Summer is well and truly here and the holiday season is right around the corner, so many of my students have recently been on holiday or will soon be leaving on one.  I often engage them in conversations about their holidays for several reasons:

  • Students love talking about holidays.
  • The topic allows them to practise the use of past simple, past continuous and past perfect.
  • With business English students – this is a chance to polish up their small talk skills.

Yesterday I thought of a way to jazz up these discussions and also to create a lively atmosphere in the meeting rooms where my courses take place, so I decided to do the following activity.

Everytime I travel abroad I buy souvenirs and collect English newspapers, magazines, maps, brochures, having in mind this question: “How could I use this in my lessons?”. And because I visited Glasgow in February this year (yeah, looking forward to my next holiday!), I took a selection of realia into class with me:

  • a tourist brochure
  • a fridge magnet
  • a menu and a gift card from Jamie’s Italian restaurant (delicious food!!)
  • the Stylist magazine and the Mirror Sport newspaper, which I took from the airport.Realia

It was great to see the students alert and fully engaged, “exploring” the things I had brought, speculating about why I had bought something, where I could have got it from, deliberating and playing holiday detectives, so to speak.

An excellent lesson, at the end of which we established to repeat the activity every time someone goes on holiday and brings in things they had collected, preferably with English text incorporated.