Giving Directions in the Real World – An idea to get your students speaking outside of the classroom

Asking for Directions: A lesson plan idea to get your ESL students out into the real world

Last week one of my Pre-Intermediate adult students asked if I could teach some expressions for asking for directions. Another chimed in, “Yeah, and then can we go outside and practice?” I’d been thinking about doing something like that for a while, and but that student’s idea gave me the push I needed to finally create these worksheets to help take language outside:
Asking for Directions – A real world worksheet <– (Click there to view and print it for yourself).

Here’s how I’m planning to teach this lesson:

  1. Ask students: If you got lost, what question would you ask to get directions? List their ideas on the board.
  2. Distribute handout and read through the questions and responses in the chart at the top of the page. Check that students understand and know how to use them.
  3. Write a simple sample directions dialogue with the whole class.
  4. Ask students to imagine that they are lost in your school’s neighborhood. In pairs, have them write their own little conversations to ask for directions.
  5. Ask each pair to perform one of their dialogues for the class.
  6. Now for the fun part! You can either take your students out for 15 minutes, or assign this part for homework. Tell students that they are going to put their new language into action. Each student should choose three directions questions that they would like to practice. They should then ask three different people for directions to some place in your city. It could be a street, a specific restaurant, a library, the nearest Starbucks, or whatever they like. Ask them to write a simple description of what each person looks like, and then try to write out their entire conversation.
  7. Once you’re back in class, ask each student to report back on what happened. Did the people they ask understand them? Did they understand the responses? What words or expressions were confusing to them? Were the directions accurate?

I have no idea how this will go, but I think it will be a fun way to encourage students to put something that we’ve learned in class into practice.

Again, if you missed it above, here is my worksheet. Feel free to print it out and use it with your classes: Asking for Directions – A real world worksheet


Please leave your questions and comments in the box at the bottom of the page. Have you tried this lesson, or anything else like it before? I’d love to hear about it.


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