Commuting: a business conversation lesson

I have been going to São Paulo once a week for the past year. Because of that, the topic of commuting has been on my mind quite frequently and I thought it would be a good topic for a conversation lesson.

This is a lesson aimed at adult students, particularly those who deal with long commutes. However, I have also used it successfully with students that have short commutes. The former get to think whether their life-choices are worth it while the latter get asked what would take for them to give their short commutes.


Naturally, the words ‘commute’ and ‘commuting’ are going to come up a lot during this lesson. Pre-teach them at the beginning of the lesson.

The steps below are based on a PowerPoint presentation you can download here from dropbox and here from Google Drive.

Slide 1

Get students to discuss the questions in pairs. After a few minutes, elicit answers from the whole group.

Slide 2

Show gist question and play video for the first time (from 0:10 to 3:20). You probably want to use the closed captions, as Hank speaks pretty fast and he edits out any long pauses.

Let students compares answers and then check with the whole group.

Slide 3

Show students the specific questions and play the video for the second time. Let students compare answers again before checking.

Slide 4

Show follow-up questions and clarify ‘feasible’ if necessary. Let students discuss it for a few minutes, then elicit answers from the whole group.

Slide 5

Tell students they are going to read a text about the same topic. Show questions and set a time limit for students to read it. Check understanding of ‘drawback’ before handing the text to students.

The original text can be found here and my adapted version is below.


Slide 6

In new pairs, students discuss these follow-up questions.

Slide 7

Go over the pronunciation of the words in bold, focusing on features of connected speech, then get students to match the vocabulary items to their meaning or to discuss the meaning of the words according to the context. Either way, ask CCQs to double check if students know what expressions mean.

Slide 8

In pairs, students answer conversation questions. I used ‘willing to’ to talk about moving to São Paulo, as my students live on the countryside and that’s where they often go to work. You may need to change this question according to your students’ reality.


Thanks for reading

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