Conversation Lesson 50
Lesson 50 - Back to School

In this lesson Anna has been wanting to go back to school for a long time. In this lesson, we go to class with her at Georgetown University, where she is getting ready to give a report in her class. Did she understand the directions?
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Lesson Video

Watch the video and then do the activities on this page.
Video Script

Anna: Hello, and welcome to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.! I am going back to school! Georgetown is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States. The Jesuits are a religious order known worldwide for their many colleges and universities. Students have been studying here since 1792!
Sarah: Hey, are you finished with your report?
Taylor: Almost. I have been writing and re-writing since last night! The subject is really interesting to me.
Sarah: Me too! I have been studying this topic* for a long time.
Anna: Am I late?
Sarah: You’re a little late. But don’t worry. The professor isn’t here yet.
Anna: How long has the class been waiting?
Taylor: We’ve only been waiting for about 10 minutes.
Anna: Oh good. Oh, no! I forgot my pencil sharpener. Excuse me, do you have a pencil sharpener I can borrow?
Taylor: No, sorry.
Anna: Oh wait. I found my extra one! Whew, that was close.
Anna: So, how long have you been studying at Georgetown?
Andrew: I’ve been studying here since 2015.
Anna: Awesome. You know, I've been wanting to go back to school for a long time. So, here I am!
Andrew: Well, you picked a great school. I’ve been really happy here.
Anna: Awesome. See, I’ve been working for several years now. So, going back to school makes me a little nervous.
Randall: Don’t be nervous. Just pay attention and do your best!
Anna: That is great advice. You know, I have been paying attention. But sometimes I still feel like I don’t understand. Like last week …
Anna: What’s that?
Jada: This is my draft.
Anna: What draft?
Jada: The professor told us to bring our drafts.
Anna: I think she said “giraffe.”
Jada: No. She didn’t.
Anna: Here comes the professor.
Dr. Jones: Hello class! Sorry I'm late, but the snow storm made getting here really difficult. I see you’ve been waiting very patiently. So, let’s get started! Who wants to give their talk first?
Anna: Oh! Oh! Please, please pick me.
Dr. Jones: Anna?
Anna: Who me? Sure. Thanks.
Anna: Here is my report on “Violins in the City.”
Anna: People have been looking for a solution to the problem of violins in the city. I say stop! Stop! They are not the problem! In fact, violins are part of the solution!
Anna: Violins create beautiful music that can fill a city with hope.
Dr. Jones: Anna …
Anna: If we put a violin in the hands of every child …
Dr. Jones: Anna! The topic is “Violence in the city.” Violence. Not violins.
Anna: Until next time …Like I was saying, many people are saying that violence in the city is a problem. A very big problem.
* topic = subject
Thanks to Georgetown University for allowing us to film on their historic campus. And a special thanks to the Georgetown students and staff who appeared in this episode: Andrew Debraggio, Sarah Mucha, Taylor Soergel, Jada Bullen, and Randall-Grace Johnson.

Now practice listening to only the audio portion of the conversation.

In this video, learn how to say the new words. Then learn about the present perfect continuous verb tense.

This video teaches about how the word "for" is pronounced quickly in sentences using the present perfect continuous and a time phrase.
New Words
  • Catholic - adj. of or relating to the Roman Catholic Church
  • class - n. a group of students who meet regularly to be taught a subject or activity
  • draft - n. a version of something (such as a report) that you make before you make the final version
  • confused - adj. unable to understand or think clearly
  • giraffe - n. a very tall African animal that has an extremely long neck and legs
  • Jesuit - n. a man who is a member of a religious group called the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus
  • order - n. a religious organization whose members usually live together and promise to follow special rules and traditions
  • patient - adj. able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time
  • pay attention - phrase to listen to, watch, or consider something or someone very carefully
  • pencil - n. an instrument used for writing and drawing that has a hard outer part and a black or colored center part
  • professor - n. a teacher especially of the highest rank at a college or university
  • religious - adj. believing in a god or a group of gods and following the rules of a religion
  • report - n. a written or spoken description of a situation or event
  • sharpener - n. a tool or machine that makes something sharp
  • since - prep. in the time after (a specified time or event in the past) orfrom (a point in the past) until the present time
  • solution - n. something that is used or done to deal with and end a problem
  • study - v. to learn about something by reading, memorizing facts or attending school
  • understand - v. to know the meaning of something
  • violence - n. the use of physical force to harm someone or to damage property
  • violin - n. a musical instrument that has four strings and that you play with a bow

In this lesson, Anna goes back to school. Did you ever take a special training course or classes? What did you learn? If you have not gone back to study, do you want to study something? Write about it in the Facebook Comments section below. Then practice using the present perfect continuous tense and monitoring what you hear. Click lesson activity to get the printable PDF version. The page opens to a new window.
Source: Voice of America
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