“How to Grow Old” by Bertrand Russell (Advanced Lesson Plan)

ESL/EFL Level: Advanced
Lesson Topics:  growing old contentedly, death, family
Skill Focus
: Speaking, Reading, Vocabulary
Approximate Class Time: 1.5 hours
Lesson Plan Download: russell-growing-old-advanced-092022.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • The reading passage was written by philosopher Bertrand Russell. It aims to explain how to grow old well and touches on topics including the importance of hobbies, non-interference in your children's lives, letting go of youth, and not fearing death.
  • Other activities include a focus on future perfect (simple) and a four-person family role-play scenario.
  • All lessons come with warm-up questions, comprehension questions, a vocabulary section, and discussion questions.

Aged hands holding an open bok

Note to teachers:

  • This passage is probably accessible for upper-intermediate students, though some vocabulary will need to be explained.
  • The role-play has four roles. If you have fewer students, you'll need to modify it.
  • Feel free to leave any related activities that work with this topic below as a comment.

ADVANCED Lesson on How (Not) to Grow Old: Warm-up (Pair Work)

  1. How old is ‘old’?
  2. Would you say that the seniors among your relatives are happy in their old age? What are some things they do to enjoy life?
  3. When you imagine yourself in old age, what do you see? (If you are already a senior, has your life become what you envisioned?)

Lesson Plan on Aging: Pre-reading Activity

You are about to read four recommendations on how to grow old contentedly. With a partner, try to predict some of the ideas in the article by creating your own list.
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-- Lesson plan on growing old well is copyright Matthew Barton of EnglishCurrent.com (excluding content written by Bertrand Russell). Site members may photocopy and edit the file for their classes. Permission is not given to rebrand the lesson, redistribute it on another platform, or use it for commercial redistribution. For questions, contact the author.

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