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Adult English Lessons / Travel Classes

Teaching Travel English Secondary Key Points

Usually your travel English class students need a lot of work to get ready for their trip. While we often focus on one particular situation for each class it can help to practice other skills as well. These are your secondary keypoints and they can make or break your class.


In this article we are going to introduce you to various methods for teaching travel English classes secondary objectives. In most classes you’ll have a list of things that you want to teach your students. The most important things are often called primary objectives, or primary key points. Any goals that are not in this group are usually called secondary objectives or secondary key points. These secondary objectives can be used in various ways. One way is when you have extra time in your class and you’ve already gone over all of your primary objectives. You can use the extra time to practice and explain the secondary objectives. Another way to use the secondary objectives is to introduce them in your class so that your classes do not become too monotonous or boring. Doing the same thing over and over again in each class is not a good idea. Students will lose motivation and will find it difficult to concentrate. In this way secondary objectives can be similar to adding a few spices to a basic meal.


Secondary objectives

Because most students who take travel classes have a limited amount of time to study most of the class time is used to teach primary objectives or review previously learned primary objectives. That being said everybody has different classes. Some classes are longer and some are shorter. Some students pick up things faster and some pick them up slower. So if you are in need of some secondary objectives to fill out your lesson plans below is a list of possible ideas:

  • Listening practice
  • Varied pronunciation listening practice
  • Reading comprehension
  • Related vocabulary
  • Smalltalk/simple conversations
  • Other primary objectives


Listening practice

For many students understanding native speakers can be quite difficult. Generally native speakers speak much faster than the students are accustomed to. Very often the native speakers are using a dialect or pronunciation that the students have never encountered. Because of this, having various listening practice and listening activities can be of great benefit for any students who are planning to travel abroad. Many of these activities can be done as homework. Doing this saves time in the lesson for more important activities. Usually it is best to focus these listening activities around situations that the students might actually be in. Any primary objective situations will work fine. So again, restaurants, banks, hotels, room service, exchanging money at a bank any of these types of activities would be great listening practice.

I generally like to give listening practice out as homework because I feel that it’s something the student can do by themselves and I want to focus all of the lesson time on things that they need my help with. If any of the students have a lot of difficulty with the listening practice homework then in the class I will make sure to go over any questions or problems that they might have had.


Varied pronunciation listening practice

As mentioned before, many students have problems with pronunciation and the speaking speed of native English speakers. Because of this we want to introduce our students to various different pronunciations. Obviously British English, American English, Australian English can be used. But it is also important to introduce your students to non-native English speakers’ English. Many travelers are businessmen who will encounter people who are similar to themselves in that English is not their native language. These people also have different pronunciation and intonation that might be difficult for your students. If you know that your student is going to China on a business trip then it would be great practice for him to be exposed to Chinese people speaking English. If you are at a large school then you can have other English teachers from different countries come in and help you with this. Or you can find other English students who are from various countries to help you. If you can’t do this then you can always use the Internet or textbook CDs to help you. YouTube has millions of videos and it would not be too difficult to find similar conversations in the various pronunciations that you are looking for. You can simply give your students a link and tell them to listen to it. You can generally find software that will download the YouTube videos audio file and give that to your students.


Reading comprehension

The reading comprehension that I would use in the travel classes is very basic. Obviously it would be reading passages related to travel. Things like menus, registration forms at a hotel, embarkation and disembarkation cards that you get on the airplane, customs cards, things of this nature that the student might actually need to read.


Vocab Builder

Vocab builders are exactly what they sound like, exercises to build a student’s vocabulary. Generally your textbook should have a variety of different vocab builders within it. If it doesn’t then you can click here to get some ideas. Vocabulary builders can be used in a couple of different ways. Occasionally I like to use vocabulary builders as a warm-up. I also like to use vocabulary builders when I need a 5 to 10 minute activity. This could be in the middle of a lesson, or could be at the end of the lesson. Vocabulary builders are also very useful before you go into any kind of role-playing activities. For our travel class we obviously want to use vocabulary words that are related to traveling.

Small talk

On a vacation occasionally your students might have a chance to meet and talk with different people. Generally these conversations are very similar nature. You talk about each other’s vacation plans, perhaps your job, what country or from and even your family. Preparing your students to engage in this type of small talk can help them make their vacation that much more enjoyable.


Other primary objectives

If you have already gone over some of the main travel class lessons and find yourself with some extra time left over then it’s a good idea to practice and explain some other situations that the students might find themselves in. First you should talk with your student to find out what their plans are on their vacation. Obviously if they’re planning on going to a museum or renting a car then you want to make sure that that situation is included in your lessons. But if you’ve already gone over everything that they expect to do then you can start inserting other lessons in as well. The students might not use it but then again they might find themselves in unexpected situation where the English they learned in those lessons help them out.



Introducing secondary objectives in your travel class can be very useful for many of your classes and students. If you have a long class where it seems that you quickly get through the main objectives and have a lot of extra time left over you can use that time to practice secondary objectives. If you find that your class is getting monotonous or boring then you can add various secondary objective practices and exercises to keep them fresh. Compared with other types of English classes travel classes don’t focus as much on secondary objectives. This is because the students will have limited encounters where they need to use English and we take these encounters in situations to create our primary objectives for most of our classes. This doesn’t mean that you can completely ignore secondary objectives but comparatively you will have fewer of these in your lesson plan.



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Randy League owns an English School in Japan and has been teaching English for 20 years. In his free time he trains MMA , plays video games and studies Japanese.

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