So, you’ve done your TEFL course and found a job in London. Now this is when the fun starts.
Three to six hours a day, five days a week, in the classroom. The coursebook will become your staple diet and the photocopier your new best friend. While this may actually be your average TEFL job in London, every once in a while it’s a nice idea to leave the four walls of your classroom and go out into the real world. What better place to do this than in London, a city that has so much to offer. One of the reasons students decide to come to an English-speaking country rather than take English lessons at home is the fact that they will be surrounded by English even when they are not in the classroom. Excursions allow the student to interact with native speakers (besides their teachers) and use English for real communication.
One idea is to take an architectural tour of London. Set the lesson up by discussing famous buildings around the world, such as the Burj Khalifa or the Taj Mahal. Students can do research online and use photographs to describe and discuss these buildings. Then, plan a route that allows you to walk around London and view some of the sights that have made London famous. A slightly different version of this (with more advanced students) is to have the students ask passers-by for directions to certain points of interest. Or better yet, create a quiz which students will need to find out the answers to in order to discover where there next destination is. This will involve speaking to people as well as adding in a competitive element which students always enjoy.
Another option is to find out about any art or photography exhibitions happening near the school. Students can do research on the artists beforehand and they can spend some time describing the artwork. Afterwards, students can discuss which pieces they liked and which they didn’t, giving reasons to support their decisions. The British Museum also runs tours for language students, with discussions on a number of topics, including materials.
London is a city packed with events and ideas for excursions outside the classroom. Look around and see what the city has to offer in terms of tours or exhibitions, or think how you could utilise the city for your own educational purposes. Students will enjoy the change of pace and scenery, and dealing with English in the real world will give them confidence.