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Teach ESL Students About Traveling

written by: Audrey Alleyne • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 1/5/2012

This travel ESL lesson not only deals with places in a town but also giving and receiving directions. Students also learn ordinal numbers and how to talk about distance and location. It is a lesson for beginners.

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    Tourist Information Sign In England Since they typically come from another country, travel is something with which virtually all ESL students are familiar. Use this commonground to help beginning learners familiarize themselves with common words and phrases.

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    Role Play

    Role-play is a tremendous asset in helping students to learn a new language. In the classroom, a travel and tourism ESL lesson will enable students to move around and enjoy learning new vocabulary while at play. Teach your students key vocabulary words and expressions for providing directions. Divide them into groups of two or four over a period of three lessons and instruct them to pretend that they are going on vacation and visiting a certain town. At the end of those lessons, they should feel confident, especially if they are immigrants, to move about in their new surroundings and ask directions if necessary.

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    Some Expressions For Giving Directions

    Here are some expressions with which they can role-play in answer to:

    Excuse me Sir/Madam, how do I get to …..?

    • It is straight ahead/Go straight ahead.
    • It is the first road on the left
    • It is on the right/Turn right.
    • Take the first road on the left
    • It is the second road on the right.
    • Take the second road on the right.
    • It is the third road on the left
    • Take the third road on your left.
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    Distance and Place Names

    In addition to ordinal numbers, they can also revise cardinal numbers and learn measurements of distance by asking questions like:

    How far away is it?

    and receving answers such as:

    • One mile
    • Twenty miles
    • About one hundred feet
    • Half a mile
    • Four blocks north of here

    Here are the names of some places they can ask for in the town:

    • the museum
    • the cathedral
    • the castle
    • the fish market
    • the vegetable market
    • the Tourism Office
    • the railway station
    • the port
    • the pharmacy
    • the hospital
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    Place Locations

    Here are some expressions to indicate location:

    • next to
    • opposite
    • behind
    • in between
    • at the corner of/around the corner from
    • on the other side
    • in front of
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    Try This Skit

    Here is a simple skit students can perform:

    You are in a park in the city center, when a passerby stops you and asks:

    Passerby: Excuse me Sir/Miss. How do I get to the port?

    You: The port, it is behind the Convention Center and opposite the Tourism office.

    Passerby: Thank you very much; and where is the Convention Center?

    You: It’s next to the Town Hall and opposite the Police Station.

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    Make Use of Travel Magazines

    To enhance this travel ESL lesson, distribute a few travel magazines among the students and have them select articles to read to the class. This will help in gaining new vocabulary and encourage conversation, as they can discuss what countries they have been to and places they have visited. They can also talk about their own countries. Students usually feel comfortable talking about subjects with which they are familiar, and thinking about their home town and country usually gets them talking.