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This free ESL lesson plan on inspiration and inspirational people 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.

Everybody needs a little inspiration in their lives. Inspiration helps us achieve what we want to achieve. It also helps us to motivate others to achieve either what they want to achieve, or what we want them to achieve. What is inspiring depends on each individual person. Some may be inspired by a rousing speech by a political leader, others may be inspired by the melodies of John Lennon. Many people, apparently, are inspired by meaningless motivational quotes they see on social media that they feel the need to constantly post a million times a day – well, to each their own. In this ESL lesson plan on inspiration and inspirational people, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what inspiration means and where people can draw inspiration from.

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):

LifeHack | 30 Simple Things You Can Do To Get Inspired

The article gives a number of suggestions that people can do to get inspiration, including learning something new, visiting nature, and meditating. 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 “Martin Luther King Jr: Life and Death” by watchMojo which tells the story of Martin Luther King, one of the most inspirational leaders of all time, and how he fought for civil rights and equality for black people in America.


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 the most inspiration people the students know, which people need to be inspiring, and any negative consequences of inspiration.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with inspiration and inspirational people such as rags to riches, childhood hero and role model. 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 inspirational people from history, inspirational famous people, and how parents inspire their children.


After the class, students will write about their opinion of an inspirational person. 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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