Languages › English as a Second Language Presidential Elections: ESL Lesson Share Flipboard Email Print Andrew Rich / Getty Images English as a Second Language Resources for Teachers Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Writing Skills Reading Comprehension Grammar Business English By Kenneth Beare English as a Second Language (ESL) Expert TESOL Diploma, Trinity College London M.A., Music Performance, Cologne University of Music B.A., Vocal Performance, Eastman School of Music Kenneth Beare is an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and course developer with over three decades of teaching experience. our editorial process Kenneth Beare Updated January 27, 2020 It's the presidential election season in the United States and the topic is quite popular in classes around the country. Discussing the presidential election can cover a wide range of topics beyond just the two candidates. For example, you might discuss and explain the U.S. electoral college and process of collecting and counting votes. Advanced level classes might find the topic especially interesting as they can bring in observations and comparisons from their own electoral systems. Here are some suggestions and short activities that you can use in class to focus on the election. I've put them in the order in which I'd present the exercises in class in order to build up vocabulary. However, each exercise could certainly be done as a standalone activity. Definition Match-Up Match the key vocabulary concerning elections to the definition. Terms attack adscandidatedebatedelegateElectoral Collegeelectoral voteparty conventionparty platformpolitical partypopular votepresidential nomineeprimary electionregistered voterslogansound bitestump speechswing statethird partyto electto nominatevoter turnoutvoting booth Definitions choose who will be the next presidenta state which does not typically vote either Republican or Democrat but 'swings' back and forth between the partiesa short phrase which is used to encourage voters to support a candidatea political party which is neither Republican nor Democratthe person who runs for president the person who is chosen by the party to run for presidentan election to decide who will be chosen by the party a representative from a state who can vote at the primary conventiona gathering of a political party to choose a candidate and vote on other issues important to the partya standard speech that is used repeatedly during a campaignadvertising which is aggressive and tries to hurt the other candidatea short phrase which sums up an opinion or fact and is repeated throughout the mediahow many people vote in the election, usually expressed in a percentagethe group of state representatives which cast the electoral votea vote by someone in the Electoral College for the votethe number of people who vote for the president Conversation Questions Here are some questions to get the conversation going. These questions use the vocabulary in the match up to help start using the new vocabulary actively. Which parties have candidates?Who are the nominees? Have you seen a presidential debate?How do presidential elections differ from the US election in your country?Do voters have to register in your country?What's voter turnout like in your country?Do you understand the difference between the Electoral college and the popular vote?What do you think are the main "planks" in each party's platform?Which candidate appeals to you? Why? Electoral Points of View In this day and age of media sound bites, it can be a helpful exercise to remind students that media coverage almost has its own point-of-view despite claims of objectivity. Ask students to try to find examples of articles that are biased from both the left and the right, as well as from a neutral point of view. Have students find an example of a biased Republican and Democratic news report or article.Ask students to underline the biased opinions.Each student should explain how the opinion is biased. Questions that can't help include: Does the blog post represent a specific point of view? Does the author appeal to the emotions or rely on statistics? How does the writer try to persuade the reader of his or her point of view? Etc. Ask students to write a short blog post or paragraph presenting either candidate from a biased point of view. Encourage them to exaggerate!As a class, discuss what types of signs they look for when looking for bias. Student Debate For more advanced classes, ask students to debate the issues being presented as themes of the election. Students should base their arguments on how they think each candidate would address the issues. Student Polling Activity A simple exercise: ask students to vote for either candidate and count the votes. The results may surprise everyone!