ESL conversation lesson on traveling: fresh ideas
Conversation Lesson: Travel
“Not all classrooms have four walls”
Put that on the whiteboard without an introduction, and ask students to briefly discuss what it means to them. Get feedback asking students to explain their train of thought. Establish that the lessons is about travel and then ask students to discuss briefly this: “Travel is the greatest form of education”.
That kick start should give you the momentum you and the students in particular need to progress through this lesson. We need to keep a topic like this fresh because it’s covered quite often and so students have already discussed it many times and will get bored if they are talking about the same stuff over and over again. In this lesson idea I’ll try to offer some fresh ideas that hopefully can help freshen things up on the travel front.
Start by posing these questions:
- How often do you travel by air, rail, road, and sea?
- What do you enjoy about traveling? What don’t you enjoy?
- Put the following in order of importance to you when you travel.
Comfort Safety Price Reliability Speed
- Does the order change for different types of travel?
Monitor students and make sure they discuss what aspects of travel are not so enjoyable like maybe the actual part of traveling to the destination, or packing for a trip etc. Ask students to justify their reason for a particular order of importance they prefer when traveling. For the first question you can dig deeper by asking students to discuss how are the condition of the roads and rail service in their country and if it has improved.
Ask students in your ESL class to brainstorm as many different types of travel they can think of and make a list. Get their list from a representative of each group. The list should be quite long. Surprisingly, in my experience, High School students have a difficulty coming up with many different kinds of trips. Help them along by eliciting any from this list I’ve compiled: all-inclusive vacation, cruise, sailing trip, camping, trekking/hiking/climbing, city sightseeing, adventure holidays, road trip, hitchhiking, couch surfing, house swap, skiing holiday, organized camping, beach holiday, bike trip, agro tourism, backpacking, Disney land, camp. Boom, as you can see tons of ideas, maybe you got more? Please comment below with your ideas….
Ask students to discuss preferences. Afterwards:
Post this on the projector or whiteboard:
To keep possessions to a minimum
To be more polite with strangers
To rise to a challenge
To have a more relaxed lifestyle
To save money
To plan carefully
To be more aware of the natural world
To be prepared to change an arrangement
Then ask students these questions:
- In what circumstances could people learn these things when traveling?
- Which are the most important lessons, in your view?
I realize there is only speaking here, hence the heading “conversation lesson”. However here is some vocabulary you incorporate in the lesson as you see fit:
- Not enough leg_________
- Lost or delayed_________
- Long___________ at check-in
- Poor quality__________ and drink
- No baggage____________ available
- Overbooking of___________
- Flight delays and ____________
- ___________ -lag
Match the words which have the same meaning, which is American and which is British:
City centre life
Carry-on baggage public toilet
One way schedule
Return economy class
Rest room parking lot
Coach class hand luggage
Timetable round trip
Car park downtown
Additional words: be blown away by, on the spur of the moment, reserve (n), savor, select (adj), and substitute (n), tag along, run the risk of, tricky situation, to take off work, to soak up the atmosphere, to get away
You can incorporate these words into the lesson as you see fit, pre-teach some of these and get students to use them etc.
Finally, an old edition of Advanced CAE expert has a nice reading that I have included here, that you can use. Though it is advanced you could just take one of the 4 short texts instead of all of them and ask general comprehension questions instead of very specific ones. Emphasize general understanding if your students’ English level is a bit lower. If they are Upper-intermediate or higher you can do this as a jig-saw reading and have students tell their partners what their text is about. Cover unknown vocabulary as you see fit.
There’s a great travel text that I have posted on the reading section of the website that is also worth a read and maybe even worth incorporating into a lesson as well. Scroll down and click on the “Seek your adventure, travel the world” article on the right-hand column.
That’s it. Hope it helps. Welcoming comments on this lesson idea if you have any additional ideas that can freshen up this enjoyable topic with some variety. Bon voyage for now peeps. Stay tuned….