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ESL Vacation Lesson Plan

Does Vacation Make You More Productive?

Student Level


Video Length: 3:01

Updated on: 04/19/2023

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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ESL Vacation Lesson Plan Description


This ESL vacation lesson plan contains activities, PDF worksheets, and digital materials for B1/B2 intermediate and upper-intermediate students. By the end of the lesson, students will have expanded their vocabulary related to vacations and productivity and be able to express their opinions on work-life balance using specific vocabulary, while at the same time enhancing their communicative skills through role-play and discussion activities.


This ESL lesson plan on vacations and productivity starts by having students describe types of vacations in images and discuss their favorites and benefits. They then talk about upcoming vacations, annual leave, and unused paid vacation time. A preview discussion question asks students to consider whether taking a vacation makes them more productive and why. Lastly, they explore the benefits and challenges of vacations using verb-noun combinations.


Students watch a CNBC video about European vacation practices, worker efficiency, and why longer holidays may increase productivity. There is a listening activity that highlights the differences between European and American vacation policies. Students also match sentence parts to comprehend key points made in the video and discuss the benefits and challenges of taking time off.


In the first post-viewing exercise, students debate EU vs. USA vacation policies. They then explore phrases about work-related stress linked to vacations and match verbs and phrasal verbs to sentences that describe vacation impacts on work. Finally, they read and define highlighted phrases in quotes to grasp vacations' effect on work-life balance.


In this activation, students initially engage in vacation planning choosing the type of holiday and destination. They then participate in a role-play task in which they either persuade a friend to keep existing vacation plans or explain the need to cancel due to work issues, utilising some of the vocabulary they've learnt.

Lessons on vacations/holidays and productivity tend to work well with ESL students because the topic is universally relatable and directly impacts their work-life balance. If you're looking for an engaging approach to teaching phrasal verbs, discussion skills, and specialised vocabulary to intermediate students or topics on the culture of work and leisure, this is the lesson plan for you!

Benefits of teaching this ESL Vacation Lesson Plan:

The concept of vacations and productivity transcends cultural boundaries, making it a globally relevant topic. Teaching about it helps students navigate the universal tension between leisure and work, empowering them to make more informed choices about their own work-life balance.

Exploring the topic of vacations and productivity allows students to engage in authentic and practical conversations about wellbeing. This fosters critical thinking as students are encouraged to analyse how taking time off can have various effects, not just on personal relaxation but also on work performance and mental health.

This lesson not only enhances general vocabulary but also introduces students to industry-specific terms and phrasal verbs. This can be incredibly beneficial for those entering the workforce, or for those who aim to work in international settings where the culture around vacations and productivity might differ.

Video Description

Taking longer holidays like the Europeans could be the secret to making you a more productive worker. CNBC’s Elizabeth Schulze explains.

Lesson Activities


Vacations, Productivity


Matching Sentence Halves, Benefits/Challenges, Prediction Check


Images, Verb/Noun Collocations, Verbs, Phrases


Vacation Planning & Role Play, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Vacations, Productivity

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