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The holiday maze
There isn't one 'correct' answer - different groups find themselves going on different holidays - so you can use the activity several times with the same class.
It is an excellent, fun way to practise the 'functional' language of agreement and disagreement, suggestion and negotiation, as well as specific language relating to holidays, in a genuinely 'communicative' activity.
It can be used with any level from pre-intermediate to upper-intermediate and beyond.
- Set the context for your students. The students are going on holiday together and want to have the best time possible. You can set the context by describing the situation, telling an anecdote, showing a picture or posing some discussion questions. I find that students love to talk about their experiences - ask them about times they have been on holidays with friends. Get them to talk about problems they had and things they enjoyed.
- When the context has been established, put the students in groups of 2 to 5 students. The activity can be run as a whole-class activity with you using one set of cards. The students ask you for the card they have chosen after each discussion. You can also run the activity as independent group work, with a set of cards for each group. The important thing is to encourage as much discussion as possible.
- Students listen to or read what is written on the first card. They must then discuss the different options and come to an agreement about what to do. They then read the next card until they reach a conclusion and find out if they had a successful holiday or not. It is absolutely vital that the students really discuss each option and its possible implications; if they don't, they will finish very quickly and will not have had the speaking practice that the activity is intended to provide.
- Your role: walk around and listen to the groups. If groups are not really discussing much, ask questions about their reasons for their decisions and prompt them to discuss more. Before you start the activity, think carefully about how to group the students. How can you best encourage speaking?
Especially at lower levels, it can be a good idea to pre-teach vocabulary which you know the students will need for the activity. Read through the cards and make a list of words or phrases that you think your students may not know, especially 'topic' vocabulary (i.e. holidays). Before the activity starts, pre-teach these words.
It can really help the flow of conversation if students are confident in using functional language. In this activity, students will be discussing, negotiating and making decisions. They may also be arguing, disagreeing and changing their minds. These expressions may be useful
- 'I think we should . . .'
- 'That's a good idea but . . .'
- 'What about . . .'
- 'Let's . . .'
- 'I don't agree with . . .'
- 'I've changed my mind.'