Teaching ESL

This is a ready made lesson plan for teaching ESL with reading, vocabulary and idioms for advanced English students. A free downloadable printout is available at the bottom of the page.


Get the students to individually make a list of all the things they can think of that would improve their memory. Encourage them to include lifestyle issues, diet, and any memory techniques that they know of. Get them to give feedback using the following phrases which are commonly used for giving advice:

  • It’s best to steer clear of …
  • I wouldn’t recommend …
  • It’s well worth ….
  • I wouldn’t bother …..
  • If you fancy ….
  • You should try …
  • I’d give …. a miss …
  • You might enjoy ….
  • You absolutely must …
  • You won’t regret ….
  • If I were you, I would ….
  • You’re probably best ….
  • You could try …

Memory Test

The students are going to create a little test each, to check each others’ memories. Every student needs to write a short story with a lot of information. They then need to write 5 questions based on their story (e.g. In the north-western corner of the Waikiki Zoo, lived a green and yellow panda called Gorilla …. 1. Where did the panda live? etc etc). Get all the students to read out their stories, and then once they have heard them all, get them to go through their questions. The student with the highest score wins J


Print out the article ‘How to Improve your Memory’ from the following website: http://www.helpguide.org/life/improving_memory.htm.

Cut up the article into its various categories (Tips 1 to 5, Mnemonics, Tips for enhancing your ability to learn and remember), and distribute them around the class. The students need to read through their section and then feedback to the rest of the class.


Get the students to match the following collocations:

  1. an astonishing
  2. recall
  3. sleep
  4. punch
  5. chronic
  6. heavy
  • information 
  • deprivation
  • stress
  • ability
  • toll
  • lines

and then get the students to ask each other questions using the collocations.

Answers: an astonishing ability, recall information, sleep deprivation, punch line, chronic stress, heavy toll


Cut out the idioms with their definitions from the downloadable prinout. Give each student an idiom with its definition. Make sure all the students understand their idiom and explanation. They then need to think of a mnemonic or memory technique that they read about earlier in the lesson that would be suitable to help remember their idiom. They are then going to teach the other students their idiom, as well as a useful way to try and remember it.

Once the class have been taught all the idioms, get them to draw them on the board for the other students to guess the idiom.

Free Downloadable Printout
Teaching ESL

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to acquire

to go to town

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill

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