Activism Needs Introverts

Today’s TED video lesson is about activism and personality. Many people think that if you want to change the world, you need to be outgoing – in other words, an extrovert. But is that really true? Isn’t it possible that the world could be changed by introverts? In this TED video, Sarah Corbett argues just that point.

The Video

 

Vocabulary

Activism /ˈaktɪvɪz(ə)m/ – noun – the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change

Campaigner /kamˈpeɪnə/ – noun – a person who works in an organized and active way towards a goal

Introvert /ˈɪntrəvəːt/ – noun – a shy, reticent person

Note: We have previous lessons about using adjectives for good IELTS personality vocabulary.

Listening

Listen to the video closely from 02:57 and fill in the gaps. (Answers are below.)

And when I ended up just being a ____1____,because it’s the only job I can do, really –I was campaigning at university,and for the last 10 years, I’ve been a professional campaigner for large charities, and now I’m a creative campaigner ____2____for different charities as well as other work I do –but I knew that there were other forms of activism that were needed. I started ____3____about seven years ago to see what quieter forms of activism I could engage with so I didn’t burn out as an ____4____,but also to look at some of the issues I was concerned about in campaigning. I was very lucky that, when I worked for Oxfam and other big charities, I could read lots of big reports on what influenced _____5_____ and businesses and the general public,what campaigns worked really well, which ones didn’t. And I’m a bit of a ___6___, so I look at all of that stuff, and I wanted to tinker around to see how I could engage people in _____7_____  in a different way, because I think if we want the world to be more beautiful, kind and just, then our activism should be beautiful, kind and just, and often it’s not. And today, I just want to talk about three ways that I think activism needs ____8____.I think there’s lot of other ways, but I’m just going to talk about three.

Speaking

In the IELTS speaking test you may be asked to talk about personality. For example, in part two  you may be asked to describe a person. In this case, you may be able to talk about some as an introvert or extrovert. There is lots of useful vocabulary in the above video for describing people.

Another theme from the video that matches an IELTS topic is that of social change – or, in short, society. This is related to charity, of course, which is also a main feature of today’s TED video.

Here’s a question from part 3 of the speaking test:

Q: What social problems are their in your country?

A: There are many social problems in my country. For example, there is a lot of poverty. Today, you see many people sleeping rough on the streets because they cannot afford to own or rent a house.

Writing

Let’s look at an IELTS writing task 2-type question based upon Sarah Corbett’s TED talk.

Some people think that only extroverts can cause social change, while others believe that introverts also have an important role to play.

Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

Note that I have put the word “only” in bold. I did this because it is key to understand the question. When you encounter a question like this, you should pay attention even to the small words. This is because they may play a vital role in the sentence.

Post your answers below! I will mark the first two essays. 🙂

Answers

  1. campaigner
  2. consultant
  3. tinkering
  4. activist
  5. politicians
  6. geek
  7. social change
  8. introverts

Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks! I have written and essay based on the talk. If you would be so kind to correct it, it would be great!

    >>>

    Nowadays the world is experiencing drastic change, especially if we take into consideration new policies and political viewpoints from the Western world, more specifically The United States of America. The kind of social change that is that is being imposed is not to be taken lightly, at least by people that perceive these changes as a threat to their lifestyle and/or well-being. Among the kinds of people that usually go to the streets to protest there are introverts and extroverts, each one of them with unique characteristics. Some people argue that only extroverts can cause social change, while others differ. In this essay we will discuss about it.

    Usually we can identify extroverts by the noise, the energy and the commotion around them, generally standing at the center of street protests, in front of government buildings, stirring conversations on sensitive topics or demanding, vigorously, to be heard, all this while introverts, in this scenario, remain in the shadows, their energy being drained by this type of face-to-face interaction, often being disregarded, this is the reason why people would often wonder if extroverts are the only ones that can cause social change.

    We, however, cannot judge people based on specific situations but for their, not so hidden, potential. Introverts, being true to their nature, prefer a more intimate approach and lengthy, well-tempered discussions, ideal to initiate and maintain diplomatic and sensitive conversations with people in power, far from being taken away by their emotions.

    In conclusion, as exposed above, both kinds of people have their unique qualities, but it is by integrating both that we can reach favorable ground, ideal for social change. Extroverts initiating discussions and introverts maintaining a cordial level of discussions.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Nicole. That was really good. I have corrected the essay below. I would suggest, though, that you expand the second body paragraph a little in order to fully develop your ideas.
      *
      Nowadays the world is experiencing drastic change, especially if we take into consideration new policies and political viewpoints from the Western world, and more specifically The United States of America. The kind of social change that is that is being imposed is not to be taken lightly, at least by people that perceive these changes as a threat to their lifestyle and/or well-being. Among the kinds of people that usually go to the streets to protest there are introverts and extroverts, each one of them with unique characteristics. Some people argue that only extroverts can cause social change, while others differ. This essay will explore both points of view.

      Usually we can identify extroverts by the noise, the energy, and the commotion around them. They are generally found standing at the center of street protests, in front of government buildings, stirring conversations on sensitive topics or demanding, vigorously, to be heard; all this while introverts, in this scenario, remain in the shadows, their energy being drained by this type of face-to-face interaction, often disregarded. This is the reason why people often wonder if extroverts are the only ones that can cause social change.

      We cannot, however, judge people based on specific situations but for their not-so-hidden potential. Introverts, being true to their nature, prefer a more intimate approach and lengthy, well-tempered discussions, which is ideal to initiating and maintaining diplomatic and sensitive conversations with people in power. They are far less likely to be carried away by their emotions.

      In conclusion, as examined above, both kinds of people have their unique qualities, but it is by integrating both that we can reach favorable ground, which is ideal for social change. Extroverts initiate discussions and introverts maintain a cordial level of discussion, which, when blended together, creates the opportunity for positive change.

      Post a Reply
  2. The post is very inspiring admin. I have to say your writing skills are very nice. The post is very informative as well as helpful for me. I will surely share this post. cheers !!

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