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It’s All in Your Heart: Idioms with the Word ‘Heart’

Level: ESL High-Intermediate
Objective: discuss the metaphorical uses of the word ‘heart’
Teacher Notes:
Write 2 sentences on the board:
(1) The doctor will now listen to to your heart.

(2) Just listen to your heart and study art, not medicine; even if your parents don’t approve of it.
Discuss the literal (1) and metaphorical (2) meaning of ‘listen to your heart’. In (2) the expression means ‘trust your heart because it can guide you and help make a right decision”.
Put students in pairs/small groups and have them discuss the questions below:
(1) Does your heart ever speak to you? What messages does it send? (warning, distress, caution, calmness, peacefulness). Do you take these messages seriously?
(2) When you have to make a decision, do you listen to your heart or brain? Do they sometimes contradict each other?
(3) In situations that are not health-related, when does you heart:


feel heavy?



skip a beat?



bleed for someone? (note 2 usages: My heart bleeds for the orphaned children (sympathy/sadness) vs. They say they can’t afford the third car - my heart bleeds for them. (humorous - I certainly don’t feel sadness about that)).


swell with pride?
(Think about being rejected/in love/scared/disappointed/excited/nervous/proud, feeling sympathy/sadness/uncertainty/admiration/stress/anxiety).
Hand out the worksheet. Students find a definition that best explains the meanings of the bolded idioms in Finding Definitions.
Wrap up with Conversation Questions.

Student Handout

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ESL Worksheet It’s All in Your Heart Idioms with the Word Heart.pdf

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