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Relax! We got the best ESL stress lessons for you


A great topic for your next lesson would be, stress. Nowadays, we can’t avoid being stressed. From the pressures of work to the constant news broadcasts about misery and war, stress is a part of everyone’s life. Furthermore, learning a new language is stressful too so each of your students will be able to relate to this lesson.


What is stress anyway?


When creating a lesson around stress, it is essential to first discuss what stress is. Stress is something that is difficult to diagnose and what might be stressful to one individual might not be to another, and vice versa.

Start by presenting pictures of people that look stressed out, next ask your students to describe how these people feel. Once it is established that these people are stressed, open the discussion with questions such as:


· Have you ever been stressed?

· What makes you stressed?

· How do you feel when you are stressed?


Try to elicit words that relate to stress and write them down. You can opt for finding the opposites to these words, so we enhance our vocabulary for unstressed situations too.


Play an ESL stress lesson game


Have students sit in duos. The first student gets one minute to come up with a situation that is stressful and the second student needs to try and come up with a solution. The first student can then describe how that solution would fail and the first student needs to create a new solution. Have roles reverse after 5 minutes. Eventually, have one or two teams present their situations and solutions.


Add expressions to your ESL stress lesson


To enlarge your student’s vocabulary and make them more able to have genuine English conversations about stress, it is important to add expressions to your lesson. There are many expressions when it comes to stress, though you can’t expect your students to know them.

A great tool to use is to read your students a story. Hide expressions in there and ask your students to listen carefully. Whenever they hear an expression, they should write it down. At the end of the story, ask individual student’s which expressions they heard and what they think they meant. To help you out, here is a list of stress expressions:


· He/she/it stresses me out

· I’m going through a lot right now

· I got a lot on my plate

· I just don’t feel myself, you know?

· I just got a lot on my mind

· Doesn’t that make you want to pull your hair out?

· He/she/it just keeps pushing my buttons

· That bothers me so much


Final ESL stress lesson activity


Start by having each student create a daily schedule in which they write down what they do for every 30 minutes of the day. Make sure they write complete sentences and that those are as detailed as possible. Next, have them ‘grade’ each component between 1 and 5 on how stressful that activity is. Finally, they need to come up with a way that reduces the amount of stress and they need to consider how much of a reduction this would be.

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