The greens and fruit of ELT

What have you heard of? Parsnip? You should know, it’s outdated!



Well the caption to this picture Luke Meddings took the other day in Glasgow got me laughing and instantly gave me an idea for a lesson to try out with a group of students I teach at university.

Conveniently enough, two weeks ago we had 3 hours of heated debate sparked by PARSNIP subversive activity from 52 aka my treasure book (if by some odd chance you still haven’t, check The Round now and learn more about it, download the sample and buy the whole of it, this is a must, frankly speaking). I hope to publish one outstanding piece of student’s writing, one day, now you just have to believe me the classes were awesome and caused some productive verbal fight (nobody injured, I”m not a bad referee), a couple of subverted minds, and all in all made a lot of difference.

Today the task for them was to think ANTI-PARSNIP – create an acronym for themes they would LOVE to discuss in an English classroom. Sure it had to be either a veg or a fruit, to stick to the eco trend. I didn’t expect it could become so exciting for them – we spent 1.5h (brainstorming/creating/sharing). 

Sorry for the quality, I”ll comment on each of the posters below.







This poster expresses environmental concerns. Mostly agreed these are pressing problems. Did not agree whether e-cars are the future or not (voted for hybrid models in the end). Agreed Russia should think forward and not rely too much on the export of its resources.





Olympic Games



This poster represents cultural aspects of interest, and rather funnily (but unintentionally) puts MONEY in the very centre)) Unanimously agreed all of these themes are exciting for all. Came up with an idea for a project to be done in May – reporting with photos and video on the exhibition/event visited. Agreed that coins and banknotes tell the histories of the countries. Looking forward to discuss London and Sochi Olympics, as well as the previous games, records and athletes. Will be interesting to see if the Chinese sportsmen will prove their dominance.

 Now comes the one poster which could be the two posters as each student feels very defensive of his own ideas, and of course the compromise is including both variants in some cases.



Unabled/disabled people

Creativity (especially in science)

UK best TV show (Top Gear)

Modernisation/mobile phones

Big Ben (stands for symbols of cities and countries around the world)


Relativity (!)



As it turned out, relativity is the cause of worries of many of my students, which is of course explained by the fact they have an introductory course into General Theory of Relativity first year of university and some find it really bizarre and ambiguous and fear credit time=).

I”m so happy to see young people are educated, creative, concerned. They have diverse interests, they are active and ready to think critically, arguement their viewpoints, or take opponents’ side.

This is very inspiring. THEY are very inspiring!


Image from


Go fresh with your class!



One thought on “The greens and fruit of ELT

  1. […] Check out Ann’s 2012 post on PARSNIPS Extra bonus random disclosure: I didn’t even know parsnips were a veggie until I […]

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