Posted in Vocabulary Classes

Peer-Taught Phrasal Verbs

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This is a vocabulary lesson originally designed for higher levels (C1+) but the method can be adapted for any level and any set of vocabulary. The idea is that students teach each other a set of phrasal verbs, analyse them and then put them into practice in a gap-fill and a discussion.


Print out the phrasal verb cards and one copy of the worksheet for each student. Cut out the cards so that the phrasal verb is on one side and the definition and example sentences are on the other. I laminated them, as shown below, but you could easily just glue them together. Students will work in groups of 3 and teach 2 phrasal verbs each to their groups so you will need 1 set of cards for each group of 3.

Lesson Plan Word doc – Peer Taught Phrasal Verbs LP

phrasal verbs peer teaching CARDS

Peer taught phrasal verbs worksheet



Peer Teaching

Put students into groups of three and give each member of each group 2 phrasal verb cards. Give students 2 minutes to familiarise themselves with the phrasal verbs and the example sentences. Students then take it in turns to teach their phrasal verbs to their group mates, who can ask additional questions to clarify the use and meaning. Encourage the “teachers” to think of their own example sentences aside from the examples on the cards so that they can personalise it. Also, you could tell them to give their groups an opportunity to guess the meaning before they explain it. For this section I boarded some expressions:

to hazard a guess – make a guess

to put sb out of their misery – kill someone who’s suffering/give sb who is guessing something the answer

When everyone has finished move onto the next stage.

Analysis and Processing

Invite students to come to the board and write a phrasal verb they have learnt and a definition. However, they must board one of the phrasal verbs they have just learnt, NOT one of the ones they taught to their group.

When you have all 6 phrasal verbs on the board, give the students the handout and have them analyse them in their groups using the criteria on the worksheet:

Look at the phrasal verb and decide:

  1. Is the meaning easy to understand from the words?
  2. Put them in order, which one is the most useful?
  3. Which one is the easiest to use?
  4. Which one do you think is easiest to remember?
  5. Which ones could you use at home/work/school/in the street/in emails/letters?

The aim of this section is to force students to process the items at a deeper cognitive level, thus increasing the chances of retention. Feedback briefly in open class. Make a note of the ones students think are hardest to remember.

Gap-fill and Discussion

Students complete the gap-fill exercise on the handout in their groups and then ask and answer the questions.

Put the phrasal verbs in the questions:

  1. What do you do when people _________ when you’re talking? Do people in your country tend to _________ more than other nationalities? Butt/cut in
  2. What fashion trend _____________ when you were younger? Are they still in fashion today? caught on
  3. What did your parents use to do when you ___________? Were they strict or lenient? acted up
  4. How long do you think you could ________________ the internet/TV/music/your favourite food/meat? do without
  5. Have you ever been _____________? What happened to the company? If a company is in trouble, who normally gets _________ first? laid off
  6. What would you do it you saw two people ____________each other in the street? Would you step in? Why? Why not? laying into

Follow up

Test students on the phrasal verbs in the next class and see if their opinions about which are hardest to remember are true.



Barcelona based English Teacher, blogger and sometime actor and director.

9 thoughts on “Peer-Taught Phrasal Verbs

  1. Nice! This works for any vocab really doesn’t it? It’d be a good one to incorporate into a regular vocab bag cycle too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for this! I’ve spent most of my career teaching low level adults and YLs but I’ve recently taken on a CAE class so this is super helpful as I was struggling to come up with fun but challenging ways to approach vocab!

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