The purpose of universities

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talking about education


In this speaking class, students watch a video about the purpose of universities and practise talking about education and universities. 

B2 / Upper Intermediate
C1 / Advanced
45 min
60 min
Speaking ClassUnlimited Plan

This is a Speaking Class worksheet. It includes a variety of tasks that let your students practise their speaking skills. This lesson format does not focus on grammar or vocabulary. Learn more about it here.


In the warm-up task, students need to say what some academic acronyms stand for (e.g. BA, MSc, MD). Then, they discuss some general questions about higher education. For instance, they talk about the subjects which are popular at universities, and about their experience with universities. They also discuss what helps the best universities stand out from the average ones. After that, students read seven statements about universities and higher education. The statements refer to exams, teachers, departments, academic degrees, etc. Students need to decide to what extent they agree with the statements. They have to use the scale 1–5 where 1 means completely disagree and 5 means completely agree. The task gets students talking about education in depth. 


In this part of the lesson, students watch the video. They need to finish some sentences with the ideas from the video as well as their own. After that, they discuss some of the unusual ideas mentioned in it, e.g. the idea of reorganising university departments so that they reflect the problems our society faces nowadays. In the last two tasks, students spend some time talking about education and the problems it faces nowadays. Students look at a list of areas they might be problematic in higher education and say whether the problems exist in their countries. The problems include student loans, declining enrollments and online classes. Finally, they choose one or two of the problems they identified and discuss what could be done to address them. The teacher can choose to ask students to work in groups or pairs and to brainstorm some ideas to address the problems. The groups or the pairs can then compare the ideas with other students and pick the best ones. 




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Leave a Reply

  1. esl.virtualguru

    Nice plan, thank u!
    I’d be really happy if you create a lesson plan to the topic “women’s day”:)

    1. Ewa

      Thanks! You should use one of the lessons from the topic women.

  2. danielmark

    You could have an example of a university in this activity or maybe the students could study the rankings and how accurate they are. Maybe a reading text would also help this activity.

    1. Ewa

      Hi! Thaks for the ideas. I think asking students to comment on university rankings from their country is a great one 🙂

  3. Suzeven

    loved this! students had a good time discussing this topic, thank you!

    1. Ewa

      Thanks! That’s fantastic to hear 🙂

  4. Sam O Neill

    Super lesson, thanks!!!

    1. Ewa

      Glad you like it! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. tamuna tskvitaia

    Thanks for the ideas!:)

    1. Ewa

      Glad you like them!


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