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Discussion Club Intermediate: Fears


ex. 1 Answer the questions
  1. What are you afraid of?
  2. Do you like horror movies? Why (not)?
  3. How do you react when you see something frightening?
  4. Is there any person you are afraid of?
  5. Were you afraid of the dark as a child?
  6. Do you think young children should be allowed to watch horror movies?
  7. Do you ever have nightmares? What about?
  8. What is paranoia?
  9. How can we develop our fears?
  10. How can a person overcome his fears?
  11. Are you afraid of being ill? What disease are you most afraid of? Why?
ex. 2 Listen to the audio file about fears and say what these people are afraid of:

Frightened of the water? Go swimming with great whites.
sharks-002Belgian photographer Jean-Marie Ghislain had galeophobia - the fear of sharks - and wanted to do something about it. So in 2008 he decided it was time, in his fifties, to learn to swim.
“For me, the sea was a forbidden world," he says. "Even when I learned, I was always looking over my shoulder to see if there were sharks. A friend said that to really overcome my fear I should learn to dive.”
Ghislain travelled to Mexico, a journey that changed his life.
“There I started diving and taking photographs with an old Nikonos camera. Of course I felt some fear at first, but once I was down there among the bull sharks it felt comfortable. When I came up I was full of joy and happiness.”
This is how he began a photographic project to “challenge people’s perceptions and help people to learn that we are all species and equal to one another, and need to live in a balanced relationship.”
For the past four years Ghislain has travelled to Australia, the Bahamas, Egypt, French Polynesia, Mexico, the Philippines and South Africa, diving with different sharks. The result is a remarkable book - "Shark: Fear and Beauty". The beauty of the shark universe is also about reverence for the underwater environment, “the last really wild universe”. Ghislain has established Shark Revolution, a non-profit organisation dedicated to celebrating the majesty of the shark and its place in creation and hopes his photographs will challenge the stereotypes, especially about the larger, supposedly more aggressive species.
“I’ve spent more than a thousand hours with sharks. Unlike many divers I’ve tried to spent time with the same group day after day. You begin to see that they have different personalities.
“One day in Mexico three of us were swimming with two great whites. One was a young macho who just wanted us out of the water. But there was this huge, five-metre female who was the coolest shark I’ve ever met. She played with us for one and a half hours and she wanted the contact - she was free to move wherever she wanted, but she just wanted company.”
Ghislain says, “I don’t feel fear, though I still have a lot of respect for sharks. I keep an eye on their body language. I don’t want everyone to think that you can just jump into the water with sharks. There is a learning curve.”
Vocabulary Exercises
ex. 1 Use these words in your own sentences
to overcome
at first
to challenge
to keep an eye on
ex. 2 Finish the sentences
  1. Unlike him I…
  2. At first there was…
  3. Stereotypes can…
  4. You have to have a lot of respect to…
  5. Keep an eye on him because…
Comprehension Exercises
ex. 1 Answer the questions
  1. What is galeophobia?
  2. How did Ghislain decide to overcome his fear?
  3. How did he feel among sharks?
  4. What is the main idea of his project “Shark: Fear and Beauty” and Shark Revolution organization?
  5. Does he think that sharks are aggressive?
  6. Does he always feel safe among sharks?
  7. Why do you think he does this?
ex. 2 Do you agree with Ghislain
  1. A friend said that to really overcome my fear I should learn to dive.
  2. We are all species and equal to one another, and need to live in a balanced relationship.
  3. The beauty of the shark universe is also about reverence for the underwater environment, “the last really wild universe”.
ex. 3 Discuss the following
  1. Do you consider sharks beautiful?
  2. What is beauty for you?
  3. Do you feel awe or fear towards nature?
  4. Why are people fascinated with the unknown, for example the underwater, the space, etc.?
  5. Why do some people do dangerous things?
  6. Would you like to swim with sharks? Why (not)?
  7. If you were afraid of shark, would you try to overcome this fear?
  8. Do you think that we have stereotypes against sharks? What about other species? Maybe even cockroaches? snakes? insects?
  9. Express your opinion on the following quotations:
  • Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.
  • If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere. ~Vincent Van Gogh
  • Nature does nothing uselessly. ~Aristotle