Teaching English Proverbs: A Lesson Plan

Teaching English Proverbs: A Lesson Plan

Wondering how to teach English proverbs? The following lesson plan suggests a fun activity that your students will enjoy!

Why should we teach English proverbs to our students?

Proverbs are short sayings that are used to describe a general truth. They are usually given as a piece of advice to someone. Although every language has its sayings and clichés expressing their way of the world, many cultures share the same proverbs.Teaching proverbs not only expand students’ vocabulary knowledge but also familiarize them with the English culture.

A. Warm-up questions:

What are proverbs and why do we use them?

What proverbs do you have in your mother tongue language? How often do you use them in your everyday speech?

Can proverbs be translated to other languages with the same meaning?

B. Matching exercise:

Split students into pairs and give them some minutes to guess and do the right matching.

1.     Never judge a book A.      for tomorrow you die.
2.     Beware of Greeks B.      come in small packages.
3.     Eat, drink C.      lie.
4.     All work and no play D.      has a silver lining.
5.     Let sleeping dogs E.       in the mouth.
6.     The bigger you are F.       is worth two in the bush.
7.     Never look at a gift horse G.      on the other side of the fence.
8.     A bird in the hand H.      makes Jack a dull boy.
9.     Silence is I.        but it pours.
10.   It never rains J.       bearing gifts.
11.   Every cloud K.      golden.
12.   Good things L.      the harder you fall.
13.   A fool and his money M.     and be merry.
14.   Time and tide N.     are soon parted.
15.   The grass is always greener O.     by its cover.

Find the matching exercise worksheet here.

Once the matching and guessing are over, discuss the correct answer and meaning of the proverbs together.

Keys: 1-O, 2-J, 3-M, 4-H, 5-C, 6-L, 7-E, 8-F, 9-K, 10-I, 11-D, 12-B, 13-N, 14-A, 15-G

Trying class gamification? Bamboozle might become your perfect companion!

C. Follow-up:

Using Proverbs in Speaking

Is there a better way to practice proverbs than speaking? As they are considered a crucial part of everyday speech for natives, you can seize this opportunity and turn it into a speaking activity.

Split students into pairs again: One student will create an imaginary concept/problem and the other student will have to answer by using a proverb that best suits the concept. Students are encouraged to create a dialogue and use as many as they can.

Interested in extending the lesson? This speaking activity on proverbs and their meaning might be what you need!

It might be interesting to make a collection of the proverbs, as you go through the school year and stick them on the wall.

Extra tip: You can do similar activities with comparisons (the more, the merrier) and similes (as brave as a lion, as strong as an ox)

Discuss values through proverbs from all around the world using James Chapman’s illustrations!

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