Number one for English language teachers

Guided tours

Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

Wouldn’t it be nice to get out of the classroom sometimes? If your school permits it, and if your class is of a suitably manageable size, there are many interesting and useful things that you can do outside your normal room.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get out of the classroom sometimes? If your school permits it, and if your class is of a suitably manageable size, there are many interesting and useful things that you can do outside your normal room - even if you only stay within the school grounds or in the immediate locality. Here are a few ideas.



Teacher guided tour

Think of about ten locations within easy walking distance - all places that you can say something about (e.g. an interesting architectural feature, e.g. you can remember when it was built, e.g. you fell off your bike there etc). They don’t need to be major events - just small features or incidents. Prepare a worksheet with related questions (e.g. “When was the greenhouse built?”). Take your students for a walk around the area and tell the stories as if you were a tour guide. Students should listen and fill in their worksheet as they go.



Student guided tour

(You could do this after your own guided tour, once students have got the idea of how it works.) Tell students a route with five or more locations to stop at (e.g. outside the Headteacher’s office, the playground etc). Ask them to prepare their own descriptions or stories to say at each place. Make groups of three or four students. Take the class on the tour but at each stop, ask students to speak with the others in their small group.


Fictional guided tour

… or … ask them to use their imagination to prepare an entirely fictional version. Encourage them to think of unusual or extraordinary events that may have taken place at the different locations (e.g. “… and this is the place where three aliens landed in 2003. They spoke very good English.”)


Vocabulary challenge tour

Take students on a tour, but instead of describing things, at each stop point out four or five visible objects, without saying their names. Students should write down the word for each item (with the correct spelling). You can check answers immediately or at the end of the whole tour.


Grammar challenge tour

Prepare some sentences you could say on your guided tour using grammatical items students have recently studied (e.g. “We’ve been walking for 10 minutes” or “If you walked along that path you’d get to the cafeteria.”) Go on the walk and each time you stop, tell students the grammar item you want them to use (e.g. ‘present perfect progressive’) and, if you want to, some key words (e.g. walk, path, cafeteria). Allow students a minute or two to write a true sentence about the walk or location. Ask them to check with each other, then get a number of students to read their sentences (NB check meaning as well as the accuracy of grammar).


General guidelines

Get permission - be certain students are allowed to leave class!
Set ground rules with students e.g. no-one can go off on their own. Any misbehaviour ends the tour!

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