Workplace robots lesson plan offers reading, listening, and speaking activities. The aim of this class is to discuss the possibility of workplace robots taking over and replacing humans. It is one of the issues many people grapple with and I was counting on my students to have strong opinions here. I was not disappointed. This topic is an instant discussion generator for the classroom. I have seen it in action during ordinary as well as conversation classes and it is golden. It is suitable for older teenagers and adult learners, FCE, CAE, upper intermediate, and advanced levels. The inspiration and materials for this lesson came from the article I read on the BBC website.
Start by brainstorming different functions robots can perform using the pictures on the first page of the handout (the second picture shows a miniature robot camel jockey! awesome!). Then, move on to the listening part. Students need to fill in the table answering questions about two workplace robots, Bob and Baxter (clickable links included). The next part involves looking for synonyms in a short text, followed by filling in the gaps in an article with missing sentences. The last step is a discussion about the probability of workplace robots replacing humans at work, plus a nice quote on how humans and robots might coexist.
I used this lesson to complement the chapter on technology my FCE groups were working on. It took around 45 mins. What I liked was how this class allowed practising many skills without spending too much time on any of them (each stage took more less 10 minutes), which made it flow smoothly and helped students stay focused without losing momentum over a too long reading activity. The topic of workplace robots proved relevant and engaging for the students (both teens and adults).