An example of a type of ancient loch dwelling. @cgoodey

A designer lessons ESL lesson plan developed by George Chilton

Everybody loves estate agents, right? Well, this is a lesson that celebrates them.
I’m using pictures sourced from @elt_Pics – I encourage you to look at the Flickr group and to follow them on Twitter. If you’ve had enough of trawling the mounds of irrelevant or poor quality images you find on Google image search, it’ll be a relief, I promise. Cover image – @shellterrell & elt pics

  • What would it be like to live in each of these homes?
  • Where would you most like to live?
  • Which would be the most comfortable?
  • Where would you least like to live?
  • In which countries do you think these buildings/homes are?

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Bock of flats in Brazil by @InglesInteract, Houses above shops by @shellterrell, a Crannog, Loch Tay, Scotland by @cgoodey, Old granite house Jersey by @SueAnnan and the Railway Wagon Home by @cgoodey

Next ask your students to mind map a list of adjectives they could use to describe these homes. For each adjective they should try to think of an opposite, thus doubling the vocabulary. The best way do this is as a class, using the board, in order to teach and reinforce. They should use their imaginations to think about what the properties are like inside.

  • cold – warm
  • spacious – cramped
  • light – dark
  • airy – small
  • cosy – impersonal – cold
  • furnished – unfurnished
  • modern – traditional – old-fashioned
  • original – normal
  • basic – fancy
  • minimalist – cluttered


Stage two – video comparison and vocab grab

If you have the tech available, show the following  video, from a 1986 of “Through the Keyhole.”  If you don’t like this particular clip, there are plenty to choose from on Youtube. Ask your students to watch the video with the sound off and  ask them to work in pairs and describe the rooms they see, using some of the vocabulary and adjectives you have mind-mapped together. They should write their descriptions down and share them with the rest of the class later.

Next, for more advanced groups you could try to show the clip with the sound, but the aim here is to encourage their descriptions, rather than to pick up the language he uses – Lloyd Grossman has a very strong accent and his vocabulary is quite complex.

Stage three – floor plan

Give your students the school floor plan. Tell them that they are going to be estate agents. In pairs/threes/fours ask them to imagine that they are going to sell the school to a group of interested buyers. They should use the plan to decide what the purpose of each room is.

Then get them to walk around the open areas of the school and write descriptions of each room (ask them choose areas you can visit easily – occupied classrooms, for example, are a no-no). Before they do so, ask them for phrases they think might be useful, and mindmap them as a class.

Once they are happy with their descriptions help them with the extra language they’re going to need, for instance;

If you follow me / Through this way / This room has views of…

Ask them to write a script, and then have each pair/group do a tour.

Write down any significant errors as you go and do an EC spot in the classroom.

A sample floor plan for a double-family home


Students write a description of their own house or flat in order to advertise it in the newspaper.

Creative Commons Licence
Designer Lessons by George Chilton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.