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Setting Boundaries ESL Lesson Plan

Setting Boundaries With Confidence & Compassion

Student Level


Video Length: 3:37

Updated on: 01/18/2024

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Setting Boundaries ESL Lesson Plan Description


This ESL lesson plan on setting boundaries contains activities, worksheets, and digital materials for upper intermediate B2 students. By the end of this lesson, students will be able to identify what a boundary in a relationship is, how to set them, and other verbs we use with the noun “boundary”, such as “honor”, “overstep”, and “enforce”. They'll also practice setting boundaries in a role play, engage in deep conversations about boundaries, and be able to use a variety of words with different prefixes in their conversations.


In the first part of this ESL lesson plan on setting boundaries, students read posts from an online relationship forum about issues like dealing with a friend who is always late (Eric's situation) or managing social anxiety when declining event invitations (Alyssa's situation). They discuss advice for each scenario and then move on to a broader discussion about setting boundaries in relationships. Questions include defining boundaries, explaining their importance, and reflecting on personal experiences with setting boundaries. Additionally, students create sentences using collocations with the noun "boundary," such as "to enforce a boundary" or "to honor a boundary."


Students watch a video from Headspace about how to create boundaries in a relationship and tips for having a conversation with a friend about them. The video covers a range of topics and tips, all discussed by a clinical psychologist, Dr. Han Ren. Students list the topics she discusses in order, finish writing her tips, and then answer some questions about her tips. Dr. Han Ren talks about unvoiced boundaries, enforcing boundaries, insights into when to create them, and overcoming challenges in expressing boundaries with friends.


The next part of this ESL lesson plan on boundaries involves two parts. In the first part, students discuss questions related to Dr. Han Ren's tips for setting boundaries, evaluating their usefulness and considering situations beyond friendships where setting boundaries is valuable. They also reflect on their ability to say "no" and explore ways to improve. In the second part, students fill in missing prefixes for words in Dr. Han Ren's quote. There are then more example prefixes in the context of setting boundaries, including words such as "overwhelmed," "underappreciated," "inappropriate," "overstepped," and "dishonest".


This lesson activity consists of three steps. In Step 1, students, either individually or in pairs, identify and describe two boundary issues in any relationship. They write short posts in an online relationship forum, incorporating specific prefixes. Step 2 involves role-playing as either the person setting a boundary or responding to one, using their written posts for reference. The activity concludes in Step 3 with a reflection on the experience, focusing on how it felt to set and respond to boundaries, evaluating the effectiveness of the practice, and considering potential actions if a friend were to overstep a set boundary during the role-play.

Benefits of using this ESL lesson plan on setting boundaries:

Practicality: The boundary-setting role-play activity in three steps provides a hands-on approach, allowing students to apply their understanding in a realistic context, fostering skills in effective communication and boundary establishment.

Reflective Learning: The lesson plan promotes self-awareness as students consider the emotional aspects of setting and responding to boundaries, evaluate the effectiveness of the practice, and strategize potential responses to someone overstepping boundaries.

Active Participation: The discussion, role play, and prefixes component of the lesson encourages active participation as students evaluate the usefulness of Dr. Han Ren's tips, reflect on personal experiences, and explore ways to improve their ability to assert boundaries.

Video Description

We all know relationships can be tough — especially when it comes to boundaries. Dive into the world of setting boundaries with Dr. Han Ren and learn how to improve your relationships. Watch, listen, and become a boundary-setting master!

Lesson Activities


Setting Boundaries In Relationships


Sequencing Topics, Tips (setting boundaries), Short Answers


Collocations, Prefixes


Navigating Relationships: Boundary Setting Role Play, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Setting Boundaries, Healthy Relationships

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