Movember: The Month of the Moustache

Are your students wondering why so many men are sporting moustaches?

English Lesson Charlie ChaplinYour students have heard of pink ribbons for breast cancer and red ribbons for Aids, but what about ribbons that suddenly appear on the upper lips of neighbours, teachers, and bus drivers? In 2003, Adam Garone of Australia decided he wanted to bring back the moustache as a fashion statement. Little did he know that what started out as a joke between friends would grow into an international charity for men’s health. “Movember” has been catching on in new countries each year. November is the month for men to grow moustaches and fundraise for men’s health. More than 176 million dollars has been raised since 2004, much of which has gone to help men learn about prostate cancer. Canada is one of the top fundraisers for “Movember”.

Do you enjoy using authentic materials in the classroom? Introduce your students to Movember through this Toronto Star article Movember: Fundraiser Started as Fashion Statement.
In the article the founder describes how having some fun with buddies grew into a global movement for men’s health. You can print out the article and have the students read it, or read it out loud to them for listening practice. For lower level learners, summarize the main points and teach a few key expressions, such as “fashion statement” and “clean cut”.

Here are a few questions to get your students talking:

  • What is “peach fuzz” when referring to facial hair?
  • How is the expression “a blank canvas” used in this article?
  • What does the term “brainchild” mean?
  • What are some current “fashion statements”?
  • Do men look better when they are “sporting” facial hair or when they are “clean cut”?
  • When and why did the founder of Movember decide that a cause should be added to the fun of growing a moustache in November?
  • What is a “go-to” person?
  • Why is Movember considered a “lazy” charity event?
  • Why might an event like this help men “open up” about health?

“We often call it the laziest charity event in the world. You don’t need to do a ride, a run or a swim. The guys who participate become a walking, talking billboard for 30 days. It’s the perfect word-of-mouth campaign. It’s literally on your face.”
Adam Garone for the Toronto Star

Our Health section features a full-length lesson on Cancer. If your students are interested in health topics, be sure to print out some of these lessons.

Types of Moustaches: Great photo gallery to spark discussion
The Return of Movember: Additional News Article to Use
Movember Canada: About the Campaign

Famous Men with Moustaches in the ESL-Library

Josef Stalin
Charlie Chaplin
Albert Einstein
Richard Pryor
Mahatma Gandhi

Give English learners something to talk about! If you are participating in Movember, please share a picture of your “Mo” in the comments. A link to a twitpic would work!

While our Something to Talk About suggestions are useful for getting your students involved in a group or pair discussion or debate, the topics, articles, and videos can also be used if you are looking for something for your students to blog/Skype/or write an opinion essay about.

Recent “Something to Talk About” Ideas

eBay Founder Shares 1 Billion for Better World
100-Year-Old Man Competes in Marathon
Steve Jobs: How to Live Before you Die
The Cost of Cancer
Cellphones in Classrooms
Facial Piercings at School
Street Musician Experiment
Why does Pisa Lean?


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