Topic: Reasons for Love (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

Download the Reasons for Love ESL Lesson plan here: Topic-Love-Reasons-UppIntermediate-28112011.doc

The Love & Marriage Unit: Upper-Intermediate

Note to teachers:

This is lesson 1 of 3 in a unit on love and marriage. The lessons are as follows:
  • Lesson 1 – Reasons for Love (this lesson)
  • Marriage & Life-long Loving
  • Dating

I created lesson one with my students in mind. I know them well and we enjoy discussing philosophical issues in depth. The first page of lesson one may be difficult for groups of students who don’t know each other well or just don’t like thinking deeply about things. Lesson one may not be suitable for many groups. However, lessons 2 & 3 are very general and should be suitable for everyone.

Lesson 1 of 3: Reasons for Love Lesson Plan

[Note to teachers: Encourage students to think abstractly. Avoid having them scrutinize their own relationships in depth.]

Is there a reason why we love our beloved?

Reasons for Love ESL Lesson Plan: Warm-up (Pair Work)

1.Do you know the story of how your parents met?
2. Do you have any possessions that you can say you love? What are they?
2. Do opposites attract? Do we like people who are similar or dissimilar to us?
3. Do you believe pheromones for humans exist?

Reasons for Love: Introduction to Key Philosophical Issues (read as group)

1) Justification: What justifies falling in love with a particular person? Is there a reason? What do you say when your partner asks “Why do you love me?”
2) Interchangeability: Is there something about your partner that makes him/her unique and incomparable to others? If your partner had a doppelganger (an identical twin), would you have any reason to prefer your partner to the doppelganger? Or could you swap them?
3) Constancy: since the appearance and character of a person changes over time, what justifies continuing to love someone as he or she changes and becomes different?

Reasons for Love ESL Lesson Plan: Discussion (Pair Work)

Discuss answers to the issues above. When finished, share your ideas with the class.

Possible Answers: Three Theories

1. The Quality View: You love a person because of the qualities he or she possesses, e.g. you love your wife because she is beautiful or kind.
What do you think?
Criticisms: Regarding interchangeability, this would mean that if you find someone more beautiful or kinder, then you should dump your partner for that other person. Secondly, a person changes over time. If you love her because of her beauty, then you’d no longer have a reason to love her once she’s no longer describable as beautiful (e.g. due to old age or an accident).
2. The Relationship View: The personal history and relationship we have with someone makes them unique. This is a reason to continue loving your partner and not someone else.
What do you think?
Criticisms: This view gives a reason for continuing to love someone, but it does not explain how two people fall in love. Also it does not account for the fact that some relationships are superior to others. Maybe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence? Why wouldn’t someone abandon their partner for someone they could have a better relationship with?
3. The No-Reasons View: Love is an enigma. We do not know why love appears or disappears. There may or may not be a reason.
What do you think?
Criticisms: It seems absurd. Choosing your partner may be the most crucial choice a person makes in his or her life. To say that there is no reason why we love another suggests we don’t even really make this choice (or if we do, we don’t understand how).

Reasons for Love ESL Lesson Plan : Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson. (Note: good as homework for students)
justify (verb)
interchangeable (adj)
swap (verb)
dump sb (verb)
account for sth (phrasal verb)
  • pheromone – chemical signal..
  • justify – provide an explanation or reason for sth
  • interchangeable – can be exchanged
  • doppelganger – a double of a living person
  • swap – exchange sth for sth else
  • dump sb – end a relationship with sb
  • superior – of higher quality, rank, or status
  • account for sth – provide an explanation or reason for sth
  • enigma – mystery, puzzle
  • absurd – ridiculous, silly
  • crucial – extremely important

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

government / uprising
pheromone / communicate
market / swap / interchangeable
dump / doppelganger
account for / absence
enigma / love
excuse / break up / absurd
crucial / justify
superior / candidate


Reasons for Love ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play

(note: each student reads his/her role only)
Student A:
You are unmarried, in your late 30s. Your parents want you to find someone, so they have sent you to a matchmaker (Student B). Answer Student B’s questions.
Student B:
You are a matchmaker. You want to find someone for Student A. Get a list of his/her requirements for a partner. Have him/her consider: appearance, character, age, financial status, and anything else you can think of.

Reasons for Love ESL Lesson Plan: Qualities (Pair Work)

Which of the below things do you value in a partner? Circle 1 for very important, 2 for slightly important, and 3 for unimportant. When finished, compare your answers with a partner.
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
sense of humor
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3
good manners
1 2 3
financial status
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3

Reasons for Love ESL Lesson Plan: Role-play #2

(note: each student reads his/her role only)
Student A:
You believe love is an emotion that can’t be controlled. You are sure of this because, against your will, you have fallen in love with your college professor. He/she is 60 years old. You’ve been seeing each other secretly for half a year. Now tell your parents (Student B) about her/him.
Student B:
Student A is your son/daughter. She/he is a first-year college student. She/he has asked to speak with you about something important.

Reasons for Love ESL Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish)

1) “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” What does this mean?
2) How do people typically fall out of love? Does this tell us why people fall in love?
3) Does a person’s love for his/her partner differ from his/her love for a friend, child, or car? How so?

Lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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One comment on “Topic: Reasons for Love (Upper-Intermediate Lesson Plan)

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