Example lesson for the 1st day – what students associate with the UK

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We recently asked our students what things they associate with the UK. The following list is a selection of the more common associations.

The Queen
Pop music
Fish and chips
The countryside

They provide a great way to ‘break the ice’ and can be part of the first teaching day’s lessons.

Example Lesson Outline

Level: Elementary to Upper Intermediate (adjust to suit level)  Time: 20 to 30 minutes

Language content:

comparisons, questions, adjectives, plans, hopes

Vocabulary that may come up: icon, stereotype, traditional, image, culture, old fashioned, symbolic …

Preparation: Write the associations on a piece of paper/card and cut up to make 8 cards.

  1. Stages of lesson:
    Ask your student for 5 things that people from the UK think of/associate with their country (give an example if necessary eg Spain: bull fighting, wine, beaches, paella …).
    Ask follow-up questions eg. Why do you think that? but remember the focus is on the student speaking.
  2. Explain that you have, on cards, a list of 8 things that foreign students associate with the UK. Ask your student to guess what is on the cards. If necessary show one card to get the ball rolling. Depending on level, change the number of cards you use and the amount of elaboration you ask for eg for a higher level  student who guesses ‘pubs’, you can ask them to describe this image in more detail or describe the last time they went to one etc.
  3. When the word(s) on the cards are guessed, lay them on the table face up. Stop at say 4 cards if this is taking a long time.
  4. Ask if your student can add others to the list.
  5. Together you can rank the associations according to relevance eg Is the Queen more symbolic of the UK than the Beatles?
  6. You can extend this session with a discussion of what your student hopes to experience during their stay.
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3 Responses to Example lesson for the 1st day – what students associate with the UK


  1. Mary-W-2 says:

    This was a marvellous ice breaker lesson! It enabled me to assess my Italian student’s vocabulary and pronunciation and generally just led on to a good ‘speaking and listening’ exercise. It developed into British food v Italian food and who’s who in the Royal family. One of those exercises that could go in all sorts of directions! I haven’t tried it yet, but it could possibly be linked with the first day recording session.


  3. KelvinFowler says:

    Margaret. I. commented 25/01/2013:

    “Thanks Ian. My student, who is returning, has said that I am the second thing she most associates with England!!! I’m really looking forward to seeing her again and will use your lesson plan.”

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