Today in history – the founding of the New York Stock Exchange


On May 17th 1792, the New York Stock Exchange was born under a sycamore or buttonwood tree. Signed by 24 stock brokers, the Buttonwood Agreement promised only internal trading with no auctioneers, and a maximum commission price on any trade was agreed.

With the recent economic crisis being felt across the world, eyes are always on the current stock markets for signs of improvement or recession. It makes a perfect topic for English language students, especially at a more advanced level. The video below describes a day in the life of a New York City stock broker, and would be perfect for a listening comprehension task:


Another way to extend this theme out of the classroom would be to ask students to watch The Inside Job, a fantastic if slightly unsettling film about the crash and the level of corruption within the economic system. The film is compiled of interviews with different public and private figures, offering a great opportunity to practise understanding different accents and (not too) colloquial phrases. Maybe your students could arrange a film session to watch the film together, and then they could go to class armed with answers to questions you have set them, or of course have a debate!


The English Campus has some great news items to continue this theme too: ‘Greece’s economic crisis’ and ‘Economic recovery is too slow and too costly’ will both test your students’ reading skills no matter what their level. But to cheer up an otherwise very depressing lesson about banking corruption and the fact that none of us have any money, onestopenglish brings a smile to all our faces with the following free lesson plan: Britons still happy despite financial woes.





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