Colour psychology – idioms

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Vocabulary - idioms with colours

English lesson plan for adults

<span style="color: #ff0000;">The video contains explicit content. Viewer discretion is advised</span>


This English lesson plan for adults focuses on colours and how we perceive them in terms of emotions and feelings. Students will have to think what in their opinion particular colours represent and how they can be used by various industries to influence us. Thus the video in the lesson is a collection of shots from different films with nouns associated with given colours.

B2 / Upper Intermediate60 minStandard LessonPremium Plan

The video contains explicit content. Viewer discretion is advised. Consider using this English lesson plan only with adults!


Firstly, students have to think about the colours given and fill in the gaps to make  nouns of feelings they represent. Then, they need to make adjectives from the nouns from ex. 1. In the next task, students answer some questions concerning their favourite colour, different meanings of colours in different cultures and industries which may use colours to influence us. However, if your students can’t come up with any ideas of such branches, guide them to such industries as film, advertising, TV, etc.


Before watching the video, your students get a long list of nouns such as passion, madness, immaturity, etc. First of all, they have to match them with colours they represent. Next, they watch a video and check their answers. Because of the video, this is an English lesson plan for adults only. The video contains some explicit content, so watch it beforehand and decide if it’s suitable for your group. In addition, as a homework idea, you can ask your students to create adjectives from these nouns at home.


The lesson contains two tasks on idioms. In the first one, students need to choose correct colours in the sentences. Then, they have another exercise and have to complete sentences with such phrases as black out, in the red or white lie. Finally, students have the chance to practise these idioms. First, they have to write five Wh-questions, then work in pairs and ask and answer each other’s questions.



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  1. Nick

    Thanks for a great lesson plan. Just one correction perhaps: replace “erotism” (rarely used) with “eroticism” (more commonly used). Thanks again and keep up the good work.

    1. Stan

      Nick, it’s a valid point you’ve raised. It pertains not only to ‘erotism’ but also ‘feminity’. Although you’re right, we left these forms in the Student’s Version as they are the words which students will see in the video. But I guess, however, that teachers should also draw attention to the more commonly used forms so we left an appropriate comment box in the Teacher’s pdf.

      Thanks for the comment and it’s great you like that lesson plan 🙂

    2. Claudia Rodríguez

      Thanks for your comment!!

  2. Meta Nelson

    Love the lesson, but I think some of the photos are inappropriate to show in my adult ESL class. I wish it were rated PG!

    1. Stan

      Thanks for your comment! From now on, we will add some information if the video/images contain explicit content so that Teachers can decide whether these sorts of things are appropriate for their classes.

  3. Olga

    I agree with previous comments, it’s quite inappropriate for my ESL adult students let alone younger ones. Pornographic scenes have to be rated, if not removed from an educational movie. I accidentally overlooked these scenes prior to class and was totally shocked at seeing them in class while showing to my ss. I thought Ted4esl posts appropriate scenes, but you quite disappointed me.

    1. Stan

      It’s definitely for adults only! We added a red note about it in the description. However, I wouldn’t call it pornographic rather maybe erotic, after all they’re movie clips. It’s up to you what you deem appropriate for classes 🙂

      1. Jessica

        Stan, I have to agree with Olga. This IS considered pornographic. Definition according to a Google search: “Constituting or resembling pornography; obscene.” Lol. 0:57. Dude, I volunteer to teach ESL at a BAPTIST CHURCH lol Could you imagine if I had forgotten to view the video before teaching this lesson?! ALWAYS. REVIEW. YOUR. CONTENT.

        1. Stan

          I must agree that you need to use content that’s appropriate for your environment/culture. I’ve done this lesson a dozen times and nobody was shocked but I wouldn’t go for it for a Baptist Church group 🙂 BTW at 0:57, there is a scene from 50 Shades of Grey, rated R in the US but it’s 15 in many countries and in the Netherlands it was even rated 12 (never ever would I recommend it for that age) 🙂

      2. Lydia goold verschoyle

        Thank you for the warning! I choose not to use it especially being a female teacher in an all male classroom. It’s a good video, pity another appropriate one couldn’t be used.

    2. Оксана Курилович

      Olga, I think you should have watched the video that you bring to your students. Lesson preparation is the key)

  4. Saki

    hi, really good lesson. do you have a list of the movies used in the clips?

    1. Stan

      Sure 🙂 Just go to the original video ( and see the music and list of movies in the description

      1. Saki

        Yess! thank you! 🙂

  5. Jessica

    Is it possible for you guys top post two videos (a CLEAN option) if you must post a pornographic/erotic video? Love the lesson plan but cannot use the video 🙁

    1. Stan

      Sorry, but this probably is not going to happen at this point :/ So far we’ve been posting lesson plans that we use in practice and I don’t remember a time when we created a lesson with 2 different authentic material/video – maybe only when we wanted to change the video to a lower/higher level.

      Neverthless, we’ll keep this in mind and think about providing some alternative for more controversial materials.

  6. aeptto

    Hello! Thank you for this amazing worksheet. We usually don’t talk about art let alone colours, with my students. Thank you.

  7. Kenny Landes

    I’m disappointed that this site, which has proven such an excellent resource in the past, chose to publish this lesson with this video. It’s really inappropriate.

    The worksheet is usable, but the video choice displays very poor judgement and merits no respect among educators. As a result, a potentially great lesson plan is made irrelevant by inappropriate content. Not all ESL students are adults, and not even all adults will be comfortable with the content of the video, especially in more conservative countries. Adding warnings about adult content simply betrays that you knew better and decided to do it anyway.

    Also, “femity” and “erotism” may be words used in the video, but they are not words appropriate for the level of the lesson, which is B2, so the explanations in the teacher worksheet are also beside the point.

    1. Justa

      Definitely, it’s not a standard lesson material and as we emphasised it’s only for adults, and it’s our job as teachers to decide whether this kind of material is appropriate for the class we teach and their culture. We added the warning because we’ve got some comments that people where surprised, however, we believe that everyone should watch a video and check out worksheets before showing them to students during the class. Personally, I’ve done this lesson plan with a lot of my adult students and they’ve enjoyed it, and I didn’t get any comments about those few scenes there (even when I asked them myself after our lesson).

  8. Mateusz Stępniewski

    That is why you have to check your materials prior to your lesson, Olga.

  9. Henrique

    Great lesson! Just one thing I would like to point out. In my native language we consider these idioms “white lie” and “black sheep” to be racist. Does it have the same connotation in English?

    1. Stan

      That’s super interesting! Would you mind sharing what language you talk about? And answering your questions: these expressions are not considered racist in English – neither their origins or their usage nowadays has anything to do with racial bias. That’s true for both Polish and English AFAIK.

  10. Jolu Jolu

    I loved the song that makes the background to the video, I am just using it right now, later more comments, quite a good job i can say ahead of time.

    1. Justa

      Thanks! Looking forward to your feedback!

  11. Lydia goold verschoyle

    Thank you for the warning! I choose not to use it especially being a female teacher in an all male classroom. It’s a good video, pity another appropriate one couldn’t be used.

  12. Marcin Ratajczyk

    Is it possible to watch the same video somewhere else? I don’t want to provide my credit card details nor do I want to send a photocopy of my ID to GooTube!

    1. Stan

      Well, you don’t need ID or credit card, you just need to log in with your Google account and click to confirm that you’re 18 years old. But for you convenience, we replaced it with a Vimeo link 🙂

      1. Marcin Ratajczyk

        I AM logged into my YT account but it still requires me to provide my credit card details. Weird.

  13. andrea tills

    I was thrilled to discover this lesson as I’ve already used the vimeo clip with my Design students.

    I’m surprised and disappointed that so many people find it to be inappropriate for ADULTS.
    On the contrary, it’s a sure-fire way to get their attention!

    Adults = grown ups…
    Why not grow up and exit your comfort zone once in a while! 😉

  14. Mammainmilan

    Way too explicit for my tastes. A great idea for a lesson but some of the clips are borderline pornographic.

    1. Stan

      Well, these are all taken from Hollywood movies (some of them R-rated). Nevertheless, I totally understand that this video is not sutaible for every class.

  15. Raychel Johnson

    Hi, is the video that is posted on the lesson page the same as the one used in the presentation? The one in the presentation doesn’t seem to work, but the Vimeo video does. I just want to make sure I’m not skipping important content. Thank you!

    1. Stan

      The Vimeo one is the same as on YouTube so you’re not missing anything. We also updated the e-lesson plan so that the player works there as well. Thanks for commenting and bringing this to our attention.

  16. Rodrigo Antonio Díaz Cadena

    Great lesson! I’ve used it with my psychology students at University and it went all right.

    1. Justa

      Thank you so much for you comment! It’s great to hear you find it useful when working with university students!

  17. Оксана Курилович

    Great plan, thanks!

  18. Mitch Moore

    ‘Colour and Psychology idioms’ very interesting, but you tube for this is highly unsuitable. New member, Mitch.

    1. Justa

      Hi Mitch! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. As mentioned above, it’s not a standard lesson material, we understand that this video is not sutaible for every class and it’s definitely only for adults.

  19. Ewa Cywińska

    Great lesson! I did it with a few groups and had no complaints. I know my students and I simply asked some of the groups to watch the film at home as I suspected some people might feel uncomfortable watching it in the class.

    1. Justa

      I’m happy your students enjoyed the lesson and I like your idea to ask some students to watch the video at home. It might be helpful. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  20. nholler

    This is a great lesson plan. I didn’t use the video because it made me uncomfortable, even with my adult women students, but I found some other material to substitute. I love the topic.

    1. Justa

      I’m happy to hear that you like the topic and could adapt the lesson to your students’ needs. Thanks for the comment!

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