Role Play Activity to Teach ESL Learners to Give and Receive Travel Directions

Role Play Activity to Teach ESL Learners to Give and Receive Travel Directions
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Exercise on Road Signs

This ESL lesson plan of going places and directions can begin with an activity where students look at images of authentic road signs. These could be printed off the internet or covered from a driver’s handbook which is used for learners for obtaining drivers’ licenses. After learning the English expressions for the signs, the teacher can mix up the meanings, placing them in a second column. Students are asked to match the sign with the correct word.

1. hospital 2. school crossing 3. traffic lights 4.curve right for median

5. flagmen 6. railroad crossing 7. park - fuel left turn

Answers: 1. park - fuel 2. traffic lights 3. railroad crossing 4. no left turn

5. flagmen 6. curve right for median 7. hospital 8. school crossing

Role Play

Prepare a dialogue students can read, then do a role-play on it. Students should also take careful note of how the prepositions and imperatives are used. Here is an example:

  1. Excuse me please Sir, Can you tell me where is the nearest pharmacy ?
  2. Sure. Walk about one block, then turn right and it’s the second building on your left.

A. Thanks. Please tell me where is the Post Office.

B. the Post Office is a bit far from here. Are you on foot?

A. Yes

B. It is better to take the bus. It will take you directly there. It’s straight ahead, but about 10 blocks, on your right.

A. Thank you sir.

B. You are welcome.

Students can replay the dialogue, substituting the directions with some of the following:

next to, in front of, behind, in the middle of, opposite.

They can also compose and role play their own dialogues.

Another Exercise

Another exercise is to draw or present students with an authentic city plan, which can be obtained from any tourist information office. Let students work in pairs and take turns at asking each other questions like “Excuse me Sir/Ma’am/Miss. could you please tell me the way to….?” Student B finds the place on the map and gives student directions to get there; then student B chooses a place and student A would find it on the map and give directions.

A Necessary Aspect

Giving and taking directions is a necessary aspect of everyday life, whether it’s on the street, at an airport, in a school, on a job or in so many other situations. It is especially important to newcomers to a town, city or village, and would be very helpful for foreign students in adjusting to their new surroundings. Be sure to include in your ESL lesson plan, lessons on going places and direction among other forms of giving and taking directions.

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