Room 101 lesson plan

Room 101 lesson plan is a perfect fit for more advanced and older students who need more speaking practice. Room 101 lesson plan combines listening, vocabulary practice and speaking on the topic of the things that wind us up. Room 101 is a concept first introduced by George Orwell in his novel 1984, as a place containing people’s worst nightmares. To give the idea a more positive ring, this lesson plan introduces Room 101 as a place where the things we find annoying are put away and eliminated from our lives.Room 101 lesson plan works great with small and bigger groups of ESL learners, levels upper-intermediate and advanced.

The Task

Step 1 Introduction

Start the lesson by introducing three things which you personally find annoying and write them on the board. It might be anything, I usually put the following on the board:

  • alarm clocks
  • duck face
  • noisy neighbours

Once I show this list to my students, I ask them to figure out what all these things have in common (they drive me up the wall). Then, I introduce the concept of the Room 101, a place where we can condemn whatever we find annoying.

Step 2 Listening

The video students are supposed to watch is a short segment from a BBC TV show, Room 101, where famous guests present their pet hates. The celebrity guest in the video is Roisin Conaty, a comedian.

Distribute the worksheets and ask your students to answer 4 questions while watching the video. Play it twice, as it is quite short.

Step 3 Vocabulary

Ask your students whether they find selfies equally unnerving. Try to elicit from them other ways in which they can say they find something annoying ( I hate …, I can’t stand …, I dislike…, I think … is extremely annoying/ irritating) and see whether some of the expressions from the handout come up during this brainstorming session.

Move on to the vocabulary exercise from the worksheet. Ask your students to work in pairs / individually to match halves of expressions about anger. Check the answers and move on to the gap filling exercise. Tell your students that sometimes there is more than one correct option to be put in the gap.

Review the expressions by asking questions:

Maria, is there anything that drives you up the wall?

Ana, do you have a short fuse? When?

When was the last time something or somebody wound you up?

Would you fly off the handle if …?

Step 4 Speaking practice

Tell your students it is their turn to consign whatever makes their blood boil to Room 101. Ask them to work in pairs/ small groups and fill in four squares on their worksheets. Remind them they should also come up with a justification for each of their pet hates and make it powerful enough to persuade their partner to agree with them.

Depending on the class size, you might check the answers with the whole group or have a pyramid discussion: ask 2 pairs to discuss their answers together in a group of 4 to see whether they share some dislikes, and then reveal their answers to the class.

While your students are sharing their choices, write several on the board, and then hold a vote to see which four should be consigned to oblivion in Room 101 forever. Encourage your students to use the expressions they learned earlier to express their opinions / ask them to repeat the sentence using a given expression.

Step 5 Follow-up

A possible follow-up involves asking your students to write a short essay at home (140-160 words) answering the question:

Why would the world be a better place if ………….. were put in Room 101

If you are looking for more engaging lesson plans for your FCE and CAE students check out this class about TV series and this one about advertising.

Personal Experience

Room 101 lesson plan creates  a good opportunity for students to practice persuasion, agreeing, and disagreeing; skills which are necessary to pass the speaking part of FCE and CAE exams. My students have found this class really engaging and fun, and an unusual opportunity to vent about whatever they find annoying. The best part of this lesson is that it does not leave anybody indifferent, as people generally tend to have some pet hates. Even if some students can’t think of anything that really annoys them, they can at least agree / disagree with their classmates’ ideas and participate in the discussion.


ROOM 101


  1. I was just making notes on creating a room 101 lesson plan when I thought I’d just do a Google search. I came across your lesson plan. You beat me to it. I’m just over 2 years too late. Great plan, nice and easy to follow.

    • Great Luke, glad I could help. Hope the class goes well. Thank you for your comment!

  2. OMG Gosia, I just started a new job teaching very small groups of adults at a consulting company and your page is a goldmine. Thank you so much for sharing all of these fab lessons you have put together. I am sure my students will get a lot out of them! Jankuye bardzo, slonecko!

    • Hi Emily, that’s wonderful to hear! I hope both you and your students enjoy the lessons.
      Nie ma za co 🙂

  3. I was going to come up with a lesson plan around room 101 – you have smashed it out of the park! Thanks so much.

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