by Aggie Chapman
You won’t believe how easy it is to practise foreign languages outside the classroom! And most of the exercises below need nothing more than your imagination!
It’s enough to have a look at the people and things around you to start revising what you can say in the language you are learning. Below you’ve got 7 simple ways to activate your foreign language on the go.
1. The weather
All you need to do is look out of the window or at your weather app on your phone to check the weather. What’s the weather like? What’s the temperature? Do you like this kind of weather or perhaps you prefer different – which one? Is it either too hot or too cold? Of course, you’re saying it all in a foreign language! If you’ve described the weather today you can also think of what’s the best thing to do on the day like this, what things might not be possible in this weather etc. What was the weather like yesterday? Last weekend? 2 months ago? You get the idea 😉
You can also use the weather forecast app on your phone. It will also show you the forecast for the next few days – describe each day’s forecast in a foreign language. Which day has the best weather? Which one has the worst? What activities can you plan for the next few days according to the weather forecast? Try to make full sentences giving reasons for your choices. You can also look at weather in different places in the world…
2.The appearance and clothes
If you are outside, you can observe the people around you and describe the way they look and the clothes they are wearing. Can you guess anything more about them based on their looks? For example, a person wearing a sporty outfit may be a runner, or an athlete. A man in a suit and tie may be a businessman, etc. Try to add reasons to your sentences, if possible.
Look at the people around you – what are they doing? Someone’s probably walking or driving – are they walking/driving fast or slowly? Are they talking to someone or on their phone? Maybe they are eating something – what is it? Use your imagination to create more details about the people you can see – are they happy/sad/tired/in a hurry? Why do you think that is? Speculate! You may go further and think what the people are going to do, or did before – in this way you can practise past or future structures, too.
4. Places in the city
As you are walking down the street name as many places as you can of the ones you can see around you. Think also of other places that are located nearby – how do you say them in a foreign language? Try to explain what happens in each place if possible – for example, people can buy food in a supermarket, they can send a postcard at the post office etc.
5. Directions and transport
Another exercise to do in the street. Think how you can get to other places in the city from there – on foot or using public transport. How many different ways can you think of?
What different means of transport are there in your city? Which one is the best/fastest/ slowest/cheapest etc. How often do you use each kind of transport? Where do you go? Why do you use it? Is there any kind of transport that isn’t available in your city?
When you’re walking past a restaurant or a bar name the food and drink you could get there. What’s your favourite food in this kind of restaurant? How often do you go there? Do you prefer to eat at home or at the restaurant? Why? When was the last time you went to the restaurant? Who did you go with? What did yo have?
When you’re walking past any shop/office or a similar place think about people who work there – how many jobs connected with that place can you name? What o people do in those jobs? What is the best /worst thing about each job? Choose one of the jobs and describe a typical day of someone doing this job.
So, do you still think that you can only learn languages in the classroom? Which of the exercises above are you going to try? Let me know how it worked!