A Lesson on Greed

April 2012

4 videos, 4 activities.


Play Kim’s game with this surreal Ladybird Book-style animation. Everyone stands and each person who fails to recite a noun (that flashes up during the film) at one-mintue intervals, has to sit. Repeat until there is one winner remaining.

Charlie Chaplin

Public speaking practice. Cut up slips of the speech and hand out to students. Ask each to stand at the front and read their piece with emotion. Text here.

Gordon Gekko

Set up a meeting (argument) between the shareholders and management of Teldar Paper. The management want to scrap this year’s dividend because of the recession. The shareholders want to know why the company has lost 110 million dollars in the past year. Their shares have lost 80% of their value from a high of five years ago. They want the management to take a pay cut and they want the Chairman to quit. The shareholders may also want to sell their shares to you, the teacher, who the management believe will strip the company and fire all the workers. The management want to offer a new tranche of shares which they promise will be great value due to a new strategic shakeup of the firm based on internet publishing. Each group should try to anticipate and prepare for the arguments that will be given by the other side.

The Merchant of Venice

Script creation and role play. You could choose any part of this play to examine the concept of greed but I think Act III Scene III is particularly good. Antonio finds out that his ships carrying his cargo to Venice have been wrecked in a storm and he now faces bankruptcy. Shylock refuses to show any mercy and demands his pound of flesh.

Antonio tries to reason with Shylock over his inability to pay off the loan. Shylock refuses to show any mercy and insists on allowing Antonio no reprieve from his misfortune. By now Shylock is being unreasonable but Antonio finally accepts his fate. The gaoler arrests Antonio and puts him in chains on Shylock’s request.