Tip: Describing your city/town is an important topic area of Social English. To practice this, ask your students to prepare and practice a short, informal two-minute presentation. A fun context for this is as a reply to the question ‘Oh, whereabouts?’.
In class I write on the board ‘Oh, whereabouts?’ and establish the meaning: ‘where exactly?’.
Then I give a demo like the one below – improvised – and ask the students to prepare a similar one for homework, about their own city/town. For fun, I ask a student to time me to make sure I don’t go over two minutes. In the next class I ask each student to perform their own prepared versions without looking at notes.
Me: I’m from the UK.
A student: Oh, whereabouts?
Me: I come from a town on the south coast of England called Worthing. It’s near Brighton, which you probably know. Worthing is like a smaller, quieter and less trendy version of Brighton. That means it’s much cheaper to buy a house there! Actually there are quite a few people who live in Brighton in their twenties – enjoying the bohemian lifestyle – and then move to Worthing when they want to start a family. There are also quite a lot of elderly people, like in most towns on the south coast. I moved to Worthing from London when I started a family because the schools are good and it’s much safer and quieter for children. Also my mother lives nearby, and I can visit her easily. We have a great yoga centre, which is important for me, and the countryside is very close. As I said before, Worthing is on the coast, and we do have a beach. It’s a pebble beach like Brighton, not a sand beach, but when the tide is out there is just enough sand to build a sandcastle. Also, we are the UK’s most important location for kite-surfing, and on a summer weekend you can easily see 50 surfers on the sea at one time. As you can guess, Worthing is quite a windy place. There’s a YouTube clip of the UK kite-surfing champion jumping over Worthing pier. Would you like to see it?