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Asking/Giving directions

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Carl Schraefel in Riyadh, KSA
I used this exercise in an elementary-intermediate speaking class of young Arab adults
Asking / Giving directions
1. Draw a large simple map of two streets and avenues intersecting,label the Streets and Avenues with simple familiar names, then draw several squares along the streets and label each: post office, library, bank, shoe store,flower shop, restaurant,hospital, university, airport, etc ~you get the idea? (large enough to see from back of the class)
You can also use OH projector to project the map on to the board(easier to use repeatedly with out having to redraw every time).
If no O.H.P. then drawing it on the board is fine. I also make photo copies of the same map to give to the students.

2.The teacher gives a demonstration to show the students what will happen first by marking an X on the map as the starting point then asking
~ Can you tell me how to get to__________? or
~Do you know how to get to__________?
Then use some of the learned target phrases to demonstrate how to give the directions. Turn left / right; go(walk/drive) up / down _________street; next to; between; across from; etc.

2. Next, have the students pair off for about 5 minutes and practice asking/giving directions from one place to another using the handout maps.
EXAMPLE: You are at the bank and want to get to the library. Using language learnt / practiced such as~ go down _________street; turn left and you will see the library next to the flower shop.

3. Once the students have had time to practice, ask each pair to come to the front of the class and take turns asking and the other student giving the directions using the map on the board. Then the other student takes his turn asking.

4. Also a good idea, if after a few pairs have come up and are having difficulty, stop and go through some of the basic phrases again. I sometimes will write the question on the board for the first while as well as some of the target direction phrases. Then resume and let the rest of the students go up. After a while I will erase the questions and direction phrases from the board and let them try on their own.
I usually get the better students to come first so the weaker ones have a chance to listen and learn from the stronger students. Also try to pair off weak with strong students as well.
I try not to correct the students at the time they are speaking unless they are really muddling it up and then it is good idea to interveen.

5. At the end of the exercise or follow up the next day to point out common errors made such as common pronunciation errors; phrasal errors, etc.Then again, As a follow up exercise I spontaneously call two students up to the front and then give the start point "bank" and the place to get to~ "airport". They then will have to think and give the directions without any prior rehearsal.

This exercise is more suitable for smaller class sizes but I managed to get a class of 28 students to all have a chance to get up and speak in 2 consecutive fifty minute sessions.

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