B1 Lesson Plan

TED Talks to Improve Your English Listening Skills

Created by ALULA | April 02, 2024

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- Listening, Critical thinking -

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In the realm of language learning, incorporating authentic materials can significantly elevate the learning experience. This lesson plan introduces intermediate ESL students to the enriching world of TED Talks, aiming to hone their listening and critical thinking abilities in English. Through carefully selected talks, students will navigate complex ideas, engage in meaningful discussions, and develop note-taking strategies that enrich their comprehension and analytical skills.


This lesson plan focuses on using TED Talks as a dynamic tool to improve English listening skills and foster critical thinking among intermediate B1 level students. By engaging with a variety of topics presented by experts in accessible, yet intellectually stimulating language, students will explore new ideas, improve their vocabulary, and enhance their ability to comprehend spoken English and articulate their thoughts and opinions more effectively.

Lesson Focus

Students will gain valuable listening practice through engaging content that challenges their understanding and opinions. They will also develop critical thinking skills by analyzing the ideas presented in the talks and participating in discussions. The goal is to enhance their ability to follow extended speech, recognize argumentative strategies, and express complex ideas in English with greater confidence.

Lesson Content

Activity 1: TED Talk Introduction and Vocabulary Prediction

Approximate Time Needed: 20 minutes

Objective: To prepare students for listening by introducing the topic and predicting key vocabulary.

Materials: A selected TED Talk video, whiteboard, and markers. Teachers can select talks from the official TED website that match the interests and level of their students.


  1. Introduce the selected TED Talk topic to the class and write the title on the whiteboard.
  2. Ask students to predict 5-10 keywords or phrases related to the topic.
  3. Discuss the predictions, writing them on the board and providing translations or explanations as necessary.

Activity 2: Watching and Note-Taking

Approximate Time Needed: 30 minutes

Objective: To practice listening for details and taking effective notes.

Materials: The selected TED Talk video, notepads, and pens.


  1. Provide a brief overview of note-taking techniques such as shorthand symbols or mind mapping.
  2. Play the TED Talk. Students should take notes focusing on main ideas, arguments, and examples.
  3. Pause the video at key points to discuss and clarify any difficult concepts or vocabulary.

Activity 3: Group Discussion and Debate

Approximate Time Needed: 30 minutes

Objective: To encourage critical thinking and articulate opinions based on the TED Talk.

Materials: Discussion questions prepared by the teacher, students’ notes.


  1. Divide students into small groups and distribute the discussion questions.
  2. Encourage students to share their notes and perspectives on the TED Talk’s content.
  3. Facilitate a class-wide debate or discussion, prompting students to defend their opinions or compare their interpretations of the talk.

Wrap Up

This lesson plan leverages the powerful medium of TED Talks to engage intermediate ESL students in meaningful listening and critical thinking exercises. By exposing students to diverse ideas and prompting analytical discussion, this approach not only bolsters English language skills but also broadens students' horizons. Finishing on topics touched in this lesson, it's worth exploring additional tools that can further enhance language learning.

One such tool is ALULA, an AI-powered ESL app that offers conversation exercises, speaking practices focused on grammar, and personalized grammar lessons. ALULA complements classroom activities by allowing students to practice and consolidate their learning at home. The app’s AI English Tutor can help students prepare for class discussions or review crucial grammar points, making classroom time more effective and engaging.

Give your students more Conversation Practice

AI English Tutor offers engaging conversation practice opportunities for your students. They will also gain access to over 150 grammar lessons, more than 150 targeted speaking exercises, and a vast collection of over 5,000 practice questions.

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