Giving Advice Lesson Plan (Upper-Intermediate ESL)

Download the Giving Advice Lesson Plan (ESL) here: Giving-Advice-UppIntermediate-09032013.doc

Giving Advice Lesson Plan (ESL): Upper-Intermediate

A lesson on giving advice

Giving Advice Lesson Plan (ESL): Warm-Up Activity

  1. In two minutes, write down two (or more) problems each of the following groups of people might have: students, workers, and the elderly.
  2. When finished, role-play the problems with a partner. For example, “I’m a student and I have a problem: I’m failing all my courses.” The other student should give advice. When giving advice, try to use each of the below structures:
How about…
I suggest…
Why don’t…
If I were you…
My advice would be…
Have you thought about…
I highly recommend…

Reading: Questions from Advice Columns

(!! Teachers: pre-read this section to ensure it’s appropriate for your class.)

Background: Newspapers and magazines often carry an advice column. This column contains questions submitted by readers and responses written by an `expert’ columnist. Take turns reading the below questions to your classmates or teacher. Role-play the situation, ask follow-up questions, and try to get and give sound advice.
1)     Dear Abby, I’m 28 and my boyfriend of five years is 29. I’m ready to get married and he’s not at all, but wants us to stay together. Our maturity levels vary greatly. I’m getting my Ph.D. while working full time. He has a job, but can’t save or manage money and he just wants to stay out and party. He’s very affectionate and constantly tells me he loves me, but regarding getting married, he always says things like, “It’ll be our turn one day,” or says he’ll propose by the end of X month, but never does. Everyone around us is getting married, and in our society, there are articles and websites that say a man’s proposal is the ultimate way of showing his devotion and love. I try to remember that my value comes from within, but I need to know that the man I love wants me that much, and forever. —Waiting
2)     Dear Ely, I’m getting old, and I hate it. My skin is wrinkling, my face is sagging, my hair is turning gray, and my teeth are turning yellow. I’m starting to look like an old lady, but I’m only 55. I feel like I should still be in the prime of my life. I’m not ready to be elderly. I want to be youthful and attractive forever. Help me look younger! Help me find the fountain of youth! -Old Before My Time
3)     Dear Ely, I’m single and sick of it. I don’t want to be alone anymore. I’m thinking of joining an online dating site, but I’m not sure if I should. It’s embarrassing to admit that I can’t meet anyone on my own, and if I met a boyfriend online I’m afraid that people would think I’m a pathetic loser. I’m also afraid that a guy I meet online might turn out to be a freak or a creep or a pervert — the Internet is full of predators. But the biggest reason I’m hesitant to dive into online dating is that I’m a big believer in fate. I always thought that one day I would look across a crowded room and see the man of my dreams staring back at me with a love-struck look on his face. I guess it might be time to give up on destiny and let some computer program match me with someone. What should I do? — Mindy
4)     Dear Caroline, how do I know if my pre-wedding jitters are normal or a sign I should call things off?
5)     Dear Ely, my teenage son is such an idiot. A few months ago he started dating this dark-spirited death girl, and she has him convinced that he’s a vampire. Now he’s dyed his hair black, and he dresses in black shirts, tight black pants, and black boots. He hides in his dark room all day, to the point that he’s becoming pale and sickly. He built himself a coffin to sleep in. He wears fake fangs, and he wants me to pay for oral surgery so he can have “real fangs” implanted. Creepiest of all, he wears a small glass vial of his girlfriend’s blood around his neck. In just a few months, my son has turned from a sweet young man into a freak of nature. What can I do to save him from his stupidity? -Vampire Mom
6)     Dear Coco, I don’t have any friends at school. How can I be cool? — Little Timmy
7)     Dear Abby, I have a man I can’t trust. He cheats so much, I’m not even sure the baby I’m carrying is his. — Sue

Giving Advice Lesson Plan (ESL): Idiom Focus

1)     What do these idioms mean: in the prime of my life, a freak of nature?

Giving Advice Lesson Plan (ESL): Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
sound (adj)
maturity (noun)
affectionate (adj)
devotion (noun)
sag (verb)
creep (noun)
predator (noun)
pale (adj)
fang (noun)
vial (noun)
call sth off (phrasal verb)
  • sound – based on good sense and judgement
  • maturity – the advanced stage of mental/emotional development found in adults
  • affectionate – showing tenderness or fondness; loving
  • devotion – love loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause
  • sag – hang down loosely or unevenly
  • creep – a detestable person
  • predator – an animal or person that hunts/kills others
  • pale – light in color or having little color
  • fang – a large, sharp tooth, especially in a dog or wolf
  • vial – a small container, usually made of glass, for liquid medicine
  • jitters – feelings of extreme nervousness
  • call sth off – cancel

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

government / uprising
sound / judgement
reach / maturity
wish / affectionate
devotion / wife
creep / Internet
predator / stalk
pale / vial
sag / prime of my life
freak of nature / fang
jitters / call (sth) off

Giving Advice Lesson Plan (ESL): Discussion Questions

1)     Are you in need of any advice?
2)     Who do you go to when you need advice? What do you think of therapists?
3)     What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
4)     What important advice you want to pass on to your children?
5)     Most advice columns seem to be written by women. Why do you think that is?

Why men shouldn't write advice columns

(original source unknown)

Giving Advice Lesson Plan (ESL) copyright Matthew Barton of

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4 comments on “Giving Advice Lesson Plan (Upper-Intermediate ESL)

  1. Kate (Posted on 3-11-2013 at 18:47) Reply

    Hi , thanks so much for your materials, i use them all the time!! Is there a .doc version of this advice lesson?


  2. casandra (Posted on 12-30-2013 at 14:20) Reply

    that’s a cool thing

  3. Duce lane (Posted on 4-14-2015 at 11:18) Reply

    Very cool

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