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English lesson plan from Learn Hot English

Is performance art really art?

Level: Upper Intermediate (B2)
Audio: Yes

Art is a great topic for any class and for English lesson plans. Art is all around us, and everyone has their own opinion about what art is and what it means to them. But not all art is the same. In this fantastic English lesson plan, students will look at five examples of performance art.

A work of performance art only lasts as long as… the performance. As Erik Hokanson (the curator of Grace Exhibition Space) once said, “It’s the action that’s the art, not so much the physical result.” Documentation of the performance (such as a photo or a video) may survive, but that’s all.

This practical lesson will get your students using lots of useful language and all the essential skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Please click below for a PDF with the Teacher’s Notes, Resource Sheet and English Lesson Plan.



Top tips

 Other levels

Although we’ve set this lesson at a certain level, you could easily use it with other students too. For example, for higher-level students, you could make it more difficult by offering less support through the Pre-listening activities, or by getting them to listen to it completely and then answer the comprehension questions.

Or, for lower-level students, you could help them with any new words, do more pre-listening or reading activities, or stop the audio more frequently and check their understanding.


For students with listening difficulties, use our “stop-start” method. This involves playing small sections of the audio file for students to try to capture the meaning of.

Remember, as part of the Learn Hot English method, we recommend three rounds of listening / viewing:

  1. Listen once without stopping for a general understanding (listening for gist).
  2. Then, listen again to answer comprehension questions, this time pausing if/when necessary.
  3. Finally, listen again but this time read the script at the same time.


Remind students that any discussion questions are simply a means to get them speaking. Students are free to invent information if necessary, or if they think the question is too “personal”. The questions are simply there to get students speaking. The actual information is secondary.

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