Commuting

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This Business English lesson plan on commuting has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

In both the UK and USA, workers spend on average approximately an hour travelling to and from work each day, and many people will spend longer than this on their daily commute. This means people spend five hours of their week sat in traffic or crammed onto a subway train, not exactly the most enjoyable way to spend your time. In this Business English lesson plan on commuting, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as their experience travelling to work, how companies can help commuters and what the future might have in store for this kind of travel.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

NBC | “How your stressful commute affects your health — and strategies to stay sane”

The article talks about the effect commuting can have on a person’s mental health, as well as offering a few pieces of advice on how to make the daily commute more bearable. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. Have they experienced anything like what was mentioned in the article? Do they think this advice is useful?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk by Sally Simms called “Why the Future of Commuting is Friendly” which predicts that big data will change the way we travel to and from work in the future.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including what the students think about their own commute, alternative ways of travelling to work and how commuting affects their work-life balance.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with commuting such as commuter belt, park and ride, and rush hour. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about travelling to work. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as riding a bike to work, commuter benefits offered by companies and whether or not they would be prepared to commute a further distance in exchange for a substantial pay-rise.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write a guide for new employees to advise them about their commute. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.

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