Instructions for language assistants in Italics
‘Staycation' is a word that has come into use recently and you won't find it yet in the dictionary. It's a combination of Stay and Vacation and it has been used a lot in the media in the UK over the summer to describe the trend of British residents to stay closer to home, rather than holiday abroad.
Tasks one and two introduce the idea of ‘staycations' and task three asks students to think about possible reasons behind the trend of staying closer to home for holidays. Task four gets students talking to each other about their holiday habits. Task five is based on a radio phone-in about staycations and offers a variety of opinions from several listeners which students can respond to. The final task is based on a set of statements which students discuss in small groups. With higher levels you could use one of the newspaper articles given in the weblinks below as a starting point for the lesson.
1. What is a ‘Staycation'?
This introduction is suitable for higher levels (if you have a low level group, you can explain the idea of ‘staycations' to them and then begin with task two). Put students in pairs and give each pair a copy of the definition. Or, to add challenge and to save paper, you could dictate the definition to the group. Ask your students to read the definition and then explain it to their partner in their own words.
Task 1 What is a ‘Staycation'?
- Read the Wikipedia definition of a ‘Staycation', then explain what it is to your partner in your own words.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A staycation (or stay-cation, or stacation) is a period of time in which an individual or family stays at home and relaxes at home or takes day trips from their home to area attractions. Staycations have achieved high popularity in current hard economic times in which unemployment levels and gas prices are high.
Common activities of a staycation include use of the backyard pool, visits to local parks and museums, and attendance at local festivals.
2. Staycations mind map
When you are sure that all your students understand the idea of a ‘staycation' make a mind map of all the ideas that spring to mind when they think about holidaying at home. You could get students to do this is in small groups and then pool your ideas together on the board as a whole class later.
3. Question time
Use the questions as a starting point to a group discussion about staycations. You could put students into pairs first or go straight into a group discussion depending on the size of your class. Add some questions of your own to find out more about the holiday habits of your students where you're teaching. You may like to talk about two of the main reasons behind the trend in ‘staycations' - the economic crisis and concern for the environment.
Task 3 Question time
- Why do you think lots of British people stayed at home, or went on holiday in the UK last summer?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of holidaying at home?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of going away on holiday?
- Tell me about your last holiday.
4. Find People Who...
Before you start the whole group mingle activity (put students into groups of ten if you have a huge class) make sure your students know how to form the questions they need. For example, "Did you stay at home..." or " do you prefer staying at home...?"If your students will need support, write the questions up on the board for them to refer to throughout theactivity.Students should write two more statements of their own in the table.
Your students may well be familiar with this type of mingle activity, but in this case they need to find two people who.. rather than just one. Tell students they need to find two students who fulfil each statement and then they need to gather as much extra information as they can. Students will need to be standing up and have something to lean on in order to write their answers. When they have all finished ask some of your students to tell the whole group what they found out.
Task 4 Find People Who...
Talk to your classmates to find two people who...
(Remember to get as much extra information as you can.)
- ... stayed at home during the last holidays.
- ... prefer staying at home to going away on holiday.
- ... love travelling.
- ... are afraid of flying.
- ... have been abroad recently.
5. Are Brits really having ‘staycations' this summer?
This is a reading task based on a radio phone-in where listeners are asked to give their views about staycations. You could put students into small groups and ask each student to read one or two listeners' comments and then to tell their group about them. The follow up questions can be used to check understanding.
Task 5 Are Brits really having ‘staycations' this summer?
A radio programme wanted to find out if their listeners really were following the ‘staycation' trend. They asked their listeners to phone in and give their opinions. This is what they said. Read the listeners' comments and then ask the questions below.
Are Brits really having ‘staycations' this summer?
Johnny: "I'm not going on holiday this year. My mortgage has just gone up and I can't afford a holiday abroad. I'm going to go to Wales though for a friend's wedding so I'll have a little holiday then."
Mary: "I've heard a lot about ‘staycations' but I'm going on holiday like I do every year. I always go to Spain for a week. You just can't trust the British weather and I need at least a week of sunshine every year! In fact, all my friends are going on holiday as normal."
Nicole: "I'm not going on holiday this summer, but not because of the economic crisis. I decided not to fly so much because I want to help the environment. It's crazy that everyone is flying around the world when there are beautiful places to visit here in our own country. I'm going to Cornwall for a forthnight."
Steve: "Staycations?! What a lot of rubbish. People are still going on holidays. In fact it's cheaper to get a flight and leave Britain than to stay here for your holidays. Everything here is so expensive, especially in London where I live. I'm going to get a cheap flight somewhere and have a real break."
Michael: "I'm staying at home this year. I've just moved house so I want to spend my holiday getting organised, painting, decorating etc. I think we should learn to enjoy what we have close to home. If everyone travelled less the world would be a lot simpler."
Angelina: "We're going to go on holiday to the south of Portugal as normal. The risk with staying in the UK is that you'll have terrible weather. I mean, a holiday in the rain just isn't as much fun as being somewhere hot is it? It's expensive to travel abroad at the moment so we're only going for one week rather than two, but I think it'll be worth it."
- Which listeners are going to have staycations?
- Which listeners are going on their normal holidays?
- What reasons are given for having ‘staycations'?
- Who doesn't believe in the ‘staycation' trend?
- Do you agree with Angelina, that to have a good holiday you have to have good weather?
- Is there a similar trend in your country?
6. Discussion Statements
Put your students into small groups. Cut up one set of discussion statements and give each group one statement to discuss for a set time, two or three minutes for each should be enough. Rotate the statements around the groups until each group has talked about each statement. Then ask for some general class feedback on what they discussed. This type of activity is a great opportunity for you to listen to your students and make a note of any mistakes they make. You can use the mistakes you collect in an error correction activity afterwards.
Task 6 Discussion Statements
- We should appreciate what we have on our doorsteps.
- The ‘idea' of going on holiday is often better than the reality of being on holiday.
- A change is as good as a rest.
- Holidays are usually stressful.
- If you like your work, every day is a holiday!
- Most tourists spend more time lost than found.
- The best part of most holidays is returning home.
7. Plan your ideal ‘Staycation'.
Put students into groups and get them to plan a week's staycation. You can decide whether it should be within their home town or within their country. Offer ideas such as exploring the surrounding areas, going to museums you always meant to visit but never got round to etc. This could be a good way for you language assistants to get ideas of what you can do with your free time in the place you are posted!
An article from The Times online about the growing trend in Staycations.
The best and worst of the UK seaside
Time Out guide offers examples of staycation activities in and around New York.
An interesting look at how the word ‘staycation' came into common usage and some readers' opinions.
A light-hearted look at the staycation.
By Jo Budden