What makes a great leader?

What makes a great leader? 

Lesson plan: 

Description:This lesson plan is organised around the theme of leadership through the use of Simon’s Sinek TEDvideo ‘How great leaders inspire action’, It also includes a short quiz, quotes, vocabulary building activities and discussions around the topic of ‘inspiring leaders’.
Level:Upper-Intermediate/ IELTS preparation classes
Learners: Teenagers, Adults
Theme: Leadership
Skills: Speaking, watching a video, reading , creative expression, deep thinking.
Materials:short video, quiz, quote slides.

Step one: Write on the whiteboard few leadership quotes. Tell students to guess what’s our topic for today and give them 5 minutes to discuss the quotes and the meaning behind each quote. Asklearners again to discuss the quote and write down 3 reasons why they agree or disagree with the quote. Give time to students to share their ideas with their partner.

Step two: Elicit students’ thoughts and ideas around the sayings. For higher levels students it’s important to ‘stretch’ Ss in order to make the most of their abilities. Write down on the whiteboard any interesting words or phrases that can students learn. It’s better for students to be given a time limit, so that they can pace themselves

Step three: (if students’ have smart phones). Ask learners to take the Quiz and find out whether they are Leaders or Followers. This is my result 🙂

Certificate: Test results
Are You a Leader or a Follower?

For 40 % you are: You are EQUAL. Sometimes you are a leader and sometimes you are a follower. You aren’t afraid to lead others but you also aren’t afraid to follow. You give people chances to take the lead or follow behind. Either way, you go with the flow and you aren’t just one or the other. Good job.
33.2760 % of 20348 Quiz participants had this profile! Profile A
Take this quiz: Are You a Leader or a Follower?

Step three: Tell students that they are going to watch a short video around the topic of ‘leadership’. Ask learners to read the following questions before watching the video? *You can divide the video into two parts (0:00-11:00, 11:00- the end)

1. What’s Simon’s opinion? Do you agree or disagree?

2. What’s significant about ‘Apple’, ‘Martin Luther King’ and the ‘Wright Brothers’? Briefly outline their stories.  

 Step four: Monitor and help students to express their ideas. You can write down any mistakes and provide error-correction at the end of the lesson.

Step five: Tell students that they are going to work in pairs to complete the ‘vocabulary building’ activities.  

Click here to download the activities

Vocabulary Building: Lesson plan 1
What makes a great leader?
This academic word list, can helps you to express your ideas and thoughts and work your way for high scores. A must have resource for IELTS test takers.
Watching TED videos for IELTS? Why not?
Vocabulary learned from this video:
Activity 1: Match the meaning of the words in bold.
Table 1
Example Meaning
1. Writers who are viewed as innovative have new ideas and are creative in thinking A. A person who provides expert advice professionally

2. It took me many years to be now here. To reach this stage is a great achievement. B. Officially recognised as being trained to perform a particular job.

3. He acted as campaign consultant to the president. C. In a profound extent; extremely; profound way; greatly

4. This advertising agency offers really good prices. You should go there. E. (of a person) introducing new ideas; original and creative thinking.

5. He had set up a fund to support exporters. F. Difficult to perceive; indistinct or vague.

6. Only qualified candidates will contacted for this position G. A business or organization providing particular service.

7. This would codify existing intergovernmental cooperation on drugs H.A thing done successfully with effort, skill or courage.

8. He profoundly changed the whole course of my life. I feel confident now. I. To sum up money saved or made available for a particular purpose

9. The picture is very fuzzy. J. Arrange according to a plan or system.
Table 2:
1. I’m sure there’s a perfectly rational explanation
A. A person or organization that is slow to do something or slow to make a progress
2. The emphasis is now on tangible results

B. Clear and definite; real:
3. Staff were under enormous pressure and there was no time for laggards

C. A disagreement or argument
8.His intuitive understanding of the readers’ real needs

D. A public speaker, especially one who is eloquent or skilled
9. A territorial dispute between the two countries. E. Based on or in accordance with reason or logic:
10. Who hardly find politicians that are great orators

F. Using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning
11. Those whose business is the pursuit of knowledge, G. The action of pursuing someone or something
Activity 2: Tick the 5 top qualities that make a Great Leader and check with your partner if you agree.
  • Honesty
  • Ability to Delegate
  • Communication
  • Sense of humour
  • Confidence
  • Commitment
  • Positive attitude
  • Creativity
  • Intuition
  • Ability to inspire
  • Risk taker
  • Organised
Step seven: close up the lesson by gathering some ideas on ‘what makes a great leader’ and provide learners with error-correction

Try it out!

Type of activity: small groups, matching
Function practised: comparing and contracting, discussing advantages and disantavages.
It would be easier to. . . . ..
The. . . .. . . . would be better/stronger
The. . .. . .. . was . . . . er/the. . . . -est because
The. . .. . . was not as. . . .. as the. . .. .
The. . . . . was too. . . .
The . . . was not. . . enough,
Lexical areas: names of tools and instruments, action verbs
Problem vocabulary: tweezers, twig, coat, hanger, wedgem unblock, squeezing, crack, floorboard, accidentally
Phrasal verbs: get out, fix onto, push into.
How to use the game: Divide the class into groups of three or four. Play the PowerPoint presentation to make sure students learn the vocabulary. Give students the worksheet with the task list. The object of the game is for each group to decide which implement would be more useful in each situation. They should compare the implement and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. When they have finished, one person from each group go to another group to compare results and discuss advantages and disadvantages of the different methods employed.
If your students are adults, you might bring in the actual implement for each group instead of the presentation.
Optional rules: 1. Another suggestion will be to monitor, and give points to the team/students who uses the ‘exponent vocabulary’. 2. Each implement is to be used only once.


Task list:
1. You have a bottle of wine but no corkscrew
2. The cupboard door keeps swinging open
3.This sink is blocked
4. The neighbour’s dog keep squeezing through a hole in the fence
5. Your ring has dropped into a saucepan of boiling water
6. You have dropped some money through a crack in the floorboard
7. You can’t get the lid off the jam pot
8. Your house is locked and you can’t get in.
9. A water pipe is leaking and water is dripping onto the floor. 

Download the worksheet here  

The good old stuff from my childhood

In this lesson:

  • You are going to learn how to use ‘used to’ to talk about old habits.
  • Look the images and practise using ‘used to’.
  • Take pictures with your mobile devices or search for pics on Google to make sentences and present it to your class.

For Teachers: Before class: It will be a great idea to ask students to take some photos of old toys they used to play with when they were young before this class. The first activity aims to get students notice the use of ‘used to’ and clarify that it’s usedto describe past habits.

 1. Look the example and answer the questions:

Tom used to be a vegetarian, but he started eating meat this summer.

1. Is Tom a vegetarian now?

2. Did he eat meat in last year ?

3. Which action is in the past?
I used to watch the smurfs every Sunday morning with my sister.

1. Do I still watch smurfs on Sundays with my sister?


For Teachers: Give time to students to answer the questions in pairs and elicit answers. Make sure students understand when we use the ‘used to’. To help them more you can present the following:

 2. Can you write down something you ‘used to do’ and you no longer do it?

3. Look at the pictures and key words and make sentences with ‘used to’. 



3. Now it’s time to write your personal examples. You can use the pictures you have already taken or search for images on ‘google image’. Write about 5 toys/thing you ‘used to’ play with when you were younger.
Here are some examples from previous students:
My mum used to read bedtime stories to me, this is one of the books.
These are my old shoes, I used to wear them at school.
 I used to read this book every day when I was 5 years old. I loved the pictures.

Travel and art

Description:This lesson plan is organised around the theme of travelling through the use of Ginette Callaway’s paintings, a short text on art and travellingand lastly a youtube video on the ‘Top 10 lessons learned in travelling the world’.
Learners: Teenagers, Adults
Theme: Traveling
Language: Present Perfect and Past Simple.
Skills: Speaking, watching a video, reading, observing paintings, creative expression, deep thinking.
Materials:short video, visual prompts (paintings), and quote slides.
 Activities can be viewed here: 

Step one: Write on the whiteboard the following quote ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.‘ Tell students that this is a quote by Augustine Hippo and give them 5 minutes to discuss the quote and its meaning. Asklearners again to discuss the quote and write down 3 reasons why they agree or disagree with the quote. Give time to students to share their ideas with their partner.

Step two: Elicit students’ thoughts and ideas around the saying. For higher levels students it’s important to ‘stretch’ Ss in order to make the most of their abilities. Write down on the whiteboard any interesting words or phrases that can students learn. This stage can last for quite long, so make sure you set a time limit.
Step three: Tell students that they are going to read a short text from a blog. Don’t tell them the title. Give them few minute to quickly scan it and complete this sentence:
‘This text talks about……..’

All of us when travel ensure to capture beautiful sights of places with camera. With advent of cellphones with high quality camera, it has become a lot easier for even a common traveler to click and share photographs of sights that appeal them.

It may be assumed that in ancient times humankind only captured images through their eyes and stored them in their memory. To view them again or to share with people they love, early men used the art of sketching or painting to exhibit their heart-felt travel experiences. 

The art of photography prospered after the invention of camera and travel enthusiasts started capturing the beauty and awe of any scene, anywhere in the world.Travel to distant places within one’s own country or outside of it could be once-in-a-lifetime moment, therefore, travel photography helps us precisely the way we want to remember the places we had been to.
Apart from the travelers taking photographs while on a tour, there are people who would like to see photographs of the destinations where they wish to go. Also, photographs of a particular city may even inspire to actually visit that place!

Taken by famous artists paintings

Step four: Tell students to read the text again and complete the following table. I believe that this text is quite simple for this level but if your learners are weak it will be a good idea to ask them to highlight any unknown words and go through them before this activity. Allow 5 minutes for the students to complete the table.


Ancient times
Early times
21st century
  • Now ask students to identify the places on the picture 

Step six: hand out the grammar point. Allow few minutes for students to complete it.
a) 1. Have you ever been to Italy?
     2. When did you go?
b) Look at the question 1 and 2 above.

  • What tense are they?
  • Which question refers to a specific time in the past?
  • Which question is about some time in your life.

Step 7: Pre-listening tasks: Allow 5 minutes to complete the vocabulary tasks and discuss any unknown words.

Step 8:

Tell students that we are going to watch a video about someone who traveled the world and the life lesson he learned. We are going to watch lesson1-3 and lesson 5, 6.

Step 9: After the video/Discussion: Ask students to discuss the questions in pairs, monitor students and encourage them to ask follow-up questions in order to exploit speaking activities. Elicit student’s answers and reasons for the answers and opinions.
  1. Do you agree with Benny? What do you think is the most important lesson?
  2. Have you ever traveled alone? If yes, when?
  3. Have you ever been in a difficult situation while traveling?
  4. Have you ever gotten lost while traveling? If so, tell about it.
  5. Have you ever hitchhiked? If so, how many times?
  6. Is it safe to hitchhike in your country?
Have a lovely day and always remember: