Topic: Family ESL Lesson Plan (Upper-Intermediate)

Download the Family ESL lesson plan here: Topic-Family-UpperIntermediate-29022012.doc

Family ESL Lesson Plan: Upper-Intermediate

Study a lesson about families.

Family ESL Lesson Plan: Warm-up (Pair Work)

1) What is the best environment to raise a family in (e.g. apartment, village, etc)?
2) What was the worst thing you did as a child? Did you get caught?
3) Is there anything funny or different about your family?
4) Does someone in your family maintain a family tree? How far back can you trace your family history?

Family – Key Vocabulary in Context

The nuclear family is the traditional family structure in the West. This term, originating in the 1950s, describes families consisting of a father, a mother, and their offspring. Under this structure, the family is seen as the basic unit in society; the father functions as the breadwinner and the mother as the homemaker. Nowadays, alternative family types are becoming more prevalent, such as single-parent families, families headed by same-sex parents, and extended families where families live with their kin, which may include several generations. Extended families are less common in North America, where it is not uncommon to place grandparents in retirement homes.
A Social Trends survey in 2009 reported radical changes in child rearing and marriage practices in the United Kingdom. Figures showed that while 30 percent of women under thirty had given birth by the age of 25, only 24 percent had tied the knot. This marked the first time childbirth had become the first major milestone in adult life, ahead of marriage. In 1971 in the U.K, 3/4 of women were married by the age of 25 and half were mothers.
Judging by the high rates of divorce and the increasing number of children born out of wedlock, it would appear that the family as an institution is in decline. American sociologist Stephanie Coontz believes so too, but for different reasons. Coontz points out that marriages are no longer arranged for political or economic reasons, and children are no longer required to contribute to the family income. Marriages nowadays are founded on love. She believes this shift towards love and free choice has actually weakened both the family by making it optional and the bond between the husband and wife by making it contingent on emotional fulfillment. (290 words)

Family ESL Lesson Plan: Comprehension & Follow-Up Questions

1) What is a nuclear family?
2) True or False: extended families are replacing nuclear families in North America.
3) How has marriage and raising children changed in the U.K. since 1971?
4) Why does Stephanie Coontz believe the institution of the family has weakened?
5) Do you agree or disagree with the ideas in the article?


1 – The nuclear family is a traditional family that has a father, mother, and children.
2 – False.
3 – Fewer women are getting married, and those who have children are not always getting married.
4 – She believes the fact that marriages are now, in theory, based on love, has made the idea of the family optional and the family itself weaker.
5 – …

Family ESL Lesson Plan: Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the ESL news lesson.
rear (verb)
tie the knot (phr. verb)
  • offspring – children
  • breadwinner- the income-earner of a family
  • prevalent – widespread; common
  • kin – your family or your relatives
  • rear – bring up and care for a child until it is fully grown
  • tie the knot – get married
  • milestone – a very important stage in the development of sth.
  • wedlock – the state of being married
  • institution – a custom or system that has existed for a long time.
  • bond – relationship; link
  • contingent – subject to change; dependent on other circumstances

Family ESL Lesson Plan: Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
bond / offspring
prevalent / nowadays
breadwinner / rear
kin / gifts
tie the knot / regret
milestone / life
born / wedlock
institution / in decline
contingent / feelings


Family ESL Lesson Plan: Define

— What is the appropriate English term for …
your sister’s daughter?
_ _ _ _ _
your sister’s son?
_ _ _ _ _ _
your grandmother’s mother?
_ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
your brothers and sisters?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
your wife’s brother?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _   _ _ _
the son of your mother’s new husband?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  • niece
  • nephew
  • great grandmother
  • siblings
  • brother in law
  • stepbrother

Family ESL Lesson Plan:  What do you do? (Pair Work)

— Discuss with a partner what you should do when…
your six year-old child asks where babies come from.
your child fails his English test.
your 13-year old gets a tattoo on his back of a tarantula.
your child won’t eat his/her vegetables at dinner.
your 12-year old daughter says she’s dating a high school student.
your child won’t stop screaming because you won’t buy him candy in the grocery store.
your child tells you that he or she is gay.
your marriage becomes stale.
your child graduates university.

Family ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play

Student A
Your parent (Student B) is 98 years old and lives with your family. He/she is completely dependent on you. This is having a bad affect on your personal life and career. He/she never goes out. You have decided to put him/her in a retirement home, where he/she can be with other seniors and get the care he/she needs. Tell him/her your plan.
Student B
You live with Student A, who is your daughter/son, in a house you built with your own hands in 1930. You are old now. Your daughter/son says she/he wants to speak with you about something.

Family ESL Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

1)    Violence: Is it ever okay to hit a child? What is the custom or law in your country?
2)    Due to population growth and environmental problems, should families have fewer kids?
3)    What is the ideal number of children to have?
4)    Is it better for a child to have one parent or two homosexual parents?
5)    Is it tradition in your culture for women to adopt their husband’s last name? Is this fair?
6)    In your country, are mothers allowed maternity leave (from work)? What about paternity leave for fathers?
7)    What is a mid-life crisis? How can one be avoided?
8)    When are children old enough to move out of the house?

Family ESL Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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10 comments on “Topic: Family ESL Lesson Plan (Upper-Intermediate)

  1. Danny (Posted on 11-17-2014 at 12:39) Reply

    Great ideas! Thank you!

  2. Tanya (Posted on 2-5-2015 at 14:59) Reply

    Lots of ideas. Just great

  3. Tanya (Posted on 2-5-2015 at 14:59) Reply

    Lots of ideas. Just great

  4. Felipe (Posted on 2-23-2016 at 22:42) Reply

    So complete, Great Ideas and exercices. thanks

  5. vesna (Posted on 2-25-2016 at 01:29) Reply

    Fantastic! Complete and thorough, simply perfectly done!

  6. Marcela (Posted on 4-21-2016 at 09:36) Reply

    Amazing ideas! Thanks!

  7. Matheus (Posted on 7-11-2016 at 10:24) Reply

    Thanks a bunch for this amazing lesson!

  8. Eva (Posted on 10-2-2018 at 11:05) Reply

    Great to learn vocabulary, I found it an in-depth lesson. Fantastic discussions which forced me to use a wide variety of vocabulary.

  9. Anonymous (Posted on 9-26-2020 at 08:36) Reply

    No hay respuestas

  10. Pingback: Families and Personality | English for Advanced level at E.O.I.

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