Be the Idiot in the Room

Tom Panas - reviewer of the lesson   Tom | January 25, 2023
General English, Business English, Speaking Lessons
Work, Intelligence
B2 Upper-Intermediate, C1 Advanced
Mixed Grammar
Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
30 minutes
Illustration portraying a group of students engaged in a lively discussion about knowledge and intelligence during an ESL lesson online..

Lesson Overview

Do you believe there is value in being an idiot? In this lessson, students will discuss knowledge and intelligence. This lesson features a video of Simon Sinek explaining how asking a lot of questions can help something complicated become very simple. Students will learn and practice vocabulary and idioms relating to the topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Listening: Students will develop their listening skills by engaging with a video featuring Simon Sinek discussing the value of admitting ignorance in complex situations. They will focus on understanding his explanations enhancing their ability to follow detailed stories and explanations in English.

  • Speaking: Students will participate in discussions about the scenarios where admitting lack of knowledge could be beneficial. They will use phrases and vocabulary introduced in the lesson to express their thoughts on knowledge and intelligence, share personal experiences, and respond to others' opinions.

  • Vocabulary: The lesson will introduce vocabulary related to intelligence and admitting ignorance, including terms such as "smart cookie," "whiz kid," "mover and shaker," and idioms like "pick your brain." These terms will be used in various activities to enhance students’ ability to discuss topics related to intelligence effectively.

  • Homework: Learners will complete exercises to reinforce vocabulary and concepts from the class. They will match phrases to their correct definitions, fill in blanks with appropriate vocabulary, and choose the correct options in sentences related to understanding and admitting ignorance. These tasks will ensure a deeper understanding of the lesson's key concepts and vocabulary.


Would you feel uncomfortable being the idiot in the room? Have you ever been nervous about admitting something you didn’t know? Watch this video of an interview with Simon Sinek in which he explains the value of being an idiot.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

pick your brain [idiom]: to obtain ideas or information from someone
astute [adjective]: having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one's advantage; clever or intelligent
egghead [noun]: a person who is highly academic or studious; an intellectual
ingenious [adjective]: (of a person) clever, original, and inventive
quick-witted [adjective]: showing or characterized by an ability to think or respond quickly and effectively
whiz kid [noun]: a young person who is outstandingly skillful or successful at something
armchair expert [noun]: a person who knows a lot about a given subject but has no real experience or understanding of it
mover and shaker [noun]: a person who is influential and wants to make big changes
go-getter [noun]: a person who is determined and eager to be successful
book smart [adjective]: having knowledge obtained by reading and studying, rather than by practical experience
street smart [adjective]: having enough experience and knowledge about life in the city to be able to deal with difficult or dangerous situations
flippant [adjective]: lacking proper respect or seriousness
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