When you teach English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL), one of the topics most teachers eventually cover is “Meeting People”. I taught a new corporate EFL class in Bangkok, Thailand on the subject of “Meeting People” and I used a lesson plan I created for this purpose. This lesson plan can be used for ESL students just as easily as for EFL students.
This EFL or ESL lesson plan is a great way to show non-native English speakers subjects they can talk about when they meet a new person, as well as teach them appropriate greetings and farewells.
Expected Learning Outcome – Students will learn appropriate greetings when meeting a new person. They will also become familiar with subjects that are appropriate to talk about in Western cultures, as well as how to say a farewell or good bye that is polite.
Materials and Resources – Whiteboard markers, handouts with a list of appropriate greetings and farewells.
Step One, Greetings – Write the heading “Appropriate Greetings” on the whiteboard then ask the students to brainstorm about the English greetings they use. Make a list of the greetings they come up with – Hi, how are you?, Nice to meet you. How do you do? Good morning. Good evening. These are all greetings they should be able to think of.
Step Two, Appropriate Topics – Put two columns on the board and head them “Western World”, “Thailand” (or the country you are currently teaching in), then ask students to brainstorm about topics they think are appropriate to talk about in the Western world and that are appropriate in Thailand.
You will end up with a list of things that are appropriate like, Food, Shopping, Traveling, Books, Movies, Music etc. Some people will also add things like Religion and Politics, as they may think these are appropriate to discuss in the west. You can then have a short discussion as to when these are appropriate.
Step Two, Inappropriate Topics – Add two more columns on the whiteboard and head them “Inappropriate in the West” and “Inappropriate in Thailand” and this time ask the students to brainstorm about things you should not talk about when you meet somebody. This will range from issues like Religion, Age and Salary to Abortion and Religion.
Step Three, Appropriate Farewells – Now have your students brainstorm about appropriate ways to say ‘Goodbye’. They will come up with things like It was nice to meet you, but I have an appointment I must make. Excuse me, I have a meeting, Excuse me, I’m going to get another drink etc. Add farewells of your own explaining why these are acceptable and polite.
Step Four, Conversation – Now that you have Appropriate Greetings, Appropriate Topics of Conversation, and Appropriate Farewells, put your students into pairs and ask them to create a short conversation. They must use one or two appropriate greetings, talk about an appropriate topic, and use one or two appropriate farewells. Explain that the conversation must flow and that they only have ten minutes to think about it. Once the ten minutes are up, have each pair act out their conversation in front of the class.
This lesson plan is a great way to get EFL or ESL students talking. It is gives them information about things they can and cannot talk about and helps them with other ways to say hello and goodbye.
This lesson plan usually takes between one and a half and two hours to complete, depending on how talkative your class is. At the end of it they will be able to hold a short polite conversation.
Evaluation/Assessment: 1. participation in class, 2. students’ understanding in class, 3. behavior and attention in class, 4. how they work in pairs or work as a ‘team member’.
This is a great lesson plan for ESL students and EFL students. Although it is appropriate for intermediate, you can tailor it to many levels, and they’ll still have fun talking about appropriate topics and creating their conversations. They will also learn new vocabulary and new grammar structures.
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