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Teachers! Free English Lesson plan from Learn Hot English

Video meeting fails 

Level: Advanced (C1) to Proficiency (C2)

Audio: Yes

Have you ever had a problem with a video meeting? What happened? What went wrong? How did you resolve it?

With Zoom and other online video meeting technology becoming more and more popular, this is a topical issue that your students will enjoy reading and talking about. This practical lesson will get your students using lots of useful language and all the essential skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

WARNING: the third story involves the mention of sex – just so you know (there’s nothing explicit). You might want to omit it with certain students. 


Other levels

Although we’ve set this lesson at a certain level, you could easily use it with other levels. For example, you could just use the middle story (about the robbery) as the language isn’t too challenging with an Upper Intermediate (B2) class.

Teacher’s notes


Ask your students: What problems have you had with zoom or other video conferencing systems? What went wrong? Why? How did you resolve it?

Or, let your students watch the video (see link below) on Zoom mishaps. Ask them to answer these questions after watching it. One of the short clips is in Spanish but it’s very visual so it won’t matter: What goes wrong in each clip? Why is there a problem? What are the people trying to do? Why can’t they proceed normally? What happens in the end?


Tell your students to read over the stories and to make notes. Then, go through each story asking very general questions about what happened or the meanings of the words. Make this very communicative and dynamic. Choose any words or expressions you think students might not be familiar with. For example, from story 1, you could ask the following:

  • What did the councillor in the first story do wrong?
  • What do you think it means when they say that he was “blasted” for his actions?
  • Specifically, what did he do that could be considered dangerous?
  • What do you think it means when they say he “took his hands off the wheel”?
  • What do you think of what he did? How serious an issue is it?

Article build

Tell your students that you’re going to get them to recreate the first story. So, give them a couple of minutes to read over that one again. Then, tell them to turn to the gapped version of the article and to try to complete it. You could do this as a class, or students could do it individually or in pairs.

A senior councillor who joined a virtual council meeting while driving a lorry has been blasted for putting himself and other road users in a ‘dangerous situation’. Councillor David Brown – who held the tourism, arts and culture brief on Boston Borough Council – appeared at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, September 9 from the cab of his moving vehicle.

His dangerous actions have been captured in a video which shows him driving while using a device to connect to the meeting and has sparked outrage. He is seen looking at the screen and adjusting it on several occasions as he drives and at one point even takes his hand off the wheel to wave at the device to show his attendance when he discovers his microphone is muted. He drove for at least 20 minutes before disappearing from sight – and then reappeared on the screen for the rest of the meeting after he seemingly parked up.

He has since quit his job with the council and the matter is being investigated by Lincolnshire Police and the council.


Assign a story to each student. Then, tell them to make notes (not write out sentences) that they can use to retell their story. Then, when they’re ready, students have to give an oral summary of their story, using as many of the words and expressions as possible. Other students listen, then ask questions.

If you have a large class, you could put your students into pairs or threes and get them to create a dialogue related to the story, with one or two students playing characters from the story, and another person acting as a journalist who asks questions. Other students listen to the dialogues and ask questions.

Have fun!

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