HOLIDAYS by Jean Sciberras       

Skills practised: speaking, listening, note-taking 

Levels: Pre-intermediate to Upper Intermediate 

This is a good neutral topic to start with a new group. It can be used over a two day period or each day used separately. 


DAY 1 

Write HOLIDAYS on the board. Depending on the level, elicit words connected with holidays. Try to come up with (or teach): self-catering, brochure, package holiday, cut-price tickets, peak and off-peak, half/full board, accommodation. 

In pairs students find out the advantages and disadvantages of package holidays, by asking questions about their partner's last holiday: 

  • Was your last holiday a package-holiday? Why/why not? 
  • Where did you go? 
  • What did you see, eat ...etc.? 
  • What was the best/worse thing there? 
  • Would you go there again? 
  • Where do you dream of going? 

Go around monitoring and take down any mistakes. 

Students then report back to the class. If the class is too big you can put sts into 2 groups and they report to the group. Decide this as you go along. Be sensitive to what the sts want. Do they want to know more or are they ready to move on? 

At this point give them a vocabulary exercise using the words learnt in the lesson plus a couple of new ones. A good exercise for this is ‘Travel’ on page 27 of Intermediate Vocabulary by B J Thomas (Published by Nelson). This exercise deals with words like journey, trip, voyage, tour ...etc. 

To round off the lesson use one of the psychological games from Mario Rinvolucri’s ‘Challenge to Think’. The game is called ‘The Survivors’ and is also connected with travel.


DAY 2 

Skills practised: Reading - skimming and scanning, speaking, persuading, note-taking, listening. 

Go to the travel agents, or better still a tour operator and ask for brochures normally given to English holiday makers. Authentic material boosts the sts’ morale. Look out for Horizon, Cosmos, Sovereign ...etc. 

Choose 10 holiday resorts e.g. Corfu, Portugal, Italy, North Africa, South of France ...etc. Cut them out, stick them on coloured cardboard and preferably have them laminated. In this way the material will look more professional and will last forever. (After a couple of years check that countries haven’t split up. I had to change my Yugoslavia to Slovenia for example) 

Stage 1 - As a warmer, chop up dictionary meanings of the words learnt the previous day. Give each student a definition and a word and tell them to go around the class to find their matching word/definition. 

Give students expressions of persuading/convincing to use later. Expressions could include: 

Why don’t we.... 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful/great to .... 

We really should ... 

How about going .... 

I agree/disagree 

What a good idea etc... 

Stage 2 - Give out the holiday resort cards - if possible make sure you give the cards to sts who have never been to the country depicted on the card; in this way there is no unfair advantage and the sts have to read the text. 

Sts should study their card for about 10 minutes and prepare their argument as they are going to try and convince other sts to go to ‘their resort’. Point out that it is not necessary for the sts to understand every word, but should be able to get enough information to argue at least three or four points. The teacher could put some ideas on the board such as: 

What to see and visit 

Food and drink 

Beaches & Sport 


Night Life 

Then put sts into pairs and each st should try and convince the other to choose their resort. When they have completed this each pair should try and convince another pair, and then this foursome should try and convince the rest of the class. The aim is to get the whole class to agree to go to the same resort together. 

The teacher should monitor all three stages unobtrusively, taking down any frequent mistakes, but as this is a fluency practice the sts should be given as much freedom as possible. 

Leave 10 minutes at the end to go over the mistakes. 



[This article appeared in the Autumn 1997 newsletter]

© Malta Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language