Going to the Doctor: ESL Lesson Plan [Free Download]

Introduction

Health is a universal concern and navigating healthcare can be one of the most important yet challenging experiences in a new language or country. Understanding and effectively communicating health needs in English is a vital skill for English learners, particularly for those living in English-speaking environments.

going to the doctor esl lesson plan

This lesson plan, “Going to the Doctor,” is designed specifically to assist English as a Second Language (ESL) students in developing the vocabulary and communication skills necessary to interact effectively with healthcare professionals. By exploring the different steps involved in a typical doctor’s visit and introducing key health-related vocabulary, this lesson aims to familiarize students with the healthcare process and provide them with the confidence to express health concerns and understand medical advice in English.

Through a series of well-structured activities including dialogue practice, role-play scenarios, and an interactive quiz, students will be engaged in the learning process, putting into practice what they’ve learned, and making the lesson’s content relevant and memorable.

By the end of this lesson, students will be well-equipped to handle a visit to the doctor in English, fostering their overall language competence and confidence.

Going to the doctor - ESL LESSON PLAN (Download) (1207 downloads )

Objective

Students will be able to understand and use medical and health vocabulary, converse effectively with healthcare professionals, and comprehend the purpose and process of a doctor’s appointment.

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Duration

Approximately 60 minutes.

Materials

  1. Whiteboard & markers
  2. Handout with dialogues and vocabulary
  3. Role-play scenarios cards
  4. Images or flashcards related to the topic

Warm-Up (10 minutes)

Vocabulary Introduction

Introduce the necessary vocabulary to the students. Use images or flashcards to explain words related to health and doctor visits. Vocabulary might include:

  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Patient
  • Appointment
  • Prescription
  • Symptoms
  • Pain
  • Examination
  • Check-up
  • Vaccine

Check comprehension by asking students to match the words with images or descriptions.

Presentation (15 minutes)

Purpose of Visiting a Doctor

Explain the reasons people visit doctors: preventative care, diagnosing and treating illness, managing chronic conditions, etc. Discuss the importance of regular check-ups and vaccinations.

The Process of a Doctor’s Visit

Explain the steps typically involved in a doctor’s visit:

  1. Making an appointment
  2. Checking in at the reception
  3. Describing symptoms to the nurse or doctor
  4. Examination by the doctor
  5. Receiving a diagnosis or treatment plan
  6. Collecting a prescription, if necessary

Practice (20 minutes)

Dialogue Practice

Provide a handout with dialogues illustrating a typical interaction between a patient and a doctor. Read through the dialogues as a class, clarifying any difficult phrases or expressions.

Dialogue might include useful phrases like:

  • “I would like to make an appointment.”
  • “What seems to be the problem?”
  • “I’ve been feeling sick for a few days.”
  • “It hurts when I…”
  • “You need to take this medication twice a day.”

Split the class into pairs and have them practice the dialogue, swapping roles halfway through.

Role-play Activity

Prepare role-play scenario cards describing different health issues (e.g., a cold, a sprained ankle, a stomachache). Split students into pairs and distribute the role-play cards. One student in each pair will play the patient and the other the doctor. The ‘patient’ will explain their ‘symptoms’, and the ‘doctor’ will ‘diagnose’ the issue and provide advice or ‘prescription’. Encourage students to use the vocabulary and phrases they’ve learned.

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Production (10 minutes)

Interactive Quiz

Prepare a quiz based on the lesson’s content to reinforce students’ understanding of the vocabulary and the process of going to the doctor. Questions might include:

  • “What should you say when making an appointment?”
  • “What is a prescription?”
  • “What might a doctor say when examining a patient?”

Students can work in groups to answer the questions.

Wrap-Up (5 minutes)

Reflection

End the lesson by encouraging students to share their experiences of going to the doctor in their home country and compare them with what they’ve learned about the process in English-speaking countries. Ask them to reflect on the new vocabulary they’ve learned, and how it might help them in real-life situations.


In this lesson, students have the opportunity to build their medical vocabulary, understand the purpose and process of visiting a doctor, and practice their conversational skills in a relevant context. By integrating interactive and engaging activities, this lesson supports learners in becoming more comfortable and confident when going to the doctor in English-speaking environments.