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The subject of our free sample English class is close to our hearts: the Blue Noun building is a repurposed former church! 

FREE Sample English Class

Hello ESL English language learners and friends of Blue Noun English Language School in Perthshire!

 

We’ve something different for you today – as an experiment, we’re publishing a sample lesson. It’s to show you the sort of thing we discuss in our English classes.

We regularly discuss topics around art, culture and the built environment as our English language school classes targets English needed for creative industries.

Use this sample lesson freely. There’s a written introduction, an audio clip, the transcript and some discussion questions.

Whether you are an ESL teacher or ESL learner, we hope you enjoy using this FREE sample English class.

Let us know in the comments! 
 
Key themes: Architecture, Politics, Religion, Churches and Community.
Free sample English lesson Repurposed Churches church icon

Introduction

I’ve picked this lesson about disused and repurposed churches because Blue Noun English Language School is itself housed within in gorgeous converted church.
 
On Saturday the 27th July 2019, Geoffry Cox was a panellist on Radio 4’s Any Questions: a panel-based political debate programme in which the audience pose questions (and which, generally, politicians show consummate skill in avoiding giving a clear answer and towing the party line).
 
The final question posed was about the importance of repurposing the old and disused churches across the British landscape. (Traditionally, every small village had at least one church, but declining attendance and the modern ease of commuting has made many redundant).
 

Geoffry Cox is a Conservative politician and an outspoken pro-Brexiteer.

However, on this one question, I enjoyed hearing what he had to say.

 
Find below this audio clip with the transcript just below it.

(Further down the page you will find discussion questions).
Free sample English lesson Repurposed Churches church icon

 

“[I think churches are] precious arks that have come down to us in the past, from the past, and which contain within them important seeds of learning for our civilisation and communities.”

Geoffrey Cox, 2019

Free sample English lesson Repurposed Churches church icon

Listening Exercise Transcript

“[I think churches are] precious arks that have come down to us in the past, from the past, and which contain within them important seeds of learning for our civilisation and communities.
 
Even if you don’t subscribe (as I do) to the Christian message – the message itself (by which I mean the divinity of Christ) the message itself of compassion, of service, of public duty, of loving our neighbour as we do ourselves. Nobody I think – no humanitarian can deny that that message is important to our civilisation in our country.
 
So I think those buildings must be preserved. I hope they will go on for generations to come, as centres of religion worship and centres of religion learning, but the can also go on (as Stephen said) as important centres of community activity, of pastoral care and of social and community compassion.
 
They are already. They are vital to our communities. Even those who don’t attend them must know when they look at these churches .. must know when they look at this church that there is something part of the glue and fabric of our rural communities. Long may they continue.”
 
 
Geoffrey Cox, 27th July, 2019

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Free sample English lesson Repurposed Churches church icon

Discussion questions:

 
  • Is there any similar problem in your country? If so, why? What are the changes in society?
 
  • What are some of the things redundant church buildings could be used for?
 
  • Have you ever seen a church building (or other building) repurposed in a surprising or innovative way?
 

One potential use of these buildings it to turn them into bars and nightclubs, like the Pitcher and Piano in Nottingham (link below).

 

  • What do you think about this? Is it sacrilegious?

     

  • Is it normal to like what a politician says on certain subjects but strongly dislike their stance on others – or is it more usual to align within political camps?
  • How much of a say should the community (presumably the former congregation) have in the repurposing of former church buildings?
Free sample English lesson Repurposed Churches church icon

Conversation Practice | Descriptions and Expressing Opinions

At this point in the English lesson, we would get Ipads or phones out, and go for a nice exploration around Pinterest.

The group would partner up and describe something they particularly like (or dislike) and explain their opinion. 

It’s chatty, fun and relaxed – but it practices really important English language skills needed for collaborating on projects. 

Free sample English lesson Repurposed Churches Pinterest Screenshot
Free sample English lesson Repurposed Churches Pinterest Screenshot

Pinterest Screenshots

Free sample English lesson Repurposed Churches church icon

Further Reading

English language students may also want to check out the Pitcher and Piano in Nottingham here.

 

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this sample English lesson. 

If so, do let us know in the comments!

 

Want to know more about Blue Noun English Language School pedagogy?

You might enjoy this blog:

 

Are Books Still Good Resources for English Language Class?

paint splatter

A quick note from the author

We began the Blue Noun blog back in 2019, when we called ourselves a ‘language school’ (we now call ourselves a language hub) and we were building up our business completely from scratch.

Our first few months were spent making friends in the community, researching homestay hosts for our language guests and finding out about all the good local places and activities to take our language learning guests.

In 2021 we moved the Blue Noun website to a different platform. We had the option of deleting these old blogs – they are very different form our current, more pedagogic style of posting, but I think they are quite charming to see how our young business grew, turning from a language school run by an artist – into a language hub which really began to focus on coaching artists in English by immersing them in creative environments.