Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 6 – Speaking & Reading – Using The Idioms

This is a very interesting and long blog for you guys. I decided to implement someone speaking AND READING into this blog. The speaking obviously will be in the podcast, but the reading is an additional task for you down below. Let’s see how you guys respond to this!

Speaking Questions

From the previous day, you had idioms. Here they are.

  • Be under someone’s thumb
  • Do something behind someone’s back
  • Get something off your chest
  • Give someone the cold shoulder
  • Lend someone a hand
  • Pull someone’s leg
  • See eye-to-eye with someone
  • Stick your neck out for someone

Put them in the sentences down below.

  1. When was the last time you lent someone a _________? What did you do to help them?
  2. What would you do if your friend said something mean about you behind your __________?
  3. When was the last time you pulled someone’s ___________? What did you say or do?
  4. Is there anything that you and a friend don’t see __________to__________ about? What is it?
  5. Do you think you are under anyone’s ______________, or that anyone is under yours? Who?
  6. Who would be most likely to stick their ___________ out for you if you were in trouble?
  7. Who do you talk to when you need to get something off your __________? why?
  8. What would you do if a friend gave you the cold ____________?


Read the texts. For questions 1-12, choose the four texts (A-D). The texts may be chosen more than once.

Which text best describes a test that….

  • Involved listening to what people say? ______
  • Required people to change their normal behavior? _____
  • Gives a biological explanation for human relationships? _____
  • Required participants to do two separate activities? ______
  • Showed human relationships haven’t changed? ______
  • Took different personality types into account? ______
  • Proves our assumptions about human behavior are incorrect? ______
  • Suggests group activities make people kinder? ______
  • Confirmed what psychologists expected? _____
  • Required people to record what they did everyday? ______

Social interaction

A. ___ While most people agree that social interaction is important, we’re told to keep distance from strangers. But what if the advice is wrong?
The behavioural scientists, Nicholas Epley and Juliana Schroeder approached commuters in Chicago who were about to get on a train. They asked one group of commuters to talk to the person next train. They asked one group of commuters to talk to the person next to them while they were travelling to work. Other people behaved as normal and kept to themselves. At the end of the train ride, the commuters who had talked to a stranger reported having a more positive experience than those who had been sitting alone. In another study, psychologist Gillian Sandstorm asked people to carry two clickers, one red and one black, in their pockets all day.
The people clicked the red one when they interacted with someone close to them, and the black one when they interacted with someone they didn’t know well. She found that both introverts and extroverts felt happier on days when they had more social interactions. More surprisingly, interactions with strangers contributed as much to their happiness as those with family and friends.
It seems that all social interactions are important, not just with people we know well.
B. ____ Social media has revolutionised the way we relate to one another. It has allowed us to amass thousands of ‘friends’ online, but according to the evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar, certain things haven’t changed.
Just over ten years ago, Dunbar began a study of the English habit of sending Christmas cards. He discovered that the average household sent about 150 cards a year. This number came as no surprise. Dunbar claims that our mind are not designed to accommodate more than a certain number of relationships – around 150, to be precise.
Over the past two decades, he and like – minded researchers have discovered groupings of 150 everywhere they looked. the average size of communities from hunter – gatherer societies up to the present day is around 150. Once a group grows larger, its members begin to lose their sense of connection.
Most of us can follow the lives and interests of about 150 friends on social media. Meanwhile, our circle of actual friends remains small. Further interviews and analysis carried out by Dunbar showed that the number of real – life friends a person can handle is 50. Our closest support group is likely to be around three.
C. ___ Researchers have long observed that humans tend to synchronise their body movements. When we talk with a friend, we often find our footsteps are in sync. The applause of a large audience tends to fall into a rhythm. What is the reason for this phenomenon in human behaviour?
Stanford psychologists Scott Wiltermuth and Chip Heath carried out a pair of tests on synchronised movements. they asked two groups of volunteers to walk around the Stanford campus. The first group was asked to walk normally, the second to walk in step.
Later, both groups were given collaborative games to play. The games were devised so that the more the participants cooperated, the more they collectively won. As Wiltermuth and Heath anticipated, the group that had walked in step cooperated better in the games. Those who had moved at their own speed and tempo were more likely to look out only for themselves.
The psychologists concluded that when people move in harmony, it helps them to feel a stronger connection to their group. It may even encourage people to act in a way that is beneficial for the community as a whole.
D ____ Professor of psychology and neuroscience Robert Provine has been studying the roots of laughter for 20 years and has come to some surprising conclusions.
Over a ten – year period, Provine and his students recorded conversations in shopping centres and city pavements in order to discover what was happening just before people laughed. They studied 2,000 cases, and found that less than 20% of laughter followed jokes or humorous remarks. Most of the time people laughed after everyone comments such as ‘Here comes Mary’ or ‘How did you do on the test?’ Proving also found that the average speaker laughed 46% more often than the person they were speaking to.
In another experiment, 72 of Provine’s students kept a record of their laughter for one week. They noted if they laughed when they were in company, or in response to the radio, TV or a book. The results showed that the students laughed about 30 times more when they were with other people than when they were alone.
Contrary to popular belief, it seems that most laughter is not about humour. It’s mainly a way for people to bond with one another.

Gateway Upper Intermediate B2+


[buzzsprout episode=’991884′ player=’true’]

One thought on “Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 6 – Speaking & Reading – Using The Idioms

Add yours

  1. Hi,
    I really enjoyed this lesson of idioms. It was written in such a simple language that I couldn’t stop reading. Really engrossed me.
    Anyway, keep going, the sky’s the limit. ?

    Many thanks,


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