ESL Lesson Plans on Relationships and Friendships


Lesson plans on relationships and friendships offer a framework through which you can introduce new vocabulary to your ESL students in an engaging way. Furthermore, your students will appreciate the ability this vocabulary gives them to form relationships with native English speaking people.

Using Vocabulary About Relationships or Friendships

Vocabulary that has to do with friendships and relationships can enter your ESL lesson plans no matter which level of English as a second language you are teaching. Words like friend, wife, husband, brother, sister, mother, and father are usually among the first words a new English speaker learns. With these words, you can construct simple lesson plans about relationships and friendships.

For instance, you might separate your students into pairs and have them work out a brief, simple statement introducing their new "friend" to the class. For an even more basic lesson, have the students tell the class if they have siblings, what their spouse’s name is, and so on.

It is at an intermediate or advanced ESL level that lesson plans having to do with friendships and relationships can really get interesting. Consider asking questions such as:

  • What makes a good friend?
  • Can men and women be friends?
  • Should married people have friends of the opposite sex?
  • How important is friendship to having a good romantic relationship?
  • How long is your longest friendship, and why has it lasted so long?

These debate style questions are a great way to engage your students and keep them interested in the class while they are increasing their comfort level in carrying on a conversation in English.

Another fun way to work the topics of friendships and relationships into ESL lesson plans for advanced students is to have them write responses in "advice columns." You can take questions posed in newspaper and magazine advice columns like Dear Abby and encourage your students to write their own responses. This exercise can be a great way to make working on writing skills less tedious.

Of course, if you are teaching ESL to children, these kinds of questions and exercises may not be appropriate. However, you can still work friendships and relationships into your lesson plans by tailoring your questions to a younger audience. Some ideas might be to talk about:

  • Friendships with pets
  • What they like about their best friend
  • What they like to do with their friends

Resources for ESL Lesson Plans on Relationships

There are tons of ideas online for incorporating the topics of friendships and relationships into your teaching. The following websites are filled with resources that can help make your lesson plans exciting and fun:

  • ESL Flow is another website that has lesson plans to download on a wide variety of subjects. This site has advice for teaching friendship and relationship vocabulary and for testing students on the new words they have learned.
  • Dave’s Café is a little more informal than some other ESL sites, but that is part of what makes it so good. Dave is an ESL teacher who runs the site to help his fellow teachers do everything from finding a job to finding lesson plans. Because he is a teacher himself, this site may be the most useful of all. Dave’s Café also has a function that allows teachers to share their own lesson plan ideas.