The gig economy

Lesson plan overview

This intermediate ESL lesson looks into the gig economy. It is packed with speaking activities and will get your students talking about popular companies like UBER and AirBnB, freelance jobs and side hustles, job security and more!
The lesson starts with a speaking activity – students look at the logos of 4 different companies and talk about the services they offer and their business models.
Vocabulary: Students look at 6 sentences which introduce a few great topic-related phrases (e.g. side hustle, income stream, skill set). They match them to their definition. Then they complete a gap-fill activity and use the questions given to start a conversation with a partner.
The next vocabulary activity is a multiple choice activity dedicated to words and expressions related to job benefits and job security (e.g. paid holiday leave, redundancy package, work-life balance). After completing the activity, students use their newly-learned vocabulary to compare the benefits employees and freelancers have and discuss which of the benefits are important to them. This activity also serves as a pre-listening activity for students to predict the information they will later hear in the video.
Video: Students watch a video “What is the gig economy?“. In the first activity, they answer 4 questions about the gig economy. In the second activity, they write down the pros and cons mentioned in the video.
Idioms: Students watch the whole video again and complete the gaps with the idioms they hear (e.g. take a cut, up for grabs, have the final say). They then match the idioms to their definitions. Students then complete 4 questions with the correct idiom and ask and answer them with a partner.
In the last activity, students are divided into 2 groups and after preparing they arguments in favor of or against the gig economy, they have a debate on the topic.
Homework: 3 research topics are suggested for students to further develop their knowledge on the topic and reinforce the vocabulary seen in class.
Additional materials are provided on as well.
In addition, the set of conversation cards included in the materials package would be a great way to revise the vocabulary a few classes later or to have a conversation class on the topic.
This lesson will work great in combination with the lesson plans “The Great Resignation” and “The importance of company culture“.

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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:

1. variety 2. due to 3. social media

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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