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Writing a letter of complaint | ESL/EFL lesson plan

The focus of the lesson: Developing functional literacy
Size of the class: 20 students
Age: 18–36 years old
Level: Intermediate/B1
Length of the lesson: 90 minutes


Since the lesson is all about complaints a good lead-in will be asking students a few questions related to this topic. People like to complain, sometimes without a real reason.


Below is a letter sent by one friend of mine who rented a flat in Ho Chi Minh City. The letter is modified to meet the lesson requirements.

ESL lesson plan - writing a letter of complaint

Task 1

Skim the letter to get an idea of the topic and write in the notebook what the letter is about.


The teacher asks students to underline all the vocabulary words are unknown then check the meaning of unknown words in your dictionary or ask the teacher. Read the letter again.

Matching parts of the letter with their correspondent functions

Below is a list of functions. Read the list of functions then write a number next to the parts of the letter which match these functions.

Answering questions

Read the letter again and answer the following questions in written form:

Making notes before writing a letter of complaint

Before writing your own letter, make notes on a piece of paper:

Writing a draft of the letter

Once the notes are written on a piece of paper students can start working on the first draft of the letter. Below is a list of words and expressions your students might find helpful in completing the task.

ESL lesson plan - writing a letter of complaint

Writing the final draft

Once the first draft is completed students discuss it in small groups, with whole class or with the teacher then write the final draft.

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