TEFL Lesson Plan: But is it art?

Another free TEFL Lesson Plan for you to use with a strong intermediate, Upper Intermediate or advanced group (or 1-2-1) of late teens to adult learners.

To challenge your English students there is
– a listening activity with two native-speakers discussing – art in a natural way
– discussion questions
– a speaking exercise which gives scope to check correct usage of present perfect grammar
– a reading/comprehension activity

The student handout can be downloaded just below… and it’s also further down in this blogpost (below the answers) for you to read now, if you like.

TEFL Lesson Plan: But is it art?


ANSWERS to EXERCISES (not given in the student handout)


“Men playing cards” – Cezanne $268 million
“Suprematist Composition” – Malevich $65 million
“The Scream” – Edvard Munch $121 million
“Golden Calf” – Damien Hirst $10 million

EXERCISE 3: First listening

1. True
2. True
3. False
4. False

EXERCISE 3: Second listening

1. He was a dentist and Damien Hirst paid his dentist fees in Art, not money, because he wasn’t successful at that time and had no money to pay him
2. He “scratches his head” and wonders in amazement at how anybody could pay such a high price for a piece of art
3. Because Van Gogh’s artistic skill and use of colours and brushstrokes are incredible and something that Bren “could never do in a million years”
4. Yes he does. He likes to learn about the paintings
5. Sometimes (“I have been known to buy…”) he buys the book guide to put on his coffee table at home to show people that he has been to that exhibition.


TEFL LESSON PLAN: But is it art?

Do you like visiting art galleries?
Why do so many tourists go to visit art galleries?
Which kind of art is better – traditional art (landscapes, portraits, religious art) or 20th Century modern art?
Do you have a favourite painting or artist?

Ex 2. How much do you think these art works cost when they were sold at auction?

TO SEE PICTURES (Scroll through download from SCRIBD above)

Why do you think that collectors pay so much for these pieces?
Are they worth it?
What’s the most expensive thing that you have bought today/this week/this year?
What’s the best thing that you have ever bought for yourself?
What’s the best thing that anyone has ever done for you?
What’s the best thing that you have ever done for somebody else?

Ex 3. Listen to this podcast twice & answer the questions below

Mark likes Picasso True / False
Mark doesn’t normally like modern art True / False
Bren likes Salvador Dali True / False
Mark usually buys a present for his wife from a gallery gift shop True / False

How did Mark’s friend get his Damien Hirst pieces?
What does Mark think about the price of Modern Art?
Why did Van Gogh’s work impress Bren?
Does Mark like using an audio guide in a gallery?
What does Mark buy (sometimes) in the gift shop after looking round a gallery?


TO SEE PICTURES (Scroll through download from SCRIBD above)

What’s your opinion of the famous abstract art pieces above ?
Do the artists that made these works have more artistic skill than you?
Would you like to have any of these famous art pieces in your home?

Ex 4. Match the artwork above to 3 descriptions below

They present a great variety of geometric forms that produce sensations of movement or colour. In the early 1960s, her works were said to induce sensation in viewers as varied as seasick and sky diving.

He later used paint pouring as one of several techniques on canvases of the early 1940s. His technique of pouring and dripping paint is thought to be one of the origins of the term action painting.

Constructed in 1966, it was bought by The Tate Gallery in 1972. The exhibit comprises all the pieces arranged in two layers, in a six-by-ten rectangle. All eight structures in the series have the same height, mass and volume, but different shapes. Thus they are all “equivalent”.

Ex 5. Discussion Questions

Do you agree that ‘many pieces of modern art require no skill whatsoever to make’?

Have you ever been moved by a piece of art/music/a book?

How far do you agree with the statement that ‘modern art does not have to display the technical skills of the artist, but rather has to challenge the imagination of the viewer’?

If you had a spare wall in your home that you wanted to do something with, what would you put on it (and why?) – posters of your favourite celebrity/sports star/film star/musician, a family photo blown up to a very large size, a big work of fine art, lots of little things in a random style…. or something else?

If you inherited a famous piece of modern art like those above, what would you do with it?




If you use this lesson, please let me know how you got on with it. Did you make any changes? Was any part too difficult/easy for your learners?

Bren Brennan

About Bren Brennan

Bren initially trained here at SGI and then joined the staff in 2005. Since 2006, he has taught abroad in Budapest, Berlin and now at Mondragon University in Spain. He returns to teach at SGI London every summer and completed the SGI Trinity DipTESOL in 2011. He also regularly writes posts for students here.
This entry was posted in Lesson Ideas, Lesson Plans and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to TEFL Lesson Plan: But is it art?

  1. Pingback: English conversation 35: Is it art? - The English Blog | The English Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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