Medicine

"Medical science is making such remarkable progress that soon none of us will be well."

Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963), English writer and philosopher
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This free ESL lesson plan on medicine 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.

Medicine is the branch of science concerned with keeping people safe from diseases and other conditions that affect their health. Medicine can also be used to mean the medication we take to recover from these medical conditions. Of all the sciences, medicine is perhaps the branch that has had the greatest effect people’s lives around the world, yet there is still more to do to ensure everyone can enjoy these benefits equally. Likewise, medical scientists dedicate their lives to finding new cures for diseases and conditions that still affect billions around the world. In this ESL lesson plan on medicine, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on topics such as what medicine involves, medical professions, and social issues in the field of medicine.

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

The article looks at some of the most important medical breakthroughs in history, including the development of vaccines and antibiotics, organ transplants, and more recently, the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. 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 “How can we solve the antibiotic resistance crisis?” by TED Ed which looks at the problem of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, how this happened, and some potential solutions.

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 the main medical problems the world is facing, experience with medications, and what it would be like to be a medical professional.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with medicine such as antidepressant, painkiller and superbug. 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 the issue of trust and misinformation in medicine, access to medicine, and what medicine will be like in the future.

HOMEWORK

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