Tip: Get out of the classroom and into the office/plant/lab … or city! Do it as a live, walking role-play.
A good way to inject some variety to the lesson whilst at the same time exposing the student to their own language needs, is to get out of the classroom (on occasion) and into the office/plant/lab. This works very well with 1:1 and is also fine with smaller groups.
As you go, incorporate a ‘live’ walking role-play. So, you are the visitor and they welcome you at reception and make a little small talk. Then they show you around the office, or take you on a tour of the plant, or whatever.
When doing this type of activity the student comes up against all sorts of situations and vocabulary not previously thought about, e.g. ‘Could you put on this labcoat/hard hat, please’, ‘Would you mind taking off your shoes and putting them in the locker. I will give you some special footwear.’ etc.
The activity provides an ideal platform for students to practise their language skills, and the other huge benefit is that it enables the trainer to finally understand exactly what the trainee does!! Yes, we’ve all heard job titles like ‘I’m a Logistics Manager/Lab technician/Project Manager’ but as trainers we can be much more effective in providing appropriate language if we understand the students’ roles in their real, physical workplace setting.
And here’s a nice way to spend a couple of hours: a trainee tells you they will be welcoming visitors in a couple of weeks, and that part of the visit involves taking the visitors on a short tour of the city, perhaps followed by lunch. No problem! Suggest that the trainee takes you on the same tour, with you making language notes in a small notebook on any vocabulary needed. Naturally this is then followed by lunch in the same restaurant that the trainee will choose for the visitors. Vocabulary work on menus, food and social English all follows. Enjoy your meal!