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Lesson 1
"Being Lost"


One of the worst feelings in the world is to be lost – no matter if one is a child or an adult. Whether you are walking around or driving around its important to always know where are you and where you want to go. This lesson dives deep into being lost, what to do when one is lost, and most importantly, how to get out of being lost.

This is a lesson that we are all taught when we are young, but it shouldn't be assumed that our Adult ESL learners will know what to do in this situation. They are adjusting to a new country and dealing with a different language, different cultural expectations and different behavioral norms. This is an important life skill lesson that needs to be covered and done so in an adult-like manner. (This is not the same lesson our children receive, but acceptable for adults)


Length of Lesson: 50 minutes

Target Level:




  • Students will gain an understanding of what to do/say when they are lost.

  • Students will be able to confidently navigate through the process of getting lost.


Students will be able to…

  • think of ways to find their way back (after being lost)

  • understand what to do in a situation when they are lost

  • know the proper phrases and actions to use in the process of asking for help

  • know that they can ask for help even from strangers



The following materials will be needed:

  • Pencil / pen
  • Reading handout / Quiz handout
  • (Optional) Computer with Internet access for all students




Step 1: Lesson Introduction (1 minute)

Introduce the lesson “Being Lost” (what this phrase means) and what to expect from the lesson.


Step 2: Pre-reading / Schema Activation (10 minutes)

Discuss the topic of being lost. Engage the students in a story-sharing discussion of who has ever gotten themselves into a situation where they were lost, and how did they find their way out of it. Next, brainstorm on ideas of what types of things to do when one is lost (finding a telephone, looking for a friendly face, finding a public place or a store to go into, back-tracking steps).

(Optional questions for pre or post discussion if time is available)
Is there anything wrong with admitting that one is lost? In America, oftentimes men refuse to admit they have gotten lost. Why do you think this is? Is this a good or a bad thing?

What happens if you don’t admit to yourself that you're lost? (For example: You could end up in a worse situation)
It's as if we work in 2 modes – knowing with certainty where we going and what we are trying to do AND being lost. In what ways do we act differently in those two modes? Do our emotions change how we act?


Step 3: Pre-Reading / Vocabulary (4 minutes)

Go over important vocabulary necessary for the reading. Ideally, teacher will write the words on the board or have them displayed on the computer/projector and have the students explain/deduct their meaning.

Key vocabulary can be as follows:
back-track / block / familiar / find your way (back) / help out / to have no idea / right way


Step 4: Reading (20 minutes)

Students receive a handout with the reading. (see attached). They read this sample story of a woman being lost and finding her way out of the situation. The story is numbered for quick reference when it is time to discuss.


Step 5: Post Reading Discussion (5 minutes)

Discuss important parts of the story, especially points like: What ways did this woman think of to find her way back? What's important to do/say when you ask for help? (List out examples) Being lost can be an emotional process, did emotions affect this woman? Can you think of other things she could have done to find her way?


Step 6: Post Reflections (10 minutes)

Engage the class in discussion on the topic of asking for help. Questions could include: going over important phrases for asking for help, how one should act while asking for help, what one should do while asking for help.

  • Sample phrases could include: Excuse me (sir/ma’m), can you help me out / I’m sorry to bother you, but… / Excuse me sir, I was wondering if you could….
  • Sample mental actions could include: being extremely courteous, grateful, paying attention
  • Sample physical actions could include: writing down directions, using body language to confirm directions, repeating the directions to confirm



If students have access to computers:
Students practice the vocabulary and important phrases with this Quick Quiz and fill in appropriate answers on getting lost.

If students do not have access to computers:
Download this file. Students practice the vocabulary and important phrases with this quick quiz and fill in appropriate answers on getting lost.

Students will also be assigned a writing assignment. They will write up a short story (minimum 10 sentences) on an experience when they (or someone they knew) got lost and how it ended up.