Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

Bad Habits
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson Ss will discuss some normal, and extremely rare and bizarre, habits and behaviors that are harmful to our health. The discussion will center on describing and categorizing these behaviors, as well as the methods to avoid adopting them as habits or get rid of those that have become habits. A pre-lesson reading task will introduce Ss to the psychological disorder known as 'hoarding.' A productive task will guide Ss to think about and discuss the differences between bad and good habits and behaviors. A questionnaire will guide Ss to consider their own behaviors--and how they may be categorized as the bad habit of 'hoarding.' During the last part of the lesson Ss will be assigned a productive task, role-playing an unusual doctor's visit (whereby the patient is afflicted with a bizarre psychological disorder).


Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity for freer speaking practice on the subject of habits and behaviors (both good and bad), focusing on the specifically bizarre, and sometimes disgusting, behavior of 'hoarding.'

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity to practice their gist reading skills, on the subject of 'hoarding.'


Warmer/Lead-in (18-20 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Write on the WB DAILY HABITS AND BEHAVIORS. Underneath, write the following categories: 1) SLEEPING [HEAVY SLEEPER, LIGHT SLEEPER, or INSOMNIAC]; 2) MORNING [EARLY BIRD, MORNING MONSTER-NIGHT OWL; RELAXED or RUSHED]; 3) SHOPPING [SHOPAHOLIC-MALLRAT; SPENDTHRIFT, FRUGAL, or SCROOGE]; 4) CLEANING [NEAT FREAK, TIDY, or SLOB]; and 5) SCHOOLWORK [PROCRASTINATOR or PLANNER-PROACTIVE]. Reference the slang terminology (in brackets) during discussion of each category. Try to categorize the Ss under one of these labels (based on their answers to the eliciting Q's below). Elicit from the WC their habits and behaviors for each category. See below for some eliciting Q's for each category: 1) "How many hours of sleep do you usually get? Is that enough for you?" --"How do you fall asleep? Is it difficult, or easy, for you to fall asleep?" --"Do you sleep, uninterrupted, for the entire night, or do you wake up frequently in the middle of the night?" 2) "What time do you usually get up in the morning? Do you get up with the sun or sleep in?" "Do you find it easy, or difficult, to wake up in the morning?" --"Do you usually use an alarm clock to wake up?" How often do you hit the snooze button before you finally wake up?" --"How often do you 'oversleep' (i.e. sleep past your alarm)?" --"What is the first thing you do after you wake up? Eat breakfast, use the toilet, drink coffee, etc?" --"Are you generally in a hurry or relaxed when you get dressed and 'get ready' in the morning?" --"What do you eat for breakfast? What do you prefer to drink in the morning?" 3) "In what kind of stores do you prefer to shop for clothes? Thrift? Upscale? Modern? Department? The mall? Local (i.e. Mom and Pop)?" --"Where do you like to buy your groceries? What are you generally purchasing as groceries?" --"How often do you shop for clothes? Shoes? Accessories? Groceries?" 4) "How often are you cleaning your room (dormitory or house)? How long does it generally take you to clean your room (dormitory or house)? --"Are there any tasks/chores that you have put off/postponed? Why are you postponing these specific tasks/chores?" 5) "How do you approach completing 'schoolwork' (an assignment)? Do you wait until the last minute (i.e. the night before the assignment deadline)?" --"Would you identify yourself as a 'procrastinator' or are you a 'planner' and 'proactive' about your responsibilities in school?" Elicit from the WC their 'daily schedule' (morning until night). Write on the WB: BUSY, SLOW, LOOSE, and FULL. Elicit from the WC which adjective(s) they would use to describe their schedule today. Elicit from the WC a description of their daily schedule from 5 years ago. "How was it different and how is it similar? What adjective(s) would you use to describe your schedule from 5 years ago?"

Exposure (16-18 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading

Write on the WB: BAD-UNHEALTHY HABITS and GOOD-HEALTHY HABITS. Elicit from the WC some examples for both types of habits/behaviors. Write some of the Ss' answers on the WB. You can reference the previous section if Ss are having difficulty giving an answer. Divide the WC into groups and distribute a HO ('Habits and Behaviors'), which includes a list of bad and good habits. Instruct the Ss, in their groups, to look through each list and... 1) Decide if they agree or disagree with the list and its categorization. "Do you agree or disagree with the habits and behaviors included under each list?" 2) Decide which of the bad habits are the worst for a person's health, and why? 3) Discuss how a person can prevent or stop themselves from adopting these bad habits/behaviors? Discuss how a person can 'give up' a bad behavior that has already become a bad habit? 4) Decide which of the good habits are the best for a person's health, and why? 5) Discuss how a person can adopt these good habits/behaviors. Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Elicit the following expansion question: "Do you have any old habits that you cannot give up--that you have tried to 'give up' but have been unsuccessful?"

Productive Task: Hoarders (13-15 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Refer the WC to the pre-lesson reading task ('Bad Habits'). Elicit from the WC their answers to the associated questions: 1) "Why might someone consider these specific habits and behaviors as bizarre and/or disgusting?" 2) "Which one of the habits/behaviors, in these three stories, do you consider strangest (most bizarre and most disgusting)?" 3) "What do these stories have in common?" (T Answer: they all exhibit 'hoarding' behaviors) Write on the WB HOARDER. Explain to the WC the meaning of this word, if they are unfamiliar. Inform the WC that they are going to watch a video of a person who hoards. Instruct the Ss, while watching the video, to think of some reasons for why a person might consciously (or unconsciously) hoard. Youtube: Hoarder Denise's House Tour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY16aLaF_ZE Following a viewing of the video, elicit a general response from the WC. What do they think about the hoarding behavior? Do they think that this behavior is healthy or unhealthy for Denise? How would they feel if they lived in Denise's house?

Productive Task: Hoarder Questionnaire (18-20 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Inform the WC that the T would like to find out how many 'hoarders' are located in the classroom. Instruct the Ss to first complete a questionnaire. "This questionnaire lists some things that many people commonly collect (i.e. 'hoard'). Please read through this questionnaire and tick which things you collect (i.e. secretly hoard)." Once the WC has answered their questionnaire, instruct the Ss to rotate throughout the classroom and find others who share in their collecting habits/behaviors. "When you find someone who shares some of your collecting habits/behaviors, discuss with them the following: 1) Do you believe that your behavior is a ‘hoarding’ behavior?; and 2) How can you both stop yourselves from collecting (i.e. ‘hoarding’) these things?" Allow the Ss at least 10-12 minutes to complete this activity. Bring the WC together for FB. Conclude the activity with some final probing questions: --"Thinking about the hoarding video that we watched, why do you think that people hoard, in general?" --"Do you think that modern society supports hoarding behaviors? Why or why not?" --"Do you think that people hoarded--or were able to hoard--hundreds of years ago, when we didn't have as many things available to buy?"

Productive Task: Bizarre Disorders (8-10 minutes) • To introduce and explain the up-coming productive task (for the following lesson)

Inform the WC that they will complete a group project during the following lesson. This project will be a role-play of a doctor's visit. However, the patient will be suffering from some strange or bizarre issue. Explain that just like hoarding, these problems will all be psychological. Allow the Ss to select a partner and then randomly select their unusual psychosomatic disorder. Provide time for the pairs to discuss their disorder and ask the T any questions. Group Project Instructions/Requirements: Each role-play should last for around 4 minutes. The Ss will be graded on just accuracy and fluency. Following the role-play, the group will explain what the disorder is, if the WC cannot guess.

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