The Mystery of Edwin Drood ESL Lesson Plan [Free PDF]


The Mystery of Edwin Drood ESL Lesson Plan offers a captivating opportunity for students to explore classic English literature while improving their English language skills. This lesson plan is designed to engage students in vocabulary building, critical thinking, and language comprehension through the exploration of Charles Dickens’ unfinished mystery novel. By delving into the narrative, students can enhance their reading and writing abilities as well as develop their analytical and discussion skills within an ESL classroom setting. The subject matter provides an enriching context for language learning and encourages students to actively participate in elucidating the enigmatic story of Edwin Drood.

Vocabulary Building


something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain
to fascinate, captivate, or arouse curiosity
a person thought to be guilty of a crime or offense
(verb) provide with a key to understanding; (noun) evidence used to solve a problem or mystery
an investigator, typically either a member of the police force or a private individual.

Contextual Usage

1. The **mystery** behind Edwin Drood’s disappearance intrigued the readers until the very end.
2. The novel is full of **clues** that the students can use to analyze and interpret the story.
3. Mr. Jasper was always considered as the prime **suspect** in Edwin’s disappearance.
4. The students can take on roles as amateur **detectives**, discussing and theorizing about what happened to Edwin Drood.

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ESL Warm-up Activity

To capture students’ attention and set the tone for the lesson, start with a “Clue Hunt” activity. Create clues related to different elements of the novel, such as characters, settings, or plot points. Place these clues around the classroom or in various locations if conducted outdoors. Divide students into small groups and provide them with the first clue. Each clue should lead to the next until they solve all of them, encouraging teamwork and engagement while incorporating language related to The Mystery of Edwin Drood into the warm-up activity.

Main ESL Lesson Activities

Vocabulary Activity: Character Descriptions

In this activity, students will work in pairs to describe the main characters from The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Each pair will be assigned a character and given a set of descriptive vocabulary words. They will use these words to create detailed descriptions of their assigned character, incorporating adjectives, physical appearance, and personality traits. Once the descriptions are complete, each pair will present their character description to the class.

Listening Exercise: Audio Adaptation Analysis

Students will listen to an audio adaptation of a key scene from The Mystery of Edwin Drood and take notes on important dialogue, tone of voice, and any background sounds or music. After listening, they will discuss in pairs how the audio version compares to their own mental images created while reading the text. This activity allows for group discussions about interpretations and improves listening skills.

Roleplay: Suspect Interrogations

Divide students into groups with each group being a panel investigating different characters as suspects in Edwin Drood’s disappearance. Each member takes on a role such as police officer or detective and prepares questions based on evidence from the novel. They then conduct mock interrogations focusing on asking questions using specific vocabulary related to crime investigation.

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Reading and Writing Task: Plot Continuation

Keeping in mind that The Mystery of Edwin Drood is an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, students can work individually or in pairs to write their own conclusion or continuation for the story using creative writing skills learned during this lesson plan. Group discussions can be held after completion where each student presents their continuation and explains their choices.

ESL Homework Assignment

For homework, students are encouraged to write a book review of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, focusing on the vocabulary used in the novel and its impact on the overall reading experience. Additionally, they can prepare a short presentation discussing their favorite character and why they find them intriguing. This assignment not only reinforces vocabulary comprehension but also enables students to engage critically with the text outside of class.



The ESL lesson plan on The Mystery of Edwin Drood has provided an opportunity for students to engage with classic literature and simultaneously enhance their language skills. Through various activities, students have explored vocabulary, listening, roleplay, and writing tasks related to the novel, fostering a comprehensive understanding of the text.


Students are encouraged to reflect on how delving into The Mystery of Edwin Drood has improved their language development. They should consider how the vocabulary building exercises have enriched their word usage and comprehension while recognizing the implications of analyzing literature in a new language. By reflecting on these elements, students can better appreciate the value of such activities in advancing their English language proficiency.

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Why this topic is great for ESL learning

Enhanced Language Skills

The Mystery of Edwin Drood presents a rich and complex narrative, offering ample opportunities for ESL students to expand their vocabulary, improve listening and comprehension skills, and engage in language activities that foster critical thinking and analysis.

Cultural Appreciation

Exploring classic literature like The Mystery of Edwin Drood provides ESL students with insight into the cultural context of English-speaking countries, promoting a deeper understanding of the language’s nuances and cultural references.

Captivating Content

The intriguing plot and compelling characters within The Mystery of Edwin Drood captivate students’ interest, motivating them to actively participate in discussions, role-play activities, writing tasks, and more. This engagement contributes to an enjoyable learning experience.