Boredom

"There are no uninteresting things, only uninterested people."

G. K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936), English writer and philosopher
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This free ESL lesson plan on boredom has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

We all get bored from time to time. We get bored at work when the days seem to be trapped in an endless loop. We get bored in the classroom when we are simply not interested in the subject. We might even get bored in our personal lives if we keep on doing the same things day in day out. Boredom happens when we feel nothing is changing or we feel we aren’t having enough new experiences. While jumping out of a plane is the answer for some people, for others, we can find interest in many of the simple things in life. In this ESL lesson plan on boredom, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the causes of boredom, and what do do if you get bored.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for Anti-Boredom Month, which takes place in July. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

The Conversation | 6 things you can do to cope with boredom at a time of social distancing

While the article aims to help people overcome their boredom during lockdown, there is some good general advice to alleviate boredom in general, including trying new things, making room for your guilty pleasures, and connecting with people. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “How Not to be Boring” by The School of Life which looks at why we consider some people boring and some people interesting, based on a person’s ability to truly convey their feelings instead of hiding behind the social construct of appearing normal by hiding what we feel.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including boring activities, boring TV shows, films and books, and boring jobs.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with boredom such as bored to death, monotony and like watching paint dry. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about boredome. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as what makes people boring or interesting, whether school is/was boring, and whether they would prefer to vote for a boring or interesting politician.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of boredom. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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