What Are the Worst Parts about Universities?

Theresa Dash - author of the lesson   Theresa I December 21, 2021
General English, Speaking Lessons
B2 Upper-Intermediate
Grammar, Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
45 minutes
ESL Lesson Plan with video and images

Lesson Overview

It’s not all fun and games! In this lesson, students will dive into the challenges and negative aspects of attending college. This lesson features a comprehensive video that critically evaluates the downsides of New York University (NYU). As part of the curriculum, students will master the use of modals and enrich their linguistic abilities with vocabulary specific to this subject. The lesson is replete with interactive discussion activities and worksheets meticulously crafted for both adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Grammar: Students will enhance their understanding and usage of modal verbs such as "can," "could," and "should." They will learn how these modals express ability, possibility, permission, and advice. Exercises will include identifying correct modal usage in sentences and expressing hypothetical situations.

  • Listening: Students will improve their listening skills by watching a video about New York University and identifying specific problems mentioned by students, such as high tuition fees and feelings of burnout. They will listen for modal verbs used in context to describe abilities and limitations.

  • Speaking: Through role-playing and discussions, students will practice using modals in speaking exercises. They will simulate conversations where they express complaints about university life, discuss the pressures of academic achievement, and suggest improvements.

  • Vocabulary: Students will learn vocabulary related to university challenges, including terms like "tuition fee," "burnout," "overwhelming," and "accomplished." They will use these words in sentences and discussions to articulate specific academic and social pressures.

  • Cultural Awareness: Students should discuss the cultural aspects of university life, particularly how students in different countries perceive and handle academic and financial pressures. Discussions will include the role of universities in society and the expectation of higher education in various cultural contexts.

  • Homework: For homework, students will complete tasks that involve using modals to rewrite sentences about university life, correct misuse of modal verbs, and reflect on their personal educational experiences. They will apply new vocabulary and grammatical structures to express opinions and hypothetical situations about university education.


There are pros and cons to everything. Do you ever wonder about the not-so-glamorous things relating to college? Tuition fees, making friends, the pressure. Watch this video to learn about the worst parts of NYU, as told by the students who go there.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

autonomous [adjective]: having the freedom to govern yourself or control your own affairs
introverted [adjective]: shy, reserved, or quiet
tuition fee [noun]: money that a student pays to a university for their teaching
play hooky [idiomatic phrase]: to stay away from school or work without permission or explanation
drop out [verb]: to quit or stop going to school or college
overwhelming [adjective]: (especially of an emotion) very strong
commitment [noun]: an agreement or pledge to do something in the future
literacy [noun]: the ability to read and write
learn by heart [idiomatic phrase]: from memory
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