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Tipping ESL Lesson Plan

Tipping In The USA

Student Level


Video Length: 1:00

Updated on: 11/20/2023

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Tipping ESL Lesson Plan Description


This ESL lesson plan about tipping customs and culture contains PDF worksheets, activities, and digital materials for intermediate B1 students. This is a great lesson choice for students who work in the service industry. In the lesson, students will get to know how tipping works in the USA and compare it to tipping customs in their culture. They will also be able to express their opinions and debate topics about tipping practices in specific scenarios and from different perspectives.


The first part of this ESL lesson on tipping features an image of a bill from a restaurant. Students must match some important terms on the bill (total, subtotal, tax, items, and tip) to the actual bill. Students then move on to a section where they discuss tipping and how it works across a range of different service jobs in their industry, including:

  • Hairstyling
  • Taxi / Ride Services
  • Serving (Restaurants)
  • Delivery Services


The video featured in this lesson is made by a YouTuber who discusses American tipping customs, specifically in San Francisco. It highlights dining experiences and the varying tip percentages for different service levels. The woman questions the practice of customers contributing to extra salary and benefits for staff through tipping, challenging the fairness of this practice.

In the listening comprehension sections, students fill in the numbers they hear for tipping customs at restaurants in the USA, fill in the parts of a missing bill, and write or discuss some short answers about the video.


After watching the video, students discuss a few more questions related to the video and tipping culture. They can compare restaurant tipping practices in their own culture with the USA’s.

The second part of the viewing follow-up section contains a quote from the YouTuber. In the quote, she uses the phrase “On the other hand…”. Students answer a few questions about this quote.

Then, there are some sentences related to tipping practices, and students must fill in the correct verb that fits the context.


The final activity in this lesson plan features several practical and engaging scenarios for students to discuss about tipping. They can share what they would do in each situation, and are encouraged to share their thoughts with the class. Each scenario contains a different context and a different verb is used for each one. Teachers can feel free to engage in the discussions as they see fit.

Benefits of using this ESL lesson plan on tipping:

Real-World Application: The lesson includes a real restaurant bill, providing practical and authentic materials that mirror situations students may encounter in their daily lives.

Contextualized Learning: The lesson integrates language skills within a real-world context, making the content more relevant and meaningful for students, especially those working in the service industry.

Cultural Comparison: Students have the opportunity to explore and compare tipping customs in the USA with those in their own culture, fostering cross-cultural understanding.

Debate and Discussion: Through various discussion activities, students practice expressing opinions, debating tipping etiquette, and considering different perspectives, promoting critical thinking and communication skills.

Video Description

This video addresses American tipping customs, particularly in San Francisco. The video emphasizes dining situations and the different tip percentages associated with various service levels. The presenter raises questions about customers supplementing staff salaries.

Lesson Activities


Tipping Culture, Customs, Service Jobs


Numbers (Percentages), Restaurant Bill Vocab, Short Answers


Restaurant Bill, Phrase ("on the other hand..."), Verbs


Debate » Tipping Etiquette Scenario, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Tipping, Service Jobs

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