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Lesson 3
"Asking & Giving Directions"


One of the worst feelings in the world is to be lost. Whether you are walking around or driving around, its important to always know where are you, and where you want to go. This lesson prepares and equips students with an important life skill - asking and giving directions – in order to combat this nerve-wracking situation.

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 how to perform these functions. 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 the asking/giving directions process and be comfortable in the process, no matter what variations present themselves

  • Students will develop the communicative skills necessary for asking for directions & giving directions

  • Students will be comfortable working with natural speech after exposure to both written and video form.


Students will be able to…

  • understand the process of asking for directions. This includes being able to politely interrupt strangers, repeat for confirmation, express uncertainty, and show courtesy and thankfulness to the stranger.

  • accept multiple variations of direction giving and find a way to make sense of it.

  • understand the process of giving directions. This includes using direction terminology, using body language while instructing, and making sure the receiver is clear on what to do.

  • Understand this interaction from studying  natural English language in written and video form



The following materials will be needed:

  • Pencil / pen / notepad
  • Handouts with the dialogue scripts
  • Handouts with the dialogue tips
  • Computer with Internet access and connected projector
  • (Optional) Computer with Internet access for all students




Step 1: Lesson Introduction (1 minute)

Introduce the lesson “Asking and Giving Directions” and what to expect from the lesson.


Step 2: Observations (10 minutes)

Before students begin to practice this function, it’s important to observe how it’s all done. This section will go over videos and role plays where students can observe natural speech. As they observe, have them take notes on what they notice.

Start the lesson off by watching these 2 videos.  

Next, distribute a handout of sample dialogues. Dialogues are acted out in front of the class, 2 students at a time while at the same time students can follow them at their desks following the conversations and noticing the language.


Step 3: Observation Discussion (15 minutes)

Engage students in a class discussion on what they noticed from all the observations. Important things to note are: courtesy, appreciation, body language, clarification methods, negotiation for meaning confirmation, direction confirmation. When this is finished, students discuss the tips/guides to asking for / giving directions.

As students have observed, there are many variations to performing this function. They can choose any way they prefer to give directions and if they do not understand given directions, they can practice asking for clarification.


Step 4: Role Plays (24 minutes)

Students are divided up into groups of 4 members. Students will work in pairs (Group A & B) so they can help each other out if needed. Group A gets this map and Group B gets this map. Teams will take turns asking each other for different locations (indicated on their individual maps) and as they find a location they will mark it on the map and then get the next set of directions from that new reference point.

(Optional if there is time)
Practice this activity in front of the class to simulate having multiple eyes on you while asking for directions. (this happens!!)



Students will be assigned a writing/drawing assignment. They will draw a map for me from their home to the community center (or to their job) listing out the important streets / locations. They will then write up step by step instructions for how to get from their home to the center.  (Connecting the instructions by using words such as:
First…. / Next…. / Then…  / Soon… / After that… / From here… / It’s….. )