Phobias & Fears (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

ESL/EFL Level: Upper-Intermediate (B2/C1)
Lesson Topics: common and unusual phobias
Skill Focus: Reading, Vocabulary, Speaking
Approximate Class Time: 1.5 hours
Lesson Plan Download: phobias-fears-upper-intermediate-072023.docx
Lesson Overview:

  • After warm-up questions, students read a passage about phobias. The passage introduces the concept, gives examples of common and unusual phobias, and then ends by explaining some causes and treatments. As post-reading activities, students complete a recall activity, add headings to each paragraph, and answer comprehension questions. Finally, students match key vocabulary to definitions and then create three discussion questions.
  • Next, students are asked to consider ten items and rank which is the most frightening. Afterward, there are two role-play scenarios involving dealing with phobias. Then students try to match phobia names to their definitions and consider four famous quotations related to fear.
  • The lesson ends with a review of collocations and a few discussion questions.

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UPPER-INTERMEDIATE (B2/C1) EFL Lesson Plan on Fears & Phobias

Warm-up Questions

  1. What are people often afraid of? Do you have any of these fears?
  2. Do you know what a phobia is?
  3. How does a phobia differ from a regular fear?

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-- Lesson plan on phobias and fear written by Matthew Barton of (copyright). ChatGPT helped in generating a rough draft for a part of the reading passage and providing answer keys. 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 sell it as part of commercial course curriculum. For questions, contact the author.

Post-Reading Tasks

Possible paragraph topics: Introduction/Understanding phobias, Common phobias, Unusual phobias, Causes & Treatment

Possible answers to comprehension questions:

  1. While shyness is characterized by general discomfort in social situations, social phobia involves extreme anxiety specifically before or during social situations.
  2. This could be trypophobia, which is the fear of clustered holes.
  3. Two possible causes are genetic factors and traumatic first encounters with the feared object.
  4. Exposure therapy involves people gradually confronting their fears in a controlled environment. This process allows them to become desensitized to their phobia by experiencing the feared object or situation in a safe and controlled manner.

Vocabulary Answers: 1-c, 2-h, 3-d, 4-i, 5-b, 6-j, 7-e, 8-L, 9-a, 10-g, 11-k, 12-f

Collocation Answers: 1-a, 2-d, 3-c, 4-e, 5-b

End notes:

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