Sunday 10 July 2011

3 Things I learned while my plane crashed (TED) - Ric Elias

You are going to 
  1. watch a clip about what a man learnt from a plane crash
  2. read a text and do a vocabulary matching exercise
  3. discuss what you would do in an imaginary situation using the 2nd conditional
  4. write about what we learn from difficulty

Ric Elias was a survivor of Flight 1549 which crash-landed soon after takeoff from New York in 2009. In this short clip he tells us the three things he learned about himself from the accident and how everything in his life changed from that moment on.

1) Introduction
Watch this clip about Flight 1549
  • What caused the accident?
  • Where did the aircraft land?

Highlight here for answers = 1) Birds  2) In the Hudson River

2) Discuss
  • Have you ever flown in an aeroplane?
  • Do you like flying?
  • Have you ever had any problems while flying?
  • What do you think about when you fly?
  • How would you feel if something like Flight 1549 happened to you?
  • Do you think we can learn anything when bad things happen to us?
  • What do you think are the most important things in life?

3) Read the following text
Ric Elias descibes what happened when the plane stated to fall.

Find the answers to these questions while reading
  1. Where was he sitting?
  2. Who did he talk to?
  3. What three things did the pilot do?

Imagine a big explosion as you climb through 3,000 ft. Imagine a plane full of smoke. Imagine an engine going clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack, clack. It sounds scary. Well I had a unique seat that day. I was sitting in 1D. I was the only one who could talk to the flight attendants. So I looked at them right away, and they said, "No problem. We probably hit some birds."  The pilot had already turned the plane around, and we weren't that far. You could see Manhattan. Two minutes later, three things happened at the same time. The pilot lines up the plane with the Hudson River. That's usually not the route. He turns off the engines. Now imagine being in a plane with no sound. And then he says three words -- the most unemotional three words I've ever heard. He says, "Brace for impact."  I didn't have to talk to the flight attendant anymore.  I could see in her eyes, it was terror. Life was over.

Answers - Highlight here = 1) Seat 1D 2) Flight attendants 3) The pilot lines up the plane with the Hudson River. He turns off the engines. He says, "Brace for impact."

4) Watch the video
The title of this video is "3 things I learned while my plane crashed"
Before you watch - what 3 things about life do you think Ric learned?
Watch the video to find out if you are right.

Read the text to check your answers

Now I want to share with you three things I learned about myself that day. I learned that it all changes in an instant. We have this bucket list, we have these things we want to do in life, and I thought about all the people I wanted to reach out to that I didn't, all the fences I wanted to mend, all the experiences I wanted to have and I never did. As I thought about that later on, I came up with a saying, which is, "I collect bad wines." Because if the wine is ready and the person is there, I'm opening it. I no longer want to postpone anything in life. And that urgency, that purpose, has really changed my life.

The second thing I learned that day -- and this is as we clear the George Washington Bridge, which was by not a lot -- I thought about, wow, I really feel one real regret. I've lived a good life. In my own humanity and mistakes, I've tried to get better at everything I tried. But in my humanity, I also allow my ego to get in. And I regretted the time I wasted on things that did not matter with people that matter. And I thought about my relationship with my wife, with my friends, with people. And after, as I reflected on that, I decided to eliminate negative energy from my life. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better. I've not had a fight with my wife in two years. It feels great. I no longer try to be right; I choose to be happy.

The third thing I learned -- and this is as your mental clock starts going, "15, 14, 13." You can see the water coming. I'm saying, "Please blow up." I don't want this thing to break in 20 pieces like you've seen in those documentaries. And as we're coming down, I had a sense of, wow, dying is not scary. It's almost like we've been preparing for it our whole lives. But it was very sad. I didn't want to go; I love my life. And that sadness really framed in one thought, which is, I only wish for one thing. I only wish I could see my kids grow up. About a month later, I was at a performance by my daughter -- first-grader, not much artistic talent ... ... yet.  And I'm balling, I'm crying, like a little kid. And it made all the sense in the world to me. I realized at that point, by connecting those two dots, that the only thing that matters in my life is being a great dad. Above all, above all, the only goal I have in life is to be a good dad.

I was given the gift of a miracle, of not dying that day. I was given another gift, which was to be able to see into the future and come back and live differently. I challenge you guys that are flying today, imagine the same thing happens on your plane -- and please don't -- but imagine, and how would you change? What would you get done that you're waiting to get done because you think you'll be here forever? How would you change your relationships and the negative energy in them? And more than anything, are you being the best parent you can?

Thank you.

Answers - Highlight below
    1. He no longer wants to postpone anything in life
    2. He decided to eliminate negative energy from his life
    3. The only goal he has in life is to be a good dad

      5) Read the text again
      Some words in the text have been highlighted in bold.
      Can you match the words on the left with the definitions on the right?
      The first has been done for you. You can drag and drop the words using your mouse.

      Watch the clip on TED with an interactive transcript

      6) Grammar Discussion
      At the end Ric says "I challenge you guys that are flying today, imagine the same thing happens on your plane...  how would you change? What would you get done that you're waiting to get done because you think you'll be here forever? How would you change your relationships and the negative energy in them?"

      Ric asks us to imagine this situation happening to us (although we hope it never does!)
      If we are talking about imaginary situations in the present or future what tense do we use?

      Answer = Highlight here  2nd Conditional  = What would you do if it happened?
      Would + verb + If +Past 
      If + Past + Would + verb. See presentation below

      7) Now discuss these questions
      Imagine you are Ric in the plane.  If something like this happened to you...
      • What would you change about yourself?
      • Would you do anything different in your life?
      • What would you remember?
      • What would you be thankful for?
      • What would you regret?
      • What would you change in your relationships with your friends and family?
      • What decisions would you make for the future?

      If you are not sure or can't remember how to use conditional 2 look here

      More practice on conditionals here
      and here

      Find out more about Flight 1549 here

      8) Writing
      Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Most experiences in our lives that seemed difficult at the time become valuable lessons for the future. Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer. (250 words - IELTS)

      Writing tips and ideas - Don't forget to plan!
      • Look carefully at the question
      • Think about what you have learned in life (eg learning to drive, learning English, relationships...).
      • Do you agree with the statement? Why? Why not?
      • How much have you learned from doing things that seemed difficult at first?
      • Can you think of any examples? Say what was difficult about them and what you learned.
      • Contrast the idea; think of some easy things you have learned. Do you think they are as important? Do they give as much satisfaction?
      • What do we learn about ourselves from learning difficult things?
      • Don't forget to sum up your ideas in your conclusion.

      Worksheet + Answers
      Happy and safe flying to everyone!

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