“I never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

Mark Twain (1835 – 1910), American writer
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This free ESL lesson plan on education 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.

Education is one of the most important issues in any society. The level of education not only determines the future of children, but also plays an important role in determining the success of entire countries. In this ESL lesson plan on education, students will have the opportunity to talk about their own experiences at school and discuss and express their opinions on issues such as the standard of education in their country, the differences between private and public education and whether or not education should be considered a fundamental human right.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for the International Day Of Education, which takes place in January. 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.


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):

BBC | “Inequality ‘significantly’ curbs economic growth – OECD”

The article refers to research conducted by the OECD which found that inequality due to a lack of investment in education has a negative effect on economic growth. 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 written? 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 “Who Is Allowed To Go To School” by UNESCO and explains the various obstacles many people around the world have which prevents them from receiving an education and what UNESCO’s role is in ensuring this fundamental human right to education.


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 their experience at school, their favourite subjects and the best qualities in a teacher.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with education such as extra-curricular activities, play truant and flunk. 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 education and society. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the standard of education in their country, any differences between private and public schools, and what they think about religious and single-sex schools.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of education in their country. 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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