Digital Nomads

"They told me to grow roots. Instead I grew wings."

Louis de Bernières, British Author
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This free ESL lesson plan on digital nomads has been designed for 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.

Wouldn’t you like to quit your day job and spend the rest of your time travelling around the world? For some people, this is a reality. But travel costs money, and if you’re travelling, how can you earn money? The answer is to become a digital nomad. Digital nomads have jobs that are not location dependent. They tend to work remotely online, meaning they can work from any place in the world (as long as the wifi is reliable, of course). Not only this, working in a country with a lower cost of living than the country they come from can give them a higher disposable income to enjoy life. But it’s not all a paradise. Digital nomads might have to deal with loneliness, stress, and the insecurity of income. In this ESL lesson plan on digital nomads, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what digital nomads are, how they work, and the pros and cons of this lifestyle.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Tourism Day, which takes place in September. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

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):

The Remote Nomad | The Pros and Cons of Being a Digital Nomad

The article, from the perspective of a digital nomad living in Bali, gives a list of pros and cons of this lifestyle. Pros include non-stop travel, inspiration, and meeting new people. Cons include loneliness, avoiding distractions, and the search for reliable wifi. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.

The video for this class is a called “Future of Work | Digital Nomads: The Changing World of Work” by PBS which lo looks at the lives of digital nomads in Thailand, and their thoughts about this lifestyle.

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 and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the best jobs for a digital nomad to do, personal qualities a digital nomad needs, and how exciting it would be to be a digital nomad.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with digital nomads such as remote working, steady paycheck and freelancer. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. 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 listening questions. Before checking the answers, 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 digital nomads. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as how stressful it would be to be a digital nomad, how they can stay focused on their work and avoid distractions, and whether there will be an increase in digital nomads in the future.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of digital nomads. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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