Cost-Of-Living Crisis

"The life of man is so short that ordinary people simply cannot afford to be born."

Halldór Laxness (1902 – 1998), Icelandic Nobel-winning writer
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This free ESL lesson plan on the cost-of-living crisis 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.

Having spent nearly two years under strict restrictions due to the covid pandemic, the world has now emerged into a cost-of-living crisis. Unemployment is high, prices have gone through the roof, and wages have not reflected this change. Millions of people have a stark choice to make: heating or eating. The cost-of-living crisis has presented a challenge to world governments, some taking advantage of the situation to implement economic polices to help the poor, others to benefit the wealthy elite who have donated to their cause. It feels like this crisis will lead to radical change – will this change make the world a better place, or will it plunge us into a new dark age? In this ESL lesson plan on the cost-of-living crisis, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the causes and effects this crisis will have on the world.

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


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):

CNBC | Britain pursues ‘trickle-down economics’ despite scorn from Biden. And the stakes are sky-high

The article looks at the economic response of the British government to the cost-of-living crisis, including cutting taxes for the rich and borrowing more money. 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. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.

The video for this class is a called “Why is Everything Getting Expensive? Cost of Living Crisis Explained” by TLDR News which explains what the cost-of-living crisis is, what the causes were, and what effect this will have on people.


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 whether the students have noticed prices increasing, solutions to the problem of high prices and low wages, and why banks are increasing interest rates.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with the cost-of-living crisis such as stagflation, windfall tax and trickle-down economics. 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 political ideologies. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as whether the world recovered from the 2008 financial crash, the effect of the covid pandemic on the economy, and how the cost-of-living crisis will change the political and economic landscape of the world going into the future.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of the cost-of-living crisis. 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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2 thoughts on “Cost-Of-Living Crisis”

    1. Do you mean the news article for the suggested reading? If so, it does say to ask the students if they can think of any ways they might disagree with the article, so whether it’s biased or not (and all media is biased to some extent), then the students can say so if that’s what they think.

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