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As an ESL teacher, I’ve always believed that learning a new language isn’t just about acquiring grammatical knowledge and vocabulary. It’s also about learning life skills that can help students navigate their everyday lives in a new culture. So, I decided to integrate some life skills into my ESL lessons in a light and humorous way.

Grocery shopping

One of the first skills I tackled was grocery shopping. I divided my students into pairs and gave them a list of items they had to buy from a supermarket. They had to communicate with each other in English to find the items and make sure they stayed within their budget. One student hilariously mistook “lettuce” for “leashes” and had his partner running around the store looking for dog leashes. We all had a good laugh when they realized the mistake.

Making appointments

Another life skill that I integrated was making appointments. I gave each student a scenario where they had to make an appointment with a doctor, a hairdresser, or a mechanic. They had to role-play the conversation in class, using vocabulary and phrases we had learned in previous lessons. One student pretended to call a dentist and asked if they could extract his “brain” instead of his “tooth.” We all had a good laugh at that one too.

Receiving compliments

I also taught my students how to give and receive compliments. This was particularly helpful for those who had just arrived in a new country and felt self-conscious about their English skills. I asked each student to write down three things they liked about their partner’s appearance, and then they had to read them out loud in front of the class. It was heartwarming to see how happy and confident my students became after receiving compliments from their peers.

Small talks

Finally, I tackled the art of small talk. This was a particularly difficult skill for some of my students, who came from cultures where small talk isn’t as prevalent as it is in Western countries. I gave them a list of conversation starters and asked them to practice having small talk with their classmates. One student asked another if he had any siblings, to which the other replied, “Yes, I have a dog.” We all had a good laugh at that one too.


Integrating life skills into ESL lessons not only makes the learning process more enjoyable and memorable but also helps students feel more confident and capable in their daily lives. I’ve found that humor is a great way to make students feel at ease and more willing to take risks with their language skills.

So, if you’re an ESL teacher, why not try integrating some life skills into your lessons in a light and humorous way? You might be surprised at how much your students enjoy it, and how much they learn in the process.

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