ESL Fun Activities for Talking About Dating

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Getting Started with Dating Conversations

The first step in this lesson plan is to brainstorm some basic vocabulary that students may encounter in a dating situation. Ask students to generate their own lists of words. Alternatively, have them work with a partner or small group and see what they come up with. Often this team approach works well for adult learners as it encourages indirect conversation (which is great practice) and for many students is a more comfortable conversation style than a whole class situation. Don’t be too shy here, as this is a lesson where you can also ensure students are not put at risk through their own lack of language skills in English - it is worth pushing past any embarrassment to make sure the meaning of dating words and related terms are known and understood. Here are some examples:

  • Drink
  • Kiss
  • Touch
  • Share
  • Meal
  • Movies
  • Together
  • Boyfriend
  • Girlfriend
  • Relationship
  • Close / closeness
  • Hold hands
  • Text message
  • Date / dating
  • Pick up (note there are two meanings here - “pick up” as in “pick you up at 8 o’clock” and as in “i picked up a hot bloke tonight!”)

Once you have worked on a vocabulary list, ask students to work on some word variations using the words in their list as base words. For example, the word “date” can be turned into “dating” by dropping the “e” and adding “ing” as a suffix.

Let the Fun Begin!

Here is how to inject some life into the class when teaching ESL fun activities for talking about dating:

Copy the words onto strips of paper.

Organize your class into pairs or small groups. Ask each team to select a strip of paper without reading it (fold them in half first). Ask them to use the word to generate a sentence that relates to a dating situation. For example, “I met my boyfriend when we bumped into each other in the supermarket when we fell over a stack of cans in the baked bean aisle together.” This gets two points in fact, as the sentence uses two words from the vocabulary list - together and boyfriend.

It is then up to you as to how you organize the next phase of the learning experience for your students. You could try a time-based challenge where students have to see how fast they can come up with a correctly structured sentence in English. You could focus on comedy and humorous writing and ask students to generate a funny scene or skit that they could share with the class. You might ask them to expand the original sentence into a dialogue between a dating couple so that students are able to practice turn taking in the conversation. Whatever approach you take, make sure you go for ESL fun activities for talking about dating, as this is a sure winner of a topic so long as you make it FUN!

A Note of Warning

Do be careful with this activity though - remember that in some cultures dating is not seen as being appropriate, and may be viewed quite differently. Be mindful too that some students may make different decisions to other students about gender, preference for relationships or in fact may opt to not be in a relationship at all. Do your research with your students first to make sure that what you plan as a fun activity is in fact fun for everyone.