Giving and understanding directions is a crucial skill to have in any language, but it becomes especially important for adult ESL learners who may need to navigate unfamiliar places and communicate with native English speakers on a daily basis. Let’s explore some of the reasons why it’s important to teach the language for giving and understanding directions in an adult ESL class.
Giving and understanding directions helps with daily navigation and independence.
One of the primary reasons to teach the language for giving and understanding directions in an adult ESL class is that it enables learners to navigate their environment more confidently and independently. This can be especially important for adults who are living in a new country and may not be familiar with the local area. By learning how to ask for directions and understand the instructions they receive, ESL learners can more easily find their way around their new home and access the resources and services they need. This becomes especially important for students who have others depending on them (spouse, children, senior citizen parents, etc.)
It improves communication with native English speakers.
Another important reason to teach the language for giving and understanding directions in an adult ESL class is that it helps learners communicate more effectively with native English speakers. In many cases, adults who are learning English as a second language will need to interact with native English speakers on a daily basis, whether it’s at work, in their community, or when traveling. By understanding the language and vocabulary used to give and follow directions, ESL learners can more easily communicate with native speakers and understand their instructions.
It enhances problem-solving skills.
Teaching the language for giving and understanding directions in an adult ESL class can also help learners develop important problem-solving skills. When we need to find our way to a new location, we often need to think critically and creatively to figure out the best route. By practicing giving and following directions in English, ESL learners can learn how to analyze and interpret information, make decisions, and adapt to new situations. These skills are valuable in many different contexts and can help learners succeed in their personal and professional lives.
Giving and understanding directions enhances cultural understanding.
Finally, teaching the language for giving and understanding directions in an adult ESL class can help learners better understand and appreciate different cultural practices and perspectives. In many countries, the way that directions are given and understood can vary significantly from one culture to another. By learning about these differences, ESL learners can become more sensitive to the perspectives of others and more successful at communicating with people from different cultural backgrounds.
In conclusion, teaching the language for giving and understanding directions in an adult ESL class is an important and valuable skill for many reasons. It helps learners navigate their environment more confidently, communicate more effectively with native English speakers, develop important problem-solving skills, and better understand different cultural practices and perspectives. By investing in this skill, adult ESL learners can set themselves up for success in their personal and professional lives.
So how can we make learning the language for giving and understanding directions fun?
5 Tips for Making Directions FUN
Use interactive games and activities. Incorporating interactive games and activities into your lessons can make learning more engaging and enjoyable. For example, you could create a scavenger hunt where learners have to follow written or spoken directions to find specific objects around the classroom or school. You could also play “traffic cop” and have learners take turns giving each other directions to different locations in the classroom or school.
Use real-life examples. Using real-life examples and situations can help learners see the relevance and importance of the language they are learning. For example, you could bring in maps of your local area or city and have learners practice giving and following directions to different landmarks or places of interest. You could also ask learners to bring in photos of places they have visited and have them practice giving directions to those locations.
Use role-play and simulations. Role-play and simulations can be a fun and engaging way to practice giving and understanding directions. You could create a mock airport or train station and have learners take turns giving and following directions to different gates or platforms. You could also create a simulation of a city or town and have learners practice giving and following directions to different shops, restaurants, or other points of interest. Don’t have the time for that? No problem! I’ve got a Giving Directions role-play resource I made that’s perfect for adult ESL classes.
Use technology. There are many online resources and tools that can help make learning the language for giving and understanding directions more fun and interactive. For example, you could use online maps or virtual reality applications to practice giving and following directions in a more immersive and interactive way. You could also use language learning apps or websites that offer games and activities focused on giving and understanding directions.
Incorporate movement. Incorporating movement and physical activity into your lessons can make learning more enjoyable and help learners retain new information more effectively. For example, you could have learners give each other directions to different parts of the classroom or school while moving around. You could also create a “human map” where learners stand in different parts of the room to represent different locations and give and follow directions to each other. Trust me; if you blindfold yourself and then have your students give you directions that you follow TO THE LETTER, everyone is going to have fun. (But you may end up with a few bruises.)
Keep reading for more adult ESL teaching tips!
- Adult ESL: Honest Tips From the Trenches
- 6 Important Things to Remember When Discussing Goals with Your Adult ESL Students
- 9 Practical Reasons to Love Using BOOM cards in Adult ESL
- All About Me Worksheets for ESL Adults: Here’s Why You Should Use Them