Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

In Sickness and In Health: Health Lesson Part 1
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate, Prep Speaking level


This is the first part of a 2-part lesson on the subject of health. In this lesson Ss will discuss the topic of a healthy lifestyle, focusing on sickness and its role in determining and defining our health--how a person gets sick and how a person can prevent illness. Productive activities will include some WC and GW/PW informal discussions, revolving around the general topic of health. Some phrasal verbs and vocabulary related to sickness will be taught and reviewed. At the end of the lesson, Ss will be assigned a role-playing activity in which they will "act out" a doctor's visit for a specific ailment or disease.


Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with the opportunity for freer-speaking practice on the topic of health and sickness, and how a person can be and stay healthy

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with a review and practice of specific phrasal verbs and vocabulary related to illness and getting sick


Warmer/Lead-in (20-23 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Write on the WB HEALTH. Beneath the heading, write some things that can be considered either healthy or unhealthy living: "eating meat; living alone; keeping a pet; yoga; tea; salt; crisps/chips; alcohol; flying; smoking; running; sunbathing; sugar; coffee; stress; watching tv; vitamin pills; being vegetarian." Elicit from the WC which of the things on the WB are good for your health and which of the things on the WB are bad for your health. Elicit from the Ss some ways, personally, that they think a person can be (and stay) healthy. Write some of the answers on the WB. Liven up the discussion with some probing questions: --"What is something that many people should do, but don't do, to stay healthy?" --"Who takes vitamins (why or why not)?" --"Has everyone gotten a vaccine for Hepatitis, Rabies, Tetanus, and Typhoid? Why do we have vaccines for these diseases; what do these vaccines do?" --"What about exercise? How important is exercise for our health?" --"Is hygiene important for our health (e.g. washing our hands or brushing our teeth)? In what ways can hygiene actually have a negative effect on our health? --"Do you think good, or bad sleep, affects our health? In what way?" --"What about emotions and thoughts, especially negative ones? Do those affect our health? How?" Divide the Ss up into groups and ask them to come up with 3 things that they could do, today, to improve their health. Following the discussion elicit from the groups their discussion for WC FB.

Exposure (20-23 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming productive tasks

Write on the WB HEALTH PROBLEMS: AILMENTS AND ILLNESS. Elicit from the WC some common health problems a person can have. Write the Ss answers on the WB. Possible Answers: Headache, Sore Throat, Common Cold, Flu, Backache, Broken Leg, Asthma, Cough, Fever, Diabetes, Tooth Ache, Ear Ache, Sprained Ankle, Joint Pain, Pneumonia. Try to elicit a description of the symptoms for each sickness/illness that the Ss mention. Point out what is an 'ailment' and what is an 'illness' in the WB list. Elicit from some of the Ss which of these ailments they have experienced in the past. Inform the Ss that they are going to discuss and determine, in their groups, who has experienced the ailments on the WB (and the HO) and what was done to recover from that ailment. Distribute the HO on "Who Caught That Disease?" and following GW discussion, bring the groups together for WC FB. Elicit from the Ss how often they get sick in a year and what do they normally get sick with (what ailment are they susceptible to). --"How did your mother (or father) take care of you when you got sick? What are some of your family's home remedies for common ailments (like a sore throat, a cold, the flu, a headache, a minor cut)?" --"Who has taken an over-the-counter or prescription drug? Why did you take that drug?" --"Who thinks we take too many drugs for unnecessary ailments? Why?" --"Who has gone to the hospital? For what? How was your experience?" --"Does anyone have any history of health-related problems in their family (e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc.)? What must you do to stay healthy and prevent yourself from experiencing this health-related problem in the future?"

Useful Language (17-20 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks

Write on the WB HEALTH: PHRASAL VERBS. List the following phrasal verbs and try to have the Ss guess their meaning: [First Group] "Clear up (full recovery, you are no longer sick); Pass out (lose consciousness); Come around/round/to (regain consciousness); Come down with (an illness) (you are now sick); Come out in (spots/a rash) (break out in something on your skin); Bring something up (vomit); Throw up (vomit); Get over (an illness) (full recovery, you are no longer sick); Build your strength up (become stronger after an illness); Come over (you become dizzy); Patch someone up (basic medical treatment like stitches or a cast) [Second Group] "Put on (weight) (you get fatter); Take up something (start doing some sort of exercise); Cut out (stop drinking or eating or doing something unhealthy); Give up something (stop a bad habit); Pick up (an illness) (to get sick); Take care of someone; Fight off (you are already sick, now you are trying to cure the ailment); Swell up (a part of your body becomes bigger than normal); Cut down (reduce the intake); Break out (just like 'come out in'); Take off (your doctor no longer gives you medicine/a prescription); Ease off (pain that becomes less painful); Drag on (an illness that lasts longer than normal)." For T CCQ's, ask the Ss if the person is sick, is going to be sick, is getting over their sickness, or has gotten over their sickness (is no longer sick).

Productive Task: Quotations on Health (12-15 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Divide the WC into groups (organize them based on a line-up of when was the last time they got sick) and then distribute some famous quotes, and proverbs, on health. Have the Ss discuss what they think the quote (or proverb) means and do they agree or disagree with what the person is saying. Bring the groups together for WC FB and to provide an opportunity for responses to each others quotes and proverbs.

Extra Productive Task: Questionnaire on Health (35-40 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Inform the Ss that they are going to create a questionnaire--individually--to find out how healthy the WC is. "I want your questionnaire to be 6 questions. Think about what we have been discussing in class, as well as these things (write on the WB), when creating questions for your questionnaire: 'diet, exercise, stress levels, happiness levels, lifestyle (busy or relaxed), any health issues for the past few years, family health history, drinker or smoker?'" . Once everyone has successfully interviewed 2 Ss, instruct the WC that they need to score each answer on their questionnaire (e.g. if you think the answer is a healthy choice, then you would score that answer as a 5 on a scale of 1-5). Decide what a total score would mean for your questionnaire (e.g. if someone scores 3, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, for each question, for a total of 23, how healthy are they?). Then elicit the questionnaire responses from the WC for some WC FB.

Final Productive Task: Preparation on HW and Presentations Next Lesson (8-10 minutes) • Bringing all productive tasks together to provide Ss with the opportunity to role-play a real-life situation (i.e. a doctor's visit)

Divide Ss up into pairs and assign each pair with an ailment or disease. Instruct the Ss that one of them will be the patient and the other will be the doctor. "I want you to role-play a visit to the doctor. Do not say the name of your ailment or disease. The patient will describe his or her symptoms and the doctor will diagnose the patient's symptoms (again, without saying the name of the ailment or disease) and prescribe some medicine or medical advice." Inform the Ss that the remainder of the WC is going to try to guess which ailment, or disease, each group has been assigned. "I will be grading you on the following: fluency, accuracy, pronunciation, and the ability to speak about disease and health in a natural setting (such as a doctor's visit). You will get extra points if you use some of the phrasal verbs we discussed, during class, in your dialogue. Please no speeches on a sheet of paper. I want this to be a natural conversation. I would like each person to speak for about 2.5-3 minutes, so the conversation should last for a total of about 6 minutes. Again, this is a natural conversation, so the patient and the doctor will speak back and forth to each other. Your conversation can go however you want; you can even make the situation funny if you so desire (e.g. the patient could argue or yell at the doctor, or vice versa)." Allow the Ss some in-class time to look over their ailments or diseases, ask the T questions if they have any about the ailment or disease, and figure out how they will approach their scenario.

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