But folks who don't have that linguistic trick can't do that. 


Languages also differ in how they divide up the color spectrum -- the visual world. Some languages have lots of words for colors, some have only a couple words, "light" and "dark." And languages differ in where they put boundaries between colors. So, for example, in English, there's a word for blue that covers all of the colors that you can see on the screen, but in Russian, there isn't a single word. Instead, Russian speakers have to differentiate between light blue, "goluboy," and dark blue, "siniy." So Russians have this lifetime of experience of, in language, distinguishing these two colors. When we test people's ability to perceptually discriminate these colors, what we find is that Russian speakers are faster across this linguistic boundary. They're faster to be able to tell the difference between a light and dark blue. And when you look at people's brains as they're looking at colors -- say you have colors shifting slowly from light to dark blue -- the brains of people who use different words for light and dark blue will give a surprised reaction as the colors shift from light to dark, as if, "Ooh, something has categorically changed," whereas the brains of English speakers, for example, that don't make this categorical distinction, don't give that surprise, because nothing is categorically changing. 


Languages have all kinds of structural quirks. This is one of my favorites. Lots of languages have grammatical gender; every noun gets assigned a gender, often masculine or feminine. And these genders differ across languages. So, for example, the sun is feminine in German but masculine in Spanish, and the moon, the reverse. Could this actually have any consequence for how people think? Do German speakers think of the sun as somehow more female-like, and the moon somehow more male-like? Actually, it turns out that's the case. So if you ask German and Spanish speakers to, say, describe a bridge, like the one here -- "bridge" happens to be grammatically feminine in German, grammatically masculine in Spanish -- German speakers are more likely to say bridges are "beautiful," "elegant" and stereotypically feminine words. Whereas Spanish speakers will be more likely to say they're "strong" or "long," these masculine words. 


Now, this has consequences. So, people who speak different languages will pay attention to different things, depending on what their language usually requires them to do. So we show the same accident to English speakers and Spanish speakers, English speakers will remember who did it, because English requires you to say, "He did it; he broke the vase." Whereas Spanish speakers might be less likely to remember who did it if it's an accident, but they're more likely to remember that it was an accident. They're more likely to remember the intention. So, two people watch the same event, witness the same crime, but end up remembering different things about that event. This has implications, of course, for eyewitness testimony. It also has implications for blame and punishment. So if you take English speakers and I just show you someone breaking a vase, and I say, "He broke the vase," as opposed to "The vase broke," even though you can witness it yourself, you can watch the video, you can watch the crime against the vase, you will punish someone more, you will blame someone more if I just said, "He broke it," as opposed to, "It broke." The language guides our reasoning about events. 


Language can also have really early effects, what we saw in the case of color. These are really simple, basic, perceptual decisions. We make thousands of them all the time, and yet, language is getting in there and fussing even with these tiny little perceptual decisions that we make. Language can have really broad effects. So the case of grammatical gender may be a little silly, but at the same time, grammatical gender applies to all nouns. That means language can shape how you're thinking about anything that can be named by a noun. That's a lot of stuff. 


Now, the beauty of linguistic diversity is that it reveals to us just how ingenious and how flexible the human mind is. Human minds have invented not one cognitive universe, but 7,000 -- there are 7,000 languages spoken around the world. And we can create many more -- languages, of course, are living things, things that we can hone and change to suit our needs. The tragic thing is that we're losing so much of this linguistic diversity all the time. We're losing about one language a week, and by some estimates, half of the world's languages will be gone in the next hundred years. And the even worse news is that right now, almost everything we know about the human mind and human brain is based on studies of usually American English-speaking undergraduates at universities. That excludes almost all humans. Right? So what we know about the human mind is actually incredibly narrow and biased, and our science has to do better. 


I want to leave you with this final thought. I've told you about how speakers of different languages think differently, but of course, that's not about how people elsewhere think. It's about how you think. It's how the language that you speak shapes the way that you think. And that gives you the opportunity to ask, "Why do I think the way that I do?" 

The Subjunctive Mood


What is the difference in the highlighted words in columns A and B?


John’s English teacher recommended that he do online exercises for only 10 minutes every day.  It is essential that he strengthen his grammar and vocabulary in order to augment his ability to persuade people in English. 

John suggested he add homework time to his schedule and proposed that his administrative assistant not interrupt him during this dedicated work time. 

The teacher agreed it was a great idea that he carve out uninterrupted study time. 

He does online exercises for only 10 minutes every day. 

He strengthens his grammar and vocabulary in order to  augment his ability to persuade people in English. 

He adds time to his schedule.  

The administrative assistant doesn’t interrupt him during his dedicated work time. 

The teacher is happy because he carves out uninterrupted study time. 


What kind of message would you be sending if you used these expressions or verbs: 


It is essential that… 



It is a great idea that…



Looking at column A, what do you think the rule is for using clauses after the above verbs and expressions?

British Vs International English

The subjunctive is an older form of English that the British no longer use.  However, it is used widely in the rest of the English speaking world, including Canada, particularly in academic and professional settings.  Therefore, at the higher levels, it is important to use this grammar point. 

Presentation Two & Practice One

Review the rules and do the exercise at the bottom.

How Alexa is Threatening Society’s Trust in Scientific Expertise


  1.  Speculation.  Students speculate what the article’s argument might be, based on the article.
  2. Student reads it to him or herself alone to get the general idea. 
  3. Student gives an oral summary of the article. 
  4. Describe how AI (artificial intelligence) has impacted your life or the lives of people you know. 
  5. How do you mitigate the use of AI in your life?
  6. Argue that everyone should have an AI device, such as Siri or Alexa in their home.  You do not have to believe this! Use the subjunctive in your arguments.  Suggested expressions: Recommend

It is essential that… 



It is a great idea that…




  1. Listen to the podcast related to this article (in the link attached to the title).  Write a response to the expanded information. 



How 'Alexa' is threatening society's trust in scientific expertise

Philosopher of science is concerned that voice assistance encourages 'delegation of judgement' to algorithms

CBC Radio · Posted: Jan 25, 2021 5:57 PM ET | Last Updated: January 25

Philosopher of science Frédéric Bouchard argues that every time a person relies on Siri, Google or Alexa to answer a question, there's a potentially negative impact on scientific or human expertise. (Zapp2Photo/Shutterstock)




Science and Society: Frédéric Bouchard

Frédéric Bouchard says we should be worried about society's attitudes towards scientists. 

Bouchard is a philosopher of science, as well as the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the Université de Montréal. In December 2020, he delivered an online talk for the Canadian Immunization Conference, entitled Science and Society. 

"I'm not worried so much about the credibility of science," he said, "but I think we should be worried about attitudes concerning the humans, the scientists, producing it. And what it says about society as a whole."

This mistrust of scientists is actually the result of a broader lack of trust across society, Bouchard said, and among people in general. This diminution of trust has been exacerbated by our increased reliance on algorithms and artificial intelligence. 

"The true challenges to the credibility of scientific experts," he said, "are more fundamental."

Algorithms and chocolate chip cookies

One of the ways we are all inadvertently feeding the distrust in humans, Bouchard said, is through our trust of algorithms and artificial intelligence. 

Bouchard uses the example of requesting a chocolate chip cookie recipe from a voice assistant, such as Siri or Alexa. The device will churn out a recipe immediately, but you have no way of knowing why that was the recipe you were given. 

"We don't even see the website. We don't even see the title page," he said. "We just take the first answer that comes up," Bouchard told IDEAS host Nahlah Ayed in a subsequent conversation. 

In this way, voice assistance encourages us, as he says, to "delegate our judgment" to the algorithm providing those answers. "That's what concerns me."

'Next time you ask a question to Siri, Alexa, Google, think about the human expertise that you are foregoing; think about who chose that recipe: why was it identified as the best recipe?' asks philosopher of science, Frédéric Bouchard. (Julie Van Rosendaal/CBC)

Delegating answers to other people is normal, Bouchard maintains, simply because we don't have every answer ourselves. And when we delegate knowledge to others, we then have ways of assessing the credibility of our source — for example, we trust an academic because they're a professor at a university, and we recognize the authority of the institution they belong to. 

With voice assistance, however, we don't have any of those markers that help us assess whether the information we're receiving is credible or not.

"Humans are biased. We all know that," he said. But when we assume that artificial intelligence is in some way less biased, we can inadvertently put more trust in computers than our fellow humans. 

"When we question the human integrity of others by comparison to our digital algorithms," he said, "we're basically feeding the distrust in humans." 

This distrust, in turn, can weaken our trust in people in general, including scientists. 

The problem with politicians 

It may be counterintuitive, but as Professor Bouchard points out, when politicians declare they are pro-science, they could unintentionally be undermining the public's trust in science.

This kind of statement can lead to science being viewed as a political issue, he argues. It suggests that, "some other people are anti-science, and that everyone has to choose a camp."

Bouchard said he's grateful whenever politicians listen to scientists, because they have valuable information that can inform policy decisions.

However, he does have a caveat.

"When an elected official says 'I believe in science,' the word that concerns me is 'I,'" he said. "In a highly polarized society, I'm afraid it suggests that it's okay not to believe in science. It feels like a personal choice." 

It can also lead to a situation where advising scientists may be seen as the ones making the decisions, he said, which can make the public think the scientists are overstepping their role. 

Rather, Bouchard adds, it would be better for politicians to say that they've consulted with scientists, but ultimately the decisions were made by those who were democratically elected.

"I'm much more comfortable when elected officials say I have convened a group of scientists, they've given me their best assessment of where we're going, and then we've made the decision," he said. 

Hope for the future

Despite his concerns, Bouchard said he hopes that trust in scientific experts will be restored in a meaningful way. One of the main reasons for his optimism is the impact brought on by the isolation many are experiencing in the current pandemic. 

"We've lost a lot of social interactions through this pandemic," he said. Since he finds the issue of credible expertise fundamentally about trust in other people and institutions, he sees this craving for social connection as something that will reinvigorate our social bonds. 

"There'll be an energy in trusting in each other and building things together," he said. In this way, he sees the pandemic as a kind of necessary reckoning that will ultimately improve trust between people. 

On an individual level, this improvement can take the form of asking a friend or relative for a chocolate chip cookie recipe, instead of a voice assistant. This return to trusting the people around us, he said, can help rebuild trust across the board.

"I'm confident that we're able to, and that we will do it."

*This episode was produced by Menaka Raman-Wilms.

Stress Questions for Discussion

Women’s Day Plan

Women’s Day Plan  Comparatives and Superlatives 

Opening:  When women say smell this, it usually smells nice. 

What are some of the problems women face, today, in the workforce, that men don’t face?

What are the advantages to men and women working together?

Grammar Prompt:  Review of Comparatives and Superlatives

Read the following sentences.  Refresh your memories as to how comparatives and superlatives are made in English. 

More women than men were affected by the pandemic . 

Men earn more money than women. 

Men have bigger paycheques than women. 

Lower paid employees have smaller cubicles. 

Men earn the most money. 

She has the most interesting job. 

The boss has the biggest office. 

Women are better educated than men. 

The most educated person got the job. 

The happiest person in the room just got a promotion. 


Share the Link:  Grammar Explanation and exercise to check understanding:

Reading and Discussion: Job interview questions women get asked more than men

  1. List as many questions as you can remember that are asked in an interview.
  2. Which questions do you think are asked more of women than men?
  3. Read the article: Why do you think there is a difference in how women are interviewed?

Anastasia Santoreneos

10 September 2020·4-min read

When it comes to jobs, women have long been aware that they aren’t on a level playing field with men. But now, it seems disadvantages stretch beyond pay and promotions - they begin right at the interview process.

According to a survey of 2,000 respondents, there are 12 questions women get asked more than men.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of all female respondents were asked the question, ‘Why should we hire you?’, compared to just 37 per cent of men.

A whopping 43 per cent of female respondents were also asked the questions, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ compared to just 34 per cent of men.

Interestingly, the two questions men were asked the least were, ‘What is your greatest weakness?’ (27 per cent of men compared with 37 per cent of women) and ‘Describe a time when you failed and how you handled it’ (20 per cent of men compared to 26 per cent of women).

Reading and Discussion:  Gender Diversity.   What is the key reason that a gender diverse workplace is so productive?

Why Gender-Diverse Work Teams Are The Most Productive -- And Profitable


LearnVestFormer Contributor

Personal Finance

Former Contributor

By Shana Lebowitz

This post originally appeared on LearnVest.

Imagine for a moment that you could abandon political correctness and choose exactly who you work with.

Should you opt for diversity, picking an equal number of men and women to comprise your team, or should you instead create a single-gender office?

Well, it all depends on whether you’re aiming for a happy staff—or a productive one.

A new study found that people are happier working with employees of the same gender—yet, surprisingly, gender-diverse teams tend to be more productive.

Gender diversity was a huge boon to the company’s bottom line.  Transitioning from a single-gender office to an office evenly split between men and women would translate to a 41% revenue gain; gender diversity is good for business.

So how is it possible that employees still reported higher satisfaction levels when working on homogeneous teams? Study co-author Sara Fisher Ellison suggests that employees may socialize more and work less when they’re matched with people who are similar to them.

But perhaps the most curious finding to come out of this research is that people actually do like the idea of gender diversity. Employees surveyed reported that gender and racial diversity was important for increasing trust and satisfaction.

Overall, the results imply that there’s a “mismatch between the kind of workplace people think they would like and the actual workplace that makes them happier,” Ellison tells The Wall Street Journal. That suggests businesses may need to ramp up their efforts to encourage workers to accept people of different backgrounds.



What are the advantages and disadvantages of a diverse workplace?  What strategies would you recommend, as a manager, to create a strong, diverse, cohesive team?