Flying

“Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?”

Erma Bombeck (1927 – 1996), American humourist
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LESSON OVERVIEW

This free ESL lesson plan on flying 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.

As flying becomes more affordable, more and more people are taking advantage of this to explore the world and see new places. But before they arrive at their destination, they have to endure the airport and the flight itself. For some people, this can be a wholly enjoyable experience. For others, it can be extremely stressful and tiring. Not only that, the increase in demand for air travel is one of the greatest contributors to global warming and climate change. But what is the alternative? Is it fair that only the rich should be able to see different places in the world? Or is it more important to protect the environment? In this ESL lesson plan on flying and airports, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as their experiences on planes and in airports, and how flying affects the environment.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for International Civil Aviation Day, which takes place in December. 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):

HuffPost | 23 Ways To Make Long Flights Less Miserable

The article collects a number of pieces of advice from travel bloggers and other experts on how to make flying more enjoyable including stretching exercises, keeping hydrated and choosing the aisle seat. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. 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. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “Can Flying Go Green?” by The Economist which looks at research currently taking place to create hydrogen fuel that could drastically reduce the aviation industry’s damaging effect on the environment.

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 what the students enjoy and hate about flying, their favourite airlines and airports, and the differences between business and economy class.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with flying and airports such as red-eye flight, budget airline and emergency landing. 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 flying. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the problems people can experience at the airport, their opinion of airport security procedures, and how the environmental impact of flying could be reduced.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of flying. 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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