Perfectionism vs progress

Lesson plan overview

This Business English lesson plan is dedicated to the topic of perfectionism. Students will learn expressions to talk about perfectionism, productivity and progress, and discuss different aspects of being a perfectionist. You can combine this lesson with the following worksheets: “How to smash distractions”, “Productivity and AI tools” and “Phrasal verbs: Job performance“, and “Phrasal verbs: time management

Speaking: The lesson starts with a few speaking activities. First, students look at common weaknesses people mention at job interviews and discuss how each one might be problematic. Next, students look at 4 situations of people being perfectionists in different areas in their lives and discuss the pros and cons of being a perfectionist in each one. Lastly, students complete a survey about their perfectionist tendencies.

Vocabulary: Students complete expressions that were included in the previous activity (e.g. to strive for excellence, to beat yourself up, to sweat over the small stuff, trial and error, to get caught up in minor details). As a practice activity, students complete 4 sentences with the correct expression. Then, they complete 5 sentences with their own ideas and discuss them in pairs or small groups.

Listening: Students watch a video called The Perfectionist Trap: How To Set High Standards Without Being A Perfectionist and answer 5 questions. After that they engage in a post-listening discussion.

Vocabulary review: Finally, as a review activity, students are asked to complete 7 sentences with the correct preposition.

Use the conversation cards for additional speaking practice and to review the vocabulary from this lesson.

You can combine this lesson with other ESL lessons about productivity, concentration, and healthy habits.

Unlock these resources with one of our subscription plans

Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

Or do you see every mistake as a huge failure instead of an important life lesson?
They feel like they’re lacking in some way, and that mistakes are unacceptable.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

Share this lesson plan with someone who will find it useful

0 0 votes
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments