Italy

"Either eat this soup or jump out of this window."

Italian proverb
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This free ESL lesson plan on Italy 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.

Italy has been the site of some of the most significant developments in European history, from the Roman Empire to the spread of Christianity throughout Europe. Despite this long history, Italy only became a country in 1871 after the various principalities were united. Today, Italy is famous for having some of the best food in the world, for its important contribution to world of art and fashion, and for its luxury cars. In this ESL lesson plan on Italy, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on Italian history, culture and tourism.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students for Festa della Repubblica (Italian National Day and Republic Day, which takes place in June. 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):

Lonely Planet | 12 unmissable places to visit in Italy from Venice to Mt Etna

The article lists a number of spectacular places to visit in Italy, including historical sites in Rome, important art sites in Tuscany, and natural sites in the Dolomites. What do they think about the places listed in the article? Can they think of any other places that should be added to the list?

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 “How did Italy Become a Country?” by The Armchair Historian which explains the origins of Italian Unification.

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 Italian culture including the best places to visit, the best Italian food, and the best Italian music and films.

After this, students will learn about some important Italian people, which is accompanied by a speaking activity. In this activity, students will speak about famous Italian people they know about, and what they think about Italian people in general.

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 Italy’s place in the world. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as what Italy gave to the world, how Italy compares to other countries, and what the future has in store for the country.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of Italy. 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.

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