Experiences of an English Language Teacher

Lesson Plan: Reality TV Shows (Reading Relay)

Smart TV

Watching smart is easier now with the Internet

If you are anything like me, I love to get my fix of reality TV shows in the UK – “Strictly Come Dine With Me”, “I’m A Celebrity” or, I hasten to add, “X Factor”.  This got me thinking about a lesson plan to prepare for my Pre-Intermediate learners and I decided to share my lesson with my readers.  The lesson is aimed for a good Pre-Intermediate group of older teenager or adult learners and it fits nicely with a lesson related to television viewing habits or alike.  Coincidentally, we were focusing on television and there is a good reading activity in Straightforward Pre-Intermediate on Chapter 9.  Anyhow, more about the lesson.

The first thing to do is ask learners what their favourite television programmes are and why.  Board this and any suitable adjectives – it is a good idea to review passive and active adjectives (-ed / -ing) and scaffold appropriate language.  Next, ask learners what they know about “Reality TV” and elicit possible TV shows or formats from the learner’s context.  Tell learners about a few popular reality TV shows in the UK and ask them whether they have seen any.  This, I found, makes for good natural communication and you can write down a few other TV shows.

Tell the students that they are going to be learning a bit more about UK reality TV shows and that you there are 5 TV shows – write the name of these shows on the whiteboard.  These are:

  • “Come Dine With Me”
  • “I’m A Celebrity”
  • “Strictly Come Dancing”
  • “World’s Strictest Parents”
  • “Don’t Tell The Bride”

Tell the students that they are going to listen to the opening song of each of three TV shows in random order but they have to match the song to the possible five TV shows.  Tell them to listen to the following songs – try to blank the whiteboard or play without the images showing to the students.

Once you have played each of the three opening credits to the possible five shows, get learners to share their opinions with each other and then elicit from them what they think is correct.  At the end show the video with the sound to the class to show if their guess was correct.  The next stage is getting learners ready for the reading relay.  Ensure you have stuck up the reading around the classroom and handout the questions to each learner (both are available as attachments at the bottom of this blog post).  You could get one nominated learner to run out of the classroom or around the class to look for an answer and dictate to the rest of their group or you could get students to mingle and walk around the class to find the answers.  If you are conducting a traditional reading relay, confiscate mobile phones as learners are likely to take photographs of the text and return and copy down answers.  This would defeat the object of the activity.

After learners have completed the activity, you could nominate learners to answer the questions, assist with any queries with vocabulary or review pronunciation.  To supplement the reading you could get learners to write up conversation questions related to reality TV shows for groups or pairs of learners to discuss with each other.  Conversation questions could include:

  1. What do you like or dislike about reality TV shows?  Why?
  2. What was the last reality TV show you watched?  Why?
  3. What English TV do you usually like to watch in your free time?  Why?
  4. Who do you normally watch TV with?  Why?
  5. When do you normally like to watch TV?  Why?
  6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of watching TV?

You could extend the activity by getting groups of learners to create their own format of a reality TV show and create a poster or advert/opening title.  This itself would take a lot of time but it is very motivational for the class and highly recommended.

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[scribd id=371432974 key=key-pwvoug0FfXE22WaaRYQu mode=scroll]


  1. This is a great idea. I am hoping we get screens for our classrooms soon so I can start incorporating media into my lessons. Kids use their phones and computers everyday so it only makes sense to incorporate this into the learning environment as well.

  2. I really like this page, because its helping me a lot. I was empty, but now I know something about English

  3. Great lesson. Not a fun of reality shows myself, but I’m definitely going to give your lesson a shot – I think some of my sts would love it.

  4. such a nice idea, thank you

  5. Joanna

    Have used this activity in several classes with a few variations and additions, as I used it with higher level classes I posted the texts around the classroom and gave them a time limit to read all of them. This made things more dynamic and challenging and then had to skim read.
    Before introducing the theme of Reality T.V I had researched average daily viewing times in Spain ( where I teach) in 2012, 1992 and also in the U.K and wrote the times on the board. I asked what they thought the figures referred to. Students volunteered marathon times, flight times etcetera and were shocked to find that the Spanish spent around 4 hours a day watching T.V.
    I then gave them the names of the five shows and asked them image what the concept was and if the show existed on the T,V in Spain. This created plenty of discussion.
    As a finishing off task students told each other which reality show they’d prefer to appear on and why. Most voted for Strictly Come Dancing.
    A very nice activity.

  6. Helen

    Hi, this looks great, but I can’t access the reading and the questions. It says I need to be a member of the blog. How do I do this?

    • Martin Sketchley

      If you email me, then I can send you the material if you wish. I’m unsure why you’re having some issues.

      • Helen Kirkup

        Thanks! I clicked on contact me in your about me section, but just took me back to the main page. So I don’t know how to get your email address.

        I don’t know why I’m having all these issues either!

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