INTRODUCING ANOTHER PREVIEW OF OUR ESL TEACHING GUIDE:
ESL for BEGINNERS Volume 3
Field trips are a wonderful way to have students apply their language skills in an authentic setting. Having learned a second and third language myself, I know that the best way to learn a language is through immersion, and what better way to immerse your students than to take them on outings away from the classroom where they can practice and hear the language in all of its diverse and natural forms. Below, are eleven options for field trips with activities to match that will help your students get the most out of the experience. Each field trip option has an activity explanation that lists English-speaking questions/topics that should be practiced first in the classroom before the field trip. These field trip options can easily be recycled throughout the twenty lessons in this guide in order to have a field trip after each lesson. In addition, this field trip list is just a starting point, as I’m sure you will have ideas on other places students can go in your town to practice their English.
Begin the field trip activity by having students work in pairs in the classroom to plan out/practice their activity and what they will say in English during the excursion. Then, have students enter establishments in a small group with a means to introduce themselves and their mission right away. For example, they might say, “I am a student of English. I want to practice my English today. Can I speak with you or ask you some questions for five minutes?” With the state of heightened security these days in the world, this will help reassure others than it is safe to talk with your students. If you have a large English class, you may need to break your class into smaller groups and send them to different locations on their own or with an adult chaperone. Finally, it is crucial to meet back together after the field trip as a whole class so the teacher can lead a discussion where students can present and process their field trip experiences. Some of these excursions will be easier to do if you are teaching English in an English-speaking country, but there are many on the list that can be enjoyed in a non-English speaking country.
1. Shop at the Grocery Store- take students to a nearby supermarket or food market to pick out and buy a few items, communicating with other customers, and asking store employees questions in the process.
*Activity- have each student make up a list of 5-10 items to buy in order to achieve a certain goal (like baking a cake or mopping the floor). Students must then locate and purchase or record all items on their own, asking at least two employees for help in the process.
2. Visit the US (or another English-speaking) Embassy- take students to the local US embassy where they must talk to three people working there.
*Activity- have students generate three questions or conversation topics each such as, “Where is the bathroom?” or “How do you like working in this embassy?” Then, at the embassy, they must talk to various employees/visitors there such as the doorman, bathroom attendant, visiting Americans, etc. to get answers to their questions.
3. Go to a Concert- take the class to a concert where songs will be sung in English. Sing along and converse with other concert-goers to practice English.
*Activity- print out the lyrics to some of the songs that will be sung beforehand. Read these lyrics with students, having them learn the songs so they can sing along during the concert.
4. Go to an English Language Themed Cafe or Restaurant- take students for a tea to a nearby café or restaurant that has an English theme and is known to be frequented by English speakers.
*Activity- have students write out three different topics of conversation concerning current events in the country most frequented in the establishment. Have students introduce themselves and strike up a conversation with an employee or customer. Students can then jot down notes as they talk to people about these conversation topics. Alternately, students can practice ordering food/drinks in English.
5. Visit the Library- take students to the local library where they can enlist help from the librarian to research a topic in English.
*Activity- each student should pick a topic that interests them and write out some research questions they have on this topic. Once at the library, they can show their questions to the librarian using their English to find/write answers to the questions.
6. Use Public Transportation- have students take a bus, taxi, or streetcar using English to describe to the driver where they want to go and getting advice for the best way to get there.
*Activity- have student make a list of directional vocabulary words they will need to find their location such as right, left, go straight, pass the …, etc. They can then use this vocabulary to discuss their destination with the driver.
7. Visit a Local Gym- have students get information on the gym’s equipment, facilities, and work-out classes.
*Activity- students can prepare a workout goal for themselves and then use that goal to get information or a plan from the gym attendant on what facilities the gym has that can help them achieve their goal.
8. Visit a Local Tourist Information Center- students can ask questions about the city or research popular attractions while at the tourist center.
*Activity- have students write out 3-5 questions about the city they are in and then use their English to converse with the tour center attendant to get answers to their questions.
9. Go to an English Movie- take your class to an English-speaking film where they can compare what they hear with the subtitles, writing down inconsistencies or new slang terms they don’t understand or would like to remember.
*Activity- have students make a chart on notebook paper with three columns: New Expressions/ New Words/Body Language I Do Not Understand. As they watch the movie, they can fill in these columns and then discuss them after the movie with the class.
10. Take an English Bus Tour- take the class on a bus tour designed for English speaking foreign tourists.
*Activity- have students make a list of five things they think the guide will say during the tour (such as “look to the left,” etc.) then students can check off the ones they hear during the tour.
11. Go on a Virtual Field Trip- while this option pales in comparison to an actual field trip outside the school, if you have a good computer lab and access to internet, this can be a fair alternative if field trips are too difficult or expensive for your class. Below is a good link with lots of virtual field trips:
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