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The word "leisure" comes from Latin, and it means "to be free." The idea of free time for relaxation, recreation, and hobbies likely became popular in Victorian Britain. In the early 1800s, factory workers often spent eighteen hours at work, six days every week. As a result, life in urban areas was very harsh. However, society slowly changed, and people began to work less. They also began to have Saturdays and Sundays free.

There are many different ideas about leisure, and these ideas vary among societies and people. Some see leisure as much more active, like sports or exercise. Others see leisure as requiring mental effort, like writing stories or drawing pictures. And even some see leisure as much more relaxed, such as seeing a movie, watching TV, or eating out at a restaurant. Of course, there are also workaholics who see work as an enjoyable pastime.

Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Discuss the question with your partner for five minutes.

  1. How do you relax? Please explain.

Comprehension Questions: Answer the questions before/after your read the article.

  1. The idea of "leisure" comes from Latin. T / F
  2. People in the 1800s usually worked eighteen hours each day. T / F
  3. Leisure varies from society to society, as well as from person to person. T / F
  4. A general definition states that work is one form of leisure. T / F

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. Which fits your idea of leisure? Is it active, requiring mental effort, or relaxed? Why?
  2. Do you think that people will work more or less in the future? Why?
  3. How do people use their free time in your country? Please explain.

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