Kindness & Helping

"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."

Princess Diana (1961 – 1997)
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This free ESL lesson plan on kindness and helping 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.

Turn on the news and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that the world is a cruel place full of evil people. But when you look beyond the negativity promoted by the media, you’ll quickly discover that in fact, the world is full of people who are prepared to do anything for their fellow man. Kindness doesn’t have to be one grand gesture to another person; it can be little things like holding the door open for someone, helping someone cross the street or simply smiling and saying hello. Being kind isn’t just about being a good person – it is also good for your health. And don’t you want to live in a world where one day, you know that you’ll be able to rely on the kindness of others when you most need it? In this ESL lesson plan on kindness and helping, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what it means to be kind and why this is so important.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Kindness Day, which takes place in November. 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):

Life Hack | 15 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself

Everyone knows they should be kind to other people, but not enough people know how to be kind to themselves. The article gives a number of recommendations on how to be kinder to yourself, including forgiving yourself, taking care of your physical health, and treating yourself. 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 “The power of acts of kindness” by CBS Sunday Morning which looks at the effect that acts of kindness can have on others.

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 when the students usually help others, when they would not be prepared to help someone, and whether men or women are kinder.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with kindness and helping such as cruel to be kind, random act of kindness and do-gooder. 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 famous people who are known to be kind-hearted, in which professions you can find kind and unkind people, and whether or not the world is becoming a kinder place to live in.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of kindness and helping. 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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