B1Telephone English phrases60
In this lesson, we want to focus on telephoning skills as this is one of the life skills our students often struggle with, but need very much when they use English. We also look at the phenomenon of telephone phobia (aka phone anxiety) which is an issue many people need to deal with and may especially be valid for learners of foreign language. On top of that, our lesson plan includes a set of common telephone English phrases and of course a couple of roleplays to practise them.



The lesson starts with a couple of standard questions related to telephoning to introduce the topic and get students engaged. The last question concerns phone anxiety and is related to the video. 

Video – Phone Anxiety

The video section includes 3 parts: vocabulary (phrasal verbs), video, discussion. First, ask your students to fill in the phrasal verbs with prepositions. They have the definitions of those phrasals provided to help them choose the right preposition. All of these phrasal verbs come from the short video so let them watch it and check their answers. Afterwards, play the video again so that they can focus more on the content as they should not have much problem with the language.
The last part is a discussion. Let your students discuss the provided questions, what will allow them to reflect on the content of the video and express their opinions.

Telephone English Phrases

In the next exercise, your students will discover some common telephone English phrases and learn the target language they will need for the roleplays. In this task, students need to categorize the phrases they get according to their functions.
Cut out two sets of phrases for pairs of students (available on page 3 of the Teacher’s Version below). Each student should get one set and put the phrases there in suitable categories. This way they will have half of their categories completed and to get the second part they need to share and check their partners’ handout. As a result, your students will be equipped with 20 different telephone English phrases grouped by their functions.

Practising Telephone English Phrases – Roleplays

The last activity brings together all that your students have learnt so far on the lesson. They will have to put those phrasal verbs and telephone English phrases into practice by role playing two scenarios. There’s plenty of information provided in their role cards so let them absorb it before starting the roleplays. The best way to do those roleplays is to make them as real as possible. Put your students in pairs and ask them to actually call each other and do the task over the phone – ask half of your students to leave the classroom and call their partners. If your setting (or the size of the class) doesn’t allow it, ask your students to sit back to back so that they can’t see each other. This way at least your students can’t rely on body language and need to communicate using only their voice – just like when they talk on the phone. 


This extra worksheet focuses on 8 business telephone etiquette tips and is prepared for B1 students.  First, students need to work in pairs and think of 3 things they should always do when talking on the phone in a business situation. Then, they move to a short text which talks about some Telephone Etiquette tips. They have to complete gaps in the text with the provided words. After that, they discuss the tips and say why it is important to follow them. Finally, they need to write down 5 things we should never do when talking on the phone and in pairs create their own list of dont’s for telephoning. Extra worksheet is available for download below  and as always – only for our Patrons!





Read this info before becoming a Patron! 

Get this extra worksheet and many others if you subscribe for $5

Check out our other B1 lesson plans for more teaching materials. 

Do you like this lesson plan/post?


    1. You should see yellow buttons below the Extra Worksheet to Download heading – that’s where you can get the extra content. If not then you probably see, the “Become a Patron” button – click it and log in. In any case, if it doesn’t work chat to us on Facebook or drop us an email (stan@eslbrains.com) and we’ll help you out!

  1. I love all ESL Brains lessons I think they’re amazing. This one has a mistake on the teacher’s worksheet. One of the phrases on page 3 says ‘I quite didn’t catch that’. Also a lot of the phrases seem a little short and unprofessional and not what a person calling from a business would actually say. All of the putting on hold ones seemed very unnatural and almost a bit inpolite. I did this in a 1 to 1 class and I found myself having to change a lot of the phrases when doing the role play with my student. I think the phrases could do with an update. One thing that might be nice is to have phrases from very formal to informal and students can rank them, or maybe even a funny thing of ‘what not to say’ roleplay as a little extension. Anyway I hope all these points help. Thanks so much for all the lesson plans so far. They have really helped me during my time teaching English.

    1. Thanks Francesca for the comment. I’ve just fixed that issue on page 3. In terms of the phrases, we put a rather basic set as this is a B1 lesson plan. I guess we might think about updating it or adding another set. Probably, we could also create another lesson (or worksheet) on formal vs informal language – you got some good ideas there 🙂


Share what you think about the lesson / post

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.