Why you should know how much your co-workers get paid

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Vocabulary - salary

ESL lesson


This ESL lesson discusses the thorny issue of pay secrecy and focuses on vocabulary connected with getting paid. TED Talk by David Burkus called “Why you should know how much your co-workers get paid” is the key point of this worksheet that will kick off a lively discussion. The lesson was designed for HR professionals, however, it works well with other working adults too.

B2 / Upper Intermediate60 minStandard LessonUnlimited Plan


The worksheet is divided into two sections: vocabulary & video/discussion. The lesson starts with a lexical exercise in which students must put words in right categories. Next, students will practise using new vocabulary by filling in gaps in sentences to see how they work in context. Exercise 3 is a comprehensive grammar task that focuses on various tenses. Students will have to identify where tenses are used wrongly and correct the mistakes. In order to give more opportunity to reinforce new vocabulary, students have to discuss in pairs whether they agree or disagree with the statements from exercise 2.


The next page starts with a pre-watching activity where students need to get the meaning of idioms used in the video from example sentences. Afterwards, students watch the TED talk and go to the last activity which contains discussion points based on the video. This can be done in pairs or as a class activity (depending on the group size). Remember that this lesson discusses money and salary which for many people might be a controversial topic, so tread lightly 🙂



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Leave a Reply

  1. Steve Croston

    Thanks Stan, a great topic to discuss and a fantastic lesson to go with the video, nice work!

    1. Stan

      Your welcome, Steve!

  2. Janna

    Statement 2 a) has a mistake in it (was recently been closing)

  3. Janna

    Sorry, I skimmed over the task without reading the next one 😀 Makes perfect sense now.

    1. Justa

      It’s okay, it happened to others as well!

  4. Barry

    Brilliant! It really got the students talking.
    Thank you!

    1. Justa

      That’s great! Thanks for leaving a comment!

  5. sasha_stepanov

    Thank you. It is a good lesson that sparked a good discussion with my students

  6. hheyworth

    Great class and pairs well with the new bossless workplace reading!

    1. Stan

      Thanks for the comment, Hugh! It’s an excellent idea to pair this lesson with that CRC lesson on bossless workplaces. If anyone else wants to try that combination out, here’s a link: https://eslbrains.com/could-a-bossless-workplace-work/


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