Talking about dating can be a lot of fun in an ESL classroom. Of course, that all depends on where you live… It might not work as well in, say, Saudi Arabia as it does in China. But in some countries at least it can provide a great platform on which to build a lesson.

With my pre-intermediate students, I recently taught a fun lesson that included the following two activities. Firstly, I had my students work in pairs to rank the qualities they seek in a partner:

What things are most important to you in a date or marriage partner? Rank the top four ideas in order of importance to you. Remember to say why you chose a particular factor.

  • ___ his or her job
  • ___ age
  • ___ hobbies
  • ___ physical appearance or looks
  • ___ money
  • ___ religion
  • ___ honesty
  • ___ sense of humor
  • ___ family background
  • ___ the person’s past life
Next, I had my students work in groups. To do this, I count them off randomly and send them to different corners of the room. This always works great as the students are on their feet and working with different people to whom they normally pair up. I told them to copy down the following:

Dating Profile

  • Sex: M/F
  • Height:
  • Weight:
  • Appearance:
  • Age:
  • Personality:
  • Occupation:
  • Smoker/Non-Smoker:
  • Favorite Music:
  • Hobbies:
  • Favorite Movie:
  • Education:

Together, they must complete the information for an imaginary friend (or a real one, if they are a fun group). After five minutes, I take their notes and give them to a different group. The new group must choose a perfect partner for this person.
Finally, the groups can tell each other why they chose this “perfect partner.”
An alternative is to send one person from each group to a new group instead of handing over the notes. This is more communicative, but might work best with a higher level.