10 Steps to Happiness: speaking activity

10-STEPS-TO-HAPPINESS-SPEAKING-ACTIVITY10 steps to happiness speaking activity offers students the opportunity to discuss what makes people happy and what we should do less or more of in order to become happier. This brief activity is a great warm-up for conversation classes with teenage or adult students, as well as a great addition to any class on the topic of happiness or lifestyle. It is suitable for levels pre-intermediate and above. I got the idea for this activity and its content after seeing a great sketchnote by Sylvia Duckworth.

The Task

Put the topic of this activity, 10 Steps to Happiness, on the board and ask your students what they understand by this. Tell your students they will see a list of 20 verbs and they need to divide them into two groups; LESS and MORE. LESS contains the actions we don’t need in our lives to be happy; MORE is the list of verbs which can increase our happiness.

Distribute the worksheets and let your students work in pairs or individually to make two lists. Then, ask them to combine the verbs to make sentences. Use LOVE and HATE as the easiest example: Hate less, love more. Tell your students that there are no right or wrong answers here as such, however, some sentences are more obvious and make more sense than the others. Check your students’ answers with the whole class, put their suggestions on the board and finally reveal the original list, preferably by showing the sketchnote.

Ask your students to discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups:

  1. Which are the most important 3 steps from the list?
  2. Would you add/delete anything from the list?
  3. Are some steps more important for your personal/professional life?
  4. Do you follow any of the steps from the list? If so, how?
  5. Would it be easy to stick to a list like this?

Hold a whole-class discussion at the end of the activity, paying attention to questions which your students had debated the longest (in my experience, those usually are 1,2, and 3).

Are you interested in more speaking activities to hold engaging discussions with your students? Take a look at Room 101 lesson plan and Moral Dilemmas speaking activity.

Personal Experience

I knew I would like to use Sylvia Duckworth’s sketchnote in class the minute saw it. The topic of happiness is something we all find relevant and it helps trigger engaging and interesting class discussions. Both my adult and teenage groups participated in this activity with interest and contributed fantastic insights to the discussion about achieving happiness.


10 steps to happiness


    • Seems like a great combo. Good luck with your class and thank you for commenting!

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