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ESL Advanced Lesson Plan – The Pros and Cons of Being Beautiful

Updated on April 18, 2015

Lesson Plan Contents

Is it possible to be too good-looking? Surely not! This advanced ESL lesson plan looks at the blessings and curses of being breathtakingly beautiful. Great for generating conversation in your classroom!


  • Warm Up
  • Reading
  • Vocabulary match
  • Beauty idioms
  • Discussion questions
  • Speaking activity
  • Answers

Levels: Upper-intermediate and advanced

Time: 60 minutes

ESL Advanced Lesson Plan - The Pros and Cons of Being Beautiful


Warm Up

  • Name an actor or actress that you think is drop dead gorgeous.

  • Can you think of any benefits to being beautiful?

  • How about any downsides?

Reading - The Pros and Cons of Being Beautiful

Is it possible to be too good-looking? This is an area that has interested psychologists for a long time and there is no doubt that beauty yields rewards. However, there are drawbacks to being as pretty as a picture, some that you may have never considered before. Let's see what the psychologists have to say about the pros and cons of being beautiful.


Psychologists Walker and Frevert, from the University of North Carolina, have identified a trend that they call in the field 'what is beautiful is good'. Attractive students are ranked as smarter and more competent by their teachers and professors and are awarded grades accordingly. This wave of positivity carries the dreamboats into the workplace where their confidence and self-belief presents them with better opportunities. Those who are easy on the eye will climb up the corporate ladder quicker than those who are less attractive and one study revealed that MBA students earned 10%-15% more money ($230,000 over the course of a life).

Not only do good looks give them an advantage at work, but it also helps in court. One study revealed that gorgeous defendants received more lenient sentences or no convictions at all, whilst cute plaintiffs were more likely to win their cases and big settlements.

So more job opportunities, better career advancement, higher salaries and a better day in court, but are there any downsides to being so attractive?


Let's revisit the scenario at work. Though handsome men are regarded as better leaders, this is not the case for beautiful women, who are less likely to be found in high-level jobs. And in the interview stage of a job, if an interviewer of the same sex considers you to be more attractive than he/she, it is less likely that you will be hired.

Now let's consider relationships. There are men who find really beautiful women intimidating, so it can be more difficult than you think for attractive people to start a relationship. The online dating website OKCupid has confirmed this. They explain that if a member sees a gorgeous person on the site, they think that the beauty will receive a lot of messages and so they do not humiliate themselves by contacting that person. People looking for love are more likely to choose someone who has less competition.

Being beautiful might not be such an open-and-shut case as you think. We expect attractive people to be happier, more competent and successful, and to have more fulfilling marriages and social lives, but that's not always the case. Attractive people have to put up with envy and scorn from not so attractive people, dates that are shallow, insecurity from partners and inflated egos. So is beauty a curse or a blessing? Well, maybe a bit of both.

Adapted from:

Discussion Questions

  1. Is there anything you disagree with in the article?

  2. Do you think attractive students are more intelligent, more social, less lonely, happier?

  3. Describe the features of a person who you think is very good-looking.

  4. Did you ever feel threatened or intimidated by a beautiful person?

  5. Did you ever think that good-looking people have it easy?

  6. If you were walking down the street and an extraordinarily beautiful person was walking towards you, would you move further away from them on the footpath?

  7. If you were an interviewer and had just finished interviewing a good candidate of average looks (opposite sex) and a good candidate with exceptional looks (same sex), who would you choose?

  8. In the article it mentions a study where participants gave the beautiful person more lenient sentences. However, in a further experiment, a 'jury' was shown a picture of a gorgeous defendant and an average defendant, and told that both had seduced a man to cheat him out of his money. The 'jury' punished the beautiful woman more harshly than the average woman. Why do you think this happened?

  9. If you could change one feature about yourself, what would it be?

  10. Is beauty only skin deep?

  11. What do you value more than physical appearance?

  12. Do you think different cultures have a different interpretation of beauty? Can you think of any examples?

Audrey Hepburn


Speaking Activity

Look at the points below. Develop the themes, discuss the pros and cons.

  • Everybody looks at you.

  • Free drinks and gifts.

  • Plenty of dates/shallow dates

  • Confidence/big ego

  • Your face can get you a job/your looks will not last.

  • You feel special/you bore easily.

  • Easy to attract attention in a social setting.

  • Friends.

  • Compliments.

Idioms and expressions

Match the idioms with the definitions and then do the gap fill.

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Beauty is only skin-deep.

  • Beauty sleep.

  • The beauty of something.

  1. A person who is very beautiful might not have a nice personality.

  2. A quality that makes some good or of value.

  3. Different people have different opinions about what is beautiful.

  4. The sleep you need.

Male Model


Gap Fill

Insert the beauty idioms into the gaps, changing the form where necessary.

  1. Jessica: He so good-looking, but he has a rotten personality. Barbara: I completely agree! It's true what they say - _____________________.

  2. Oh my goodness! Is that the right time? I really need to go home and get my ________________.

  3. That's the _______________ working from home – no commute to work!

  4. I can't believe you bought that old-fashioned dress for the party! Oh well, I guess __________________________.

Underline Activity

Underline all the words and phrases that mean good-looking in the article.

Vocabulary Match – Match the words and phrases with their definitions.

A person who brings a case against someone in court.
inflated egos
Something good or something bad.
blessing or a curse
Overconfident or arrogant.
To cause or create.
A feeling of contempt for someone.
Lacking intellectual or mental depth.
Give someone a place in the grading system.
A desire to have something that someone else possesses.
Perfectly simple or obvious.
More merciful or tolerant that was expected.
In a way that is appropriate to the circumstances.

Answers - The Pros and Cons of Being Beautiful

Underline all the words and phrases that mean good-looking in the article.

  • drop dead gorgeous

  • beautiful

  • good-looking

  • as pretty as a picture

  • Attractive

  • dreamboats

  • easy on the eye

  • Gorgeous

  • cute

  • handsome

  • beauty

Vocabulary Match

A person who brings a case against someone in court - plaintiffs

Something good or something bad -blessing or a curse

Overconfident or arrogant - inflated egos

To cause or create - yields

A feeling of contempt for someone - scorn

Lacking intellectual or mental depth - shallow

Give someone a place in the grading system - ranked

A desire to have something that someone else possesses -envy

Perfectly simple or obvious - open-and-shut

Disadvantages - drawbacks

More merciful or tolerant that was expected - lenient

In a way that is appropriate to the circumstances - accordingly

Idioms and expressions

A person who is very beautiful might not have a nice personality - Beauty is only skin-deep.

A quality that makes some good or of value - The beauty of something.

Different people have different opinions about what is beautiful - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The sleep you need - Beauty sleep.

Gap Fill

  1. Beauty is only skin-deep.
  2. Beauty sleep.
  3. The beauty of something.
  4. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

© 2015 Muttface


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    • Muttface profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Portugal

      Thanks for reading Curiosity2015!

    • Curiosity2015 profile image


      4 years ago

      An excellent, well researched topic for a lesson plan for an advanced English lesson, brilliant choice of vocabulary. Topic can be applied to any language learning/teaching. When I have a chance, I will use it in my teaching practice. Thank you for posting.


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