Topic: Telling Stories About Human Rights Language Skills and Functions: Listening

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Learning English with CBC

Listening Lessons for Intermediate Students
Based on CBC Manitoba Radio Broadcasts
February 16, 2010

Lesson 55: Teacher’s Edition

Level: Benchmark 5/6 and up

Topic: Telling Stories About Human Rights

Language Skills and Functions: Listening – listening to a short interview for detail;
listening to a video for inference

Speaking – participating in a group discussion

Reading – reading a text for the main ideas; scanning a fact sheet for detail

Writing – writing a personal story
Language Competencies: Vocabulary, Pronunciation, Listening and Speaking Strategies, Socio-cultural/sociolinguistic Competence

Language Tasks: Discussing the meaning and significance of human rights

Listening for detail to a radio interview with Angela Cassie of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights on the Museum's search for stories

Listening to/Viewing a video about the Museum for inference

Reading a brochure about the Museum for main ideas

Scanning a fact sheet on the Museum construction for detail

Participating in a roundtable discussion on what should be part of the Museum exhibits

Pre-writing/drafting and revising a personal story on a human rights experience

Essential Skills: Reading text, working with others, thinking skills, oral communication, writing, numeracy

Worksheets1: 1. Vocabulary Gap Fill

2. Listen for Detail

3. What's Unique About the Museum?

4. Scan a Construction Fact Sheet for Detail

5. Participate in the Museum's Roundtable Discussion

6. Write Your Story

Appendices: Transcript of the podcast

Canadian Museum of Human Rights Brochure (adapted)

Canadian Museum of Human Rights Construction Facts and Figures
Manitoba Memo
Until the year 2000, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was only an idea in the mind of Winnipeg businessman and philanthropist Dr. Izzy Asper.
Dr. Asper had been involved in human rights issues and human rights education for many years. He got the idea for a Canadian Museum of Human Rights from the Human Rights and Holocaust Education Program run by his family's Foundation. High school students from across Canada have participated in this education program since 1997. The program culminates with a trip to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. Students who complete the program commit to not be indifferent to human rights issues and they promise to take personal responsibility for the advancement of human rights.
The program had such a powerful impact on the students who participated that Dr. Asper began to dream about a museum where students could be inspired by Canadian human rights heroes and heroines, by events in Canadian history and by the human rights stories of Canadians from all walks of life.
Dr. Asper, or Izzy as most people called him, succeeded in getting many people interested in his vision for the Museum. But when he died in 2003, the Museum was still a long way from being a reality. His daughter Gail Asper continued to work non-stop to see her father's dream come true. Today, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is under construction at The Forks in Winnipeg and Canadians are being asked what kinds of stories the Museum should tell.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a very unique project. It's Canada's first human rights museum. It's funded by three levels of government and the private sector. It's located in Western Canada. And its mandate is different from other Canadian museums. As the Museum brochure states:

Most museums celebrate the past. This museum will change the future.

Pre-listening activities

  1. Discuss as a class

  • What is a human right? Can you think of some examples of human rights?

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you felt your human rights were being violated, or where you felt discriminated against? What was the situation?

  • Who do think has a stronger record in protecting human rights, your country of origin or Canada, or is there little difference? Why do you think that?

  • The Canadian Museum for Human Rights says that while most museums celebrate the past, this museum will change the future. What role do you think a Museum of Human Rights can play in promoting and protecting human rights? For example, do you think a Museum can make people more aware of times when human rights have not been respected?

Elicit or present key vocabulary that students need to understand prior to listening to the podcast (see suggested vocabulary and explanations which follow). You can write the words on the board and elicit possible meanings from the class or break students into groups and give each group a few words to review. Groups can then present the vocabulary to the rest of the class. You can also ask students to mark the syllables and stress for each word, identify word families and practise pronouncing the words. You may want to ask students to think of sentences that use the new vocabulary. If your students keep a vocabulary journal, they can copy the vocabulary into their journal.

In addition to reviewing the vocabulary in advance (or as an alternative if the vocabulary isn't too challenging for your students), have students work with a partner to complete Worksheet 1, a gap fill vocabulary exercise.


Canadian Museum of Human Rights Canada's newest national museum. The Museum will open its doors in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2010.

(to) take shape When a physical structure is developed or begins to be built and people are able to get a sense of what it will look like. For example: The Museum building at The Forks is beginning to take shape and we can see that it appears to be a very large structure.

The expression is also used to describe an idea. For example: When Museum staff heard people's human rights stories, they began to think about what should be featured in the exhibits. Ideas began to take shape or develop in their minds.

(to) grow in size and scope To become larger and take up more space or area.

crisscross To travel back and forth across something. For example: Museum staff crisscrossed or went back and forth across Canada looking for human rights stories.

museum galleries The rooms in a museum where there are exhibits that are open to the public.

point of view Someone's opinion, perspective or attitude.

full range A wide variety. For example: Museum staff heard a wide variety or full range of human rights stories.
first person account A way of telling a story where the writer or speaker is involved with the story. A first person account uses pronouns such as I, me, we and us.

to treat something To deal with something in a particular way. For example: The Museum needs to be careful how it treats, handles or deals with the human rights issues of people who cannot speak for themselves.

roundtable discussions Informal discussions in small groups that often take place around a table.

(to be) moving To be emotionally powerful. For example: The story she told was so emotionally powerful it moved her audience to tears.

(to) shoot video To use a video camera to film something.

exhibits Displays in public places. For example, art galleries and museums have exhibits or displays of their collections.

(to) document To write about, film or photograph something so there will a record of it for others to see and/or read.

(to) capture To describe or show a situation or event using pictures. For example: The exhibit on the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike captured or showed the emotion of the people who participated.

tools and resources at our disposal To have the things you need to do a job nearby and available for use. For example: The Museum had note takers, photographers and videographers at the round tables to ensure they could record and document what was said.

3. Predict what the podcast is about

In this interview, Marcy Markusa interviews Angela Cassie, Director of Communications for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights about the roundtable discussions the Museum is holding. The Museum is asking Manitobans what kinds of human rights stories should be in its galleries and exhibits. Ask students what kinds of stories they think the Museum might want people to share.
I think they'll want people to share ...personal stories.

They may want people to share... stories about human rights experiences in their home country.

Perhaps they'll want to hear...stories about discrimination.

Maybe they're interested in...stories about human rights heroes and heroines.

I don't know what kinds of stories they'll want people to share.
While-listening activities

    1. Introduce the podcast

      Tell students that in this podcast, they will hear two speakers. They will hear:

Marcy Markusa – host and interviewer

Angela Cassie – Director of Communications, Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Play the podcast for the first time.
2. Listen for detail
Hand out Worksheet 2. Ask students to work with a partner to complete it. Discuss the answers as a class.
3. Listen for reductions
Remind students that reductions are spontaneous pronunciation changes in words or sounds. They are particularly common when people are speaking quickly. Two words or three words may sound like one word.
Angela Cassie uses a number of common reductions when she speaks. Write the following examples on the board and ask students to listen for them in the interview.
Written English: What You See Spoken English - What You Hear

want to  wanna

have to  hafta

you know  y'know

Tell students that reductions are used in spoken English but not in formal written English. Everyone uses them. Listening for and understanding reductions will help students understand more of what they hear.

After-listening activities

  1. Review pre-listening predictions

Ask students whether they were able to correctly predict the kinds of stories the Museum wants to hear.

  1. Listen to/View a Video about the Museum

The Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights website has a video called Forever Changed that can be viewed on a computer screen. It's just under 15 minutes and length and provides excellent visuals on what the Museum will look like and how human rights stories will be told.

The video can be found at:

Select full screen.

(Note: You don't need to play the video for the class to continue with the extension activities, but it provides a really good backdrop for the rest of this lesson.)

After viewing the video, discuss the following questions as a class:

  • What do you think the title of the video means? Do you think it is an appropriate title?

  • What do you think the purpose of the video is? Who is the target audience?

  • What kinds of emotions is the video hoping viewers and listeners will feel when they watch it?

  • Is there a particular image or story that you recall from the video? What is it? Why do you think it had an impact or effect on you?

Extension activities

1. Read a CMHR brochure for main ideas

In this activity, the class will be divided into four groups. Give each group one section of the brochure to read (see Appendix 2) and two corresponding questions to answer (Worksheet 3). When they have finished this task, ask students to share the information they have found out about the Museum with the rest of the class.

2. Scan a construction fact sheet on the Museum building for detail

Hand out Appendix 3 and review Worksheet 4 with students. Ask students to work with a partner to complete the Worksheet. Take up the answers as a class.

3. Discuss stories and content for the Museum in a roundtable

Have the class work in groups of four to six. Hand out Worksheet 5 and review it with students. Make sure students understand their roles in the group. If there are more than four participants in a group, split some of the roles. For example, you can split the role of group leader and time keeper, or have students take turns as note takers or question readers.

You could also consider assigning a student/students to capture the group discussions using photos or video.

Have the groups share highlights of their discussions with their classmates.

4. Pre-write, draft and revise a personal human rights story

Before students begin, remind them that they have already done some pre-writing preparation in the roundtable discussion. You may also want to provide an example of a human rights story of your own, or play one or more of the videotaped stories on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights website2. For example, you could play Karen Chaboyer's story about her experiences in residential school or Ian Kamau's story about the discrimination his mother faced finding employment in her field.

Hand out Worksheet 6 and review the writing process with students. Ask them to work with a partner for the pre-writing phase, on their own to write a draft and again with a partner on revisions.

Collect the stories and/or ask student to read them to the class.

Note: Another option for this activity would be to have students prepare a video or write a story to submit to the Museum. To find out more, go to:

Want to know more…

The official Canadian Museum for Human Rights website is:

The website for Friends of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights can be found at :

The Manitoba Human Rights Commission website is:
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is at:

The declaration is available in many languages.

There is also a great animated version of the UN declaration on youtube:
The Holocaust Memorial Museum website is:

If you are interested in more lessons on human rights and related topics, see the following Learning English with CBC lessons on our website at:
Lesson 9 November 10, 2007
A Church for the Eritrean Community

Lesson 11 November 24, 2007

Hijabs and Sports
Lesson 40 February 5, 2009

Religious Beliefs and Human Rights
Lesson 47 May 22, 2009

The Pope Apologizes

Lesson 51 November 27, 2009

Where Have All the Children Gone?

Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external websites

Worksheet 1: Vocabulary Gap Fill
Before you listen, here is some of the vocabulary you need to know. The word or phrase in italics gives the meaning of the vocabulary listed below. Find the appropriate vocabulary word or phrase and complete the sentence. The first one is completed for you as an example.
1. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CHMR) building is beginning to take shape (become visible for everyone to see).
2. Museum personnel are _________________ (crossing back and forth) the country to hear what stories Canadians think should be told in the Museum _____________ (rooms where exhibits are displayed).
3. Canadians are participating in ______________________ (small discussion groups). Many are sharing ______________ (personal stories) of their own human rights experiences.

4. The Museum has heard a __________ (a wide variety of stories) of stories. Some of the stories are personal, but other stories are told from a different __________________ (a different perspective or viewpoint).

5. Some of the stories are really ________ (so emotionally powerful they could move someone to tears).
6. The Museum is _________ (recording what's happening using a video camera) a video /videos to ___________ (to preserve or keep a record or account of what happened) the stories people tell at the roundtable discussions.

roundtable discussions to take shape moving
document crisscrossing personal accounts

shooting Galleries point of view full range

Worksheet 2: Listen for Detail
Sometimes when we listen we are listening for the main ideas and for inference. Other times we are listening for detail so that we can understand specific points that are being made. Read the following questions with your partner. When you listen to the interview this time, listen for detail and underline or circle the correct answer. The first one is completed for you as an example.


The new Canadian Museum for Human Rights is being built at The Forks in Winnipeg.




Canadians are being asked for input on what kinds of human rights stories the Museum should tell.




The Museum is only interested in first person accounts and personal stories.




All of the stories people tell will be used in the Museum exhibits.




The stories people tell will also help inform the Museum's educational programming.




The Museum exhibits will take up 4,700 square feet of space.




To make sure it doesn't miss what people have to say, the Museum is using all of the tools and resources at its disposal to document the roundtable discussions.



Worksheet 3: What's Unique About the Museum?
Your Task
Your group will be assigned one section of the brochure on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) to read for the main ideas.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you are reading:

  • When you read to understand the main ideas, you do not need to understand every word.

  • If there are key words your group doesn't understand, first see if you can guess the meaning from the context.

  • If you can't guess the meaning, use a dictionary for English language learners to help you.

  • Read the questions for your group before you begin. This will help you focus on reading for the key points you need to answer the questions.

Ask someone in your group to take point form notes of your group's answers. This will make it easier to share what you've learned with the rest of the class.



Your Notes


1. What is it that makes the Canadian Museum for Human Rights a new kind of museum?

2. How does the Museum plan to make its exhibits interesting for visitors?


1. What is unique and different about the design of the building?

2. Can you describe how visitors will move through the galleries and exhibits?



Your Notes


1. What is unique about the geographic location of the Museum?

2. Why is The Forks seen as a good site for the Museum?


1. Why are visitors likely to remember their visit to the Museum?

2. Why is it important for the Museum to deal with today's human rights issues?

Worksheet 4: Scan a Construction Fact Sheet for Detail
What is scanning?

Scanning is a technique we often use when we are looking up a word in the telephone book or the dictionary. Scanning involves moving your eyes quickly down the page looking for specific words and phrases.

When you scan, certain features in the text or on a chart can sometimes help you find the information you are looking for. These features include:

  • Headings, titles and subtitles.

  • Organizers such as bullets, numbers, letters, steps, or the words, first, second, or next.

  • Words that are bold faced, in italics, or in a different font size, style, or color.

Scanning can help you decide if a document has the information you are looking for. It can also help you find the information you need quickly, without having to read the entire document.

Scan for details

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights has a fact sheet on their website that provides information on the construction of the building. Scan this fact sheet
(Appendix 3) with your partner and see how quickly you can find the information you need to complete the chart below. The first item on the chart is completed as an example.

Fast Facts on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Date construction began

Spring 2009

Date construction will be completed

Number of floors

Height of the Tower of Hope

Two kinds of building materials or products that come from Canada


Total number of person years of employment created (one year jobs)

Worksheet 5: Participate in the Museum's Roundtable Discussion

The following questions are similar to those developed by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights for their roundtable discussions.3 To help your roundtable discussion go smoothly, make sure everyone in your group has a role. The roles are described below.


Job Description

Group leader

Ensures everyone in the group has a chance to participate. Watches the time and moves the group along so that all or most of the questions are discussed in the time available.

Question reader

Reads each question aloud to begin the discussion.


Makes point form notes of highlights of the group discussion.


Shares some of the highlights of the group discussion with the rest of the class.

Each of the questions below has suggestions of ways to begin your answer in the discussion. You can use these sentence starters to help you.

  1. What kinds of stories do you think need to be in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights? Please give examples.

I think there should be... I'd like to see...

There should be... The museum should address/incorporate..

  1. What are your own human rights experiences? When have you felt that your human rights been violated? When have they been protected?

My own human rights experiences include...

I felt my human rights were violated/protected when...

The rights of my family/friends were violated/protected when...

  1. Is there anything that you think must be in the Canadian Museum for Human Rights? In other words, what would make you feel very disappointed if it wasn't included?

I'll be disappointed if the Museum fails to include... I'll feel let down if...

It's extremely important that... I think it's critical that...

  1. If you were designing some of the museum exhibits, what would they be like? Would you want exhibits that are interactive, like computer games? Would you want to see lots of photos and video? Would there be art and music? What do think has to be part of the exhibits so that people remember their visit to the Museum?

I think the exhibits need to incorporate... My own view is that the exhibits should have...

I'd like the exhibits to be... I think people will remember their visit if...

Worksheet 6: Write Your Story
Now it's time for you to write your story about a human rights experience you, a family member or friend has had. Imagine you are writing this story for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights for an exhibit called "The Human Rights Experiences of Canadian Immigrants and Refugees."
We usually write a story in a series of stages. Here is a description of how you could approach writing your story. Read through the steps with your partner before you begin.

Pre-writing stage


Brainstorm ideas on things you could write about with a partner.


Decide what you will write about. Think about the purpose of your story. What do you want people to think about after they have read your story?


Jot down a few ideas that could be included in your story.

Draft stage

Make some decisions

What information should be in the first paragraph to grab the attention of your reader? What additional details will you put in the middle paragraphs? What will you say at the end?

Organize your ideas

Think about how to best organize your ideas. Make an outline in point form.

Write a first draft

Focus on getting your ideas down on the paper. You can edit for spelling and grammar later.

Revise your draft

Read your draft aloud

This is a good way to get a sense of how well your story is working. It will help you decide if your story flows or reads well, or if you need to revise it. It may also help you find errors in sentence structure and grammar.

Reflect on what you have written

Ask yourself what you like best about your story. Is that part clear? Ask yourself what you could improve. Can you see a way to improve it?

Ask your partner to read your draft

Tell your partner what you like best about your story. Does he/she have any suggestions on how to make this part even better? Tell your partner what part you'd like to improve. Does he/she have any suggestions to help you improve it? Does your partner have any other suggestions for you?

Write your final copy

You can use this outline to write your story
Paragraph 1

Opening/topic sentence (this is your chance to interest the reader in your story)



Supporting sentence/sentences


Paragraphs 2 and 3

(provide additional information and details)









Closing paragraph

(summarize and conclude)





Appendix 1: Transcript

Jan 25, 2010 (broadcast date)





Hi I'm Marcy Markusa and you're listening to Learning English with CBC. Well the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is really beginning to take shape. You can see the building growing in size and scope at The Forks in Winnipeg. Now, Museum staff and board members are crisscrossing the country to hear stories from Canadians on what they think should be in the Museum's galleries and it's Manitoba's turn to tell our stories. Angela Cassie is the Museum's Director of Communications and she joins me in this interview to tell us more about the kinds of stories the Museum is looking for and how the information they collect will be used.




So what kind of stories are you looking for? Are they all personal like the one we heard from Karen4, or or could they be from a different point of view?


Yeah, well we've heard the full range and I mean definitely um like the one that we've just heard is extremely personal and powerful in that you know it's a first person account and we are looking for a lot of that but as we've been travelling across the country we've also had people who say, I don't necessarily have a story but I wanna be the voice for someone who might not have a voice, and point out topics or stories or issues that we need to treat that don't necessarily relate to their own personal experience either.




Now if I show up at a roundtable and the discussion becomes something really um moving, personal, I mean are you shooting this in any way, I mean on video, is this going to be part of the museum? Like what should people expect gets done with this information?



Yeah, well this information is being used to help inform um our research, it's being used to be incorporated in terms of our archives and help us not only develop the exhibits, which is you know, an important 47,000 square feet of space, ah but

also to help us um determine what kind of learning and programming needs we need. So we do do some shooting, more to document the process during the roundtables than to capture stories and sometimes we'll be able to capture a table in the midst of a fantastic conversation. We audio record the conversations so that we don't miss anything, we bring in um note takers so that everything is captured so people don't hafta feel that it's, y'know, we're really listening, we're listening carefully and we're using all the tools and resources at our disposal to make sure that all of this is captured.




Appendix 2: Canadian Human Rights Museum Brochure5

Group 1

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a dynamic new kind of museum – a museum of stories and ideas. Artifacts will help tell the stories – but the focus of the Museum will be on participation and engagement with issues past, present, and future. The content of the Museum will be ever-changing and dynamic. Canada’s national and international contributions to human rights will be told in vivid and inspiring ways. We’ll also examine our less proud moments – to learn from them. Visitors will be challenged to confront issues of discrimination, exclusion, and genocide. Through the use of technology, new media, and theatre, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights will offer something unique and different with each visit.

Group 2

The Museum’s architecture symbolizes hope for a changed world. Award winning

architect, Antoine Predock has created a path for the museum visitor to follow which goes

from darkness to light. The journey starts in the Museum’s “roots”, rising up from the hallowed ground of The Forks. From there, visitors go up a series of bridges to get from one gallery to another. They encounter human rights stories and the people who were part of them

along the way. The journey will encompass over 47,000 square feet of exhibit space through nearly a kilometer of bridges. It will end at the Tower of Hope, a 20-storey glass structure overlooking the horizon.

Group 3
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will be the first national museum in Canada’s history to be located outside the National Capital (Ottawa) Region. It has been strategically located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where some of Canada’s greatest human rights triumphs in the areas of First Nation and Aboriginal rights, women’s rights, French language rights, and labour rights have been fought and won. Winnipeg is one of Canada’s most diverse communities, attracting immigrants from around the world and strengthened by significant Francophone, First Nations, and Métis populations. Winnipeg is a dynamic urban centre with lots to offer visitors to the Museum.

Located at The Forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, the Museum sits on land that has been a meeting place for thousands of years. The historic Forks is a North American centre of immigration, trade, commerce and, most importantly, it is the place where First Nations Peoples first came to resolve conflict and live together in peace.

Group 4

It will be the stories that make the journey through the Museum meaningful and inspiring. The Museum will bring many people together, challenging everyone to think more broadly and to consider others’ points of view. Canadians and citizens from around the world will contribute to the development of the Museum’s content by sharing their stories and experiences.

The Museum will deal with today’s issues, today’s conversations, and today’s challenges. It will connect with the past in order to influence the future. Online, and in person, visitors will encounter events, accomplishments, and people that made (and continue to make) human rights history. Visitors will learn how human rights issues affect our daily lives – in our homes,

our schools, our workplaces, and our communities.

Appendix 3: Fast Facts6

Canadian Human Rights Museum Construction Facts and Figures

Milestone Dates

  • Construction begins: Spring 2009

  • Construction duration: 3 years

  • Construction completion: Spring 2012

Building Facts

  • Total area of site: 24,166 M2 (260,123 square feet)

  • Total area of building: 24,154 M2 (260,000 square feet)

  • Number of floors: 12

  • Average floor-to-floor height: 5.2 M (17 feet)

  • Height of the Tower of Hope: 100 M (328 feet)

  • Number of concrete caissons: 134

  • Number of pre‐cast piles: 378

Material and Equipment (Produced in Canada)

  • Cement

  • Reinforcing steel

  • Lumber Products

  • Stone Products

  • Gypsum Products

  • Aluminum Products

Material and Equipment (Produced Internationally)

  • Steel (structural steel, pipe, steel studs, hollow metal, prefinished metal, etc.)

  • Major equipment (air handling units, generators, elevators, electrical equipment, etc.)

  • Glazing

  • Stone products

Employment Needs

Project employment needs in Person‐Years (i.e., one person employed for a period of one year)

  • Project direct: 2,040 (250 tradespersons)

  • Other direct: 450

  • Indirect and induced: 1,050

  • Total employment: 3,540

1 Answers to worksheets are in the self-study version of the lesson plan.

2 You can find these stories at:

3 Adapted from the actual discussion guide used for the roundtables in Winnipeg.

4 At the beginning of this interview, CBC played one of the stories which is on the Museum's website. It is the story of Karen Chaboyer and her experience in residential school. You can listen to Karen's story at:

5 Adapted from the brochure published by the Government of Canada titled: Most Museums Celebrate the Past - This Museum Will Change the Future.

6 From the Canadian Museum for Human Rights website.

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