In this lesson plan designed for the British Council Teaching English site, we explore the topic of vitiligo, an autoimmune condition which causes some people to lose pigment in their skin, and look at how attitudes are changing towards what does or does not make someone attractive.
This lesson was devised to mark World Vitiligo Day on 25 June. However, it could be used at any time of year as this is not specifically mentioned.
The lesson begins with students looking at a photo of a young woman with vitiligo and discussing their reactions to the photo. They then go on to read about a model with vitiligo, Chantelle Brown-Young (also known as Winnie Harlow- pictured above), and discover what makes her special. The lesson reviews a range of tenses that might be used in a biography of a living person and looks at how to organise such a text, before the students go on to write their own.
- To encourage students to question their perception of what is beautiful and become more tolerant of difference
- To practise reading for specific information (true/false)
- To revise a range of tenses that students should know at B1 level
- To help students structure and write a biography-type text
CEF Level B1 (intermediate) or strong A2 (pre-intermediate)
Teachers notes and student worksheets can be downloaded here.
My latest lesson plan for the British Council Teaching English site looks at the benefits of being bilingual or multilingual, and a few myths, hoping to encourage students to value the languages they speak.
The lesson begins with a few statements about bilingualism. The students decide if these are true or false and then read a text to check their ideas. Having discussed the topic of the text, the students move on to look at impersonal report structures. These are very common in essays, articles and more academic-type writing, and it is useful for students at this level to be aware of them and to be able to produce them accurately.
After some practice with these structures, the lesson ends with a more light-hearted and personalised practice activity.
- To raise awareness of the benefits of speaking more than one language
- To enable students to recognise and use impersonal report structures
- To provide students with practice in making predictions and reading to confirm them
Adults or older teenagers with CEF level B2 and above
The lesson and student worksheet (3 pages) can be downloaded here.
Another lesson plan designed for the British Council Teaching English site, this lesson, aimed at higher level learners (C1+) explores what it is like to be left handed – the advantages, the disadvantages and the prejudices left-handed people may face.
The lesson begins with an optional video, and then leads into a reading text in the style of an online article. Students carry out two exam-style tasks – matching summaries to paragraphs and identifying if statements about the text are true or false.
After some discussion of the content of the text, students focus on grammar showcased in the article – relative clauses, reduced relative clauses and present participle clauses. This should review what students already know and add a little more to their understanding of the area.
If time, students can then go on to write about another group who often experience prejudice, using relative clauses where appropriate.
- Raise awareness of the issues related to being left-handed, and consider prejudice in general
- Develop the skills of reading for gist (multiple matching) and specific info (true/false)
- Encourage students to justify/back up their answers to true/false questions.
- Review defining and non-defining relative clauses and look at reduced relative clauses and clauses using present participles instead of a relative clause.
- Develop listening skills though an optional video lead-in
- Develop writing skills and practice using relative clauses accurately and appropriately thought an optional writing activity.
The lesson materials can be found here.
A free lesson plan, which I wrote for the British Council Teaching English Teens page.
This lesson begins by focusing on some anti-smoking posters with students discussing the message and effectiveness of each one. They then learn some vocabulary to talk about four key reasons not to smoke: (health, cost, the impact on your attractiveness, and the impact on others). Students then choose one of these reasons and write a paragraph about it, using the vocabulary as appropriate.
As an optional final activity, the students design their own anti- smoking poster and present it to another pair or to the class.
Click here for the lesson plan and student’s worksheet.
- Raise awareness of the many reasons not to smoke, or to give up smoking.
- Extend students’ vocabulary to talk about health risks and other issues connected with smoking. E.g. bad breath, anxiety, blood pressure.
- Develop students’ writing skills through writing a paragraph (using vocabulary) about one negative aspect of smoking.
- Encourage peer feedback and correction on writing.
- As an optional final task, develop students’ oral fluency as well as their ability to work together to design a poster and present it to their peers
A free downloadable lesson about the issue of girls’ education, and the work of Muzoon Allmellehan, a young refugee from Syria, who is campaigning for girls to be allowed to learn.
The lesson starts with a few statistics about the education of girls, and a short video to provide some background information.
The students then read an article about Muzoon, and carry out an FCE style multiple choice exercise. There is also a focus on guessing meaning from context.
Finally the students use the information they have learnt over the lesson to write a short essay about the topic.
Download lesson plan PDF here: ELT Resourceful – The Malala of Syria
Look here for more lessons about gender issues:
Some lesson plans on gender equality
A free downloadable lesson, particularly suitable for Valentine’s Day, but usable at any time of the year, about 36 questions which might make you fall in love.
The lesson starts by discussing different views of love, before the students read a short text, giving the background to an experiment where strangers asked these questions to see if they would fall in love.
The students then watch a video of two strangers getting to know each other by asking these questions, and see how they become closer as the interview progresses.
There is then a focus on question forms, looking at some slightly more complex questions. This would be suitable from B1 upwards.
Finally the students choose some of the questions that they are happy to answer, and discuss them in pairs (falling in love definitely not obligatory!)
[NB. Be aware that at around 4.19, Cam gives a couple of examples of swear words.]
Download lesson plan PDF here: elt-resourceful-36-questions-to-fall-in-love
Look here for more lessons suitable for Valentine’s Day:
By Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A free downloadable lesson, based on a video from StoryCorps, which tells the true story of Storm Reyes, who grew up poor in a migrant camp in Washington State. Students start by watching the video without sound, which encourages them to make predictions, which they then check on a second viewing. There is then some further comprehension and discussion, before an activity which helps students to develop their listening skills by focusing on the weak forms that are so difficult to hear.
Finally there is a focus on opinion or comment adverbs, before a speaking activity to round up the lesson, about the topic of books and reading.
The lesson would be suitable from B1 upwards.
Download lesson plan PDF here: ELT Resourceful – How a book changed my life
Look here for more free downloadable lessons