Lesson Plan #2 – It’s Not About the Nail

This lesson uses a recent video called, “It’s Not About the Nail.”

Level: Intermediate + (can also be adapted for lower levels)
Language: Relaxed pronunciation, just, pressure, idiomatic vs literal meanings.
Type: Video and discussion.

1. Ask the following questions

– Are you a good listener? Is your (insert other person) a good listener?
– Are you under a lot of pressure at work?

Expand on their answers with more questions about listening and pressure.

2. Show the following video

This could be shown before the lesson or after asking the questions from part one.


Woman: It’s just, there’s all this pressure, you know, and sometimes it feels like it’s right up on me, and… I can just feel it, like, literally feel it, in my head, and it’s relentless, and… I don’t know if it’s gonna stop, and that’s the thing that scares me most; I don’t know if it’s ever gonna stop.

Man: Yeah… well… you do have a nail in your head.

Woman: It is not about the nail.

Man: Are you sure? Because, I bet that if we got that outta there.

Woman: Don’t try to fix it.

Man: No, I’m not trying to fix it. I’m just pointing out that maybe the nail was causing..

Woman: You always do this. You always try to fix things when all I need is for you to just listen.

Man: See, I don’t think that is what you need. I think what you need is to get the nail…

Woman: See, you’re not even listening now.

Man: Okay, fine, I will listen. Fine.

Woman: It’s just, sometimes, it’s like, there’s this achy, I don’t know what it is. And, I’m not sleeping very well at all, and all my sweaters are snagged. I mean, all of them.

Man: That sounds.. really hard.

Woman: It is. Thank you.., (they go to kiss) OW!

Man: Oh come on, if you would just…

Woman: Don’t!

3. After the video

Pronunciation:  Usually: pressure, literally (BrE vs AmE), relentless, achy, snagged.

Language:  Usually: right up on top of me, relentless, I bet, achy, snagged. Also, there are a few examples of relaxed pronunciation and different ways to use just and see. Go through the different examples from the text.

Discussion: Ask your students some questions about the video:

– What problems did the woman have?
– How did the man try to help?
– What did the woman want the man to do instead?

Then, move on to more general questions about the student related to the video.

Role Play: Do a role-play using the transcript above.


4. Homework and Expansion

Ask your students to write a summary of the video. Also, ask them to write example sentences using the language that they struggled with during the video.

To expand the lesson you could go into different stereotypes of men and women (good listeners, for example).

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