“Why do you want to study English?” is a common question asked by many english teachers upon meeting a new or prospective student at an english conversation school. “Because I love travel and want to travel abroad, but I can’t speak English well.” is a common answer. Smith’s School of English has a comprehensive and easy to teach travel curriculum. SSE has role play lessons for hotels, restaurants, shopping, at the airport, at the train station, and so on. However some students finish these lessons and still want more. What do they want? They want confidence in introducing themselves and their travel companions to people they meet while travelling abroad. Here’s a simple way (there are many) to help them build confidence in this area.
Start with teaching Introductions 1 and Introductions 2. Next, do Present Continuous and Directions. The key is helping them build confidence with a few key lines: hello, i’m ~, nice to meet you, i’m from ~, etc and then using bridging across the 4 previously taught lesson, encourage them to do the following:
(1) Explain where they are from in Japan (Directions). Nobody in Greece has heard of Okamoto or Tsukaguchi in Hyogo Prefecture or Ishiyama or Zeze in Shiga prefecture, but most people will understand “15 minutes east of Kyoto” or “20 minutes west of Osaka”.
(2) Introduce their travel companions (Introductions 2), and expand with explaining where they know their travel companions from, ie “She’s my friend from English class in junior high school”.
(3) Explain what they are doing together at that time (Present Continuous), “We are travelling around Europe for 2 weeks” or “We are visiting some high school friends”.
I find this is an easy way to show students how they can use previously taught material to have a common “casual travellers conversation”. A few more ideas to help your students extend their travel conversations? Routine 1 The Morning, S3 “I go to ~” and S11 “I eat ~”, stretch to past and repeat each sentence 2-3 times. Here’s what I mean:
Q What have you done so far in Tokyo?
A We went to Asakusa and we went to Koenji, then we went to Tokyo tower and finally we went to Shinjuku. We ate Tokyo Banana and we ate Koenji Cakes.
Try it yourselves and watch how quickly your students will be confident to have a casual travel conversation [with not only other students in your English school, but] when they are actually travelling abroad!
Edward, SSE Ohtsu