Free EFL/ESL Lesson Plan: Conversation Class on Shopping and Money

Shopping is always fun in Thailand - copyright leozaza, Creative Commons


In the decade I taught EFL/ESL (English as a Foreign Language/English as a Second Language) in Asia, I noticed how much my students liked talking about shopping. Getting EFL/ESL students to talk is often difficult so, if you can find a subject they’re passionate about, it makes teaching EFL that much easier. I designed this free EFL/ESL conversation lesson plan, so that other EFL/ESL teachers can get their students talking too. It’s great for every level as you can make the questions easier or more complicated, depending on your students’ English skills.

Expected Outcome – Students will be able to offer vocabulary connected to Shopping and Money and participate in a short conversation in English about shopping and how they spend their money.

Materials and Resources – Whiteboard markers, whiteboard, photocopies of the “Shopping and Money” questions.

Teaching Procedures:

Step One – Introduce the subject of shopping and money by asking your students to think of any vocabulary they can remember connected to money, buying, selling or shopping. You’ll get vocabulary like shirt, shoes food and dollar from your lower level students and vocabulary like purchase, sales tax, bargaining, and restaurants from higher level students. Write the vocabulary on the whiteboard as they say it, so that the sound of the words and the spelling of them is imprinted in the brains of those students who may be familiar with every word.

Step Two – Go around the class, choosing one word of an item from the whiteboard and asking each student how much money they spend on that item. Choose a different word for each student, so you get a good selection of answers.

Step Three – If you’re teaching in a foreign country, ask your EFL students which items do they think are more expensive in Europe and America than their country and which might be cheaper. (Fascinatingly, even though most of my students have never left Thailand, they still have a fair idea of the cost of many items in the US – rent and health costs are the ones they seem the most surprised about).

Step Four – Give them the handout of “Shopping and Money” questions (go here to get the handout to print out) and give them a couple of minutes to glance over it. I then go around the class and ask each student a different question from the sheet. For the lower level students, make sure you give them the questions handout before you start asking the questions.

For higher level students, if you want to concentrate on their listening skills, don’t give them the handout until you do the pairs section of the lesson plan (see below) – instead just verbally ask them the questions. Try to get them to answer the questions with more than just a sentence and, if they don’t, ask the student if they can develop the answer making it a little more interesting.

Step Five – Finally, put your students into pairs and give them 15 minutes to ask each other questions from the print out. Walk around monitoring their answers and correcting their vocabulary and pronunciation where necessary.

Step Six – Time allowing, for a final step, you can ask two or three pairs of students to come up to the front of the class and give a quick demonstration on how they asked and answered questions. Try to choose ones that developed their answers beyond the simple short few words answer.

Evaluation/Assessment: 1. Do students understand the material discussed? 2. Can students give opinions and develop their answers beyond one or two words? 3. Can they work well in pairs?