3 Communicative Activities for Teaching Eating out

3 Communicative Activities for Teaching Eating Out Title Pic

Food – it’s one of those topics that everyone likes to learn about! Everyone loves food and they especially want to be able to have the language skills to order food when travelling in another country, well, it’s essential to eat, right?!

So, to be able to order food at an Indonesian restaurant, one needs to have the skills to communicate clearly, and this is one reason why communicative activities are a great method for students to learn through.

Food is also a huge part of the Indonesian culture. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s delicious! And it’s a big part of all cultural festivities and celebrations all over Indonesia. I’m a big believer in language and culture being intertwined; they belong hand-in-hand. In other words, you can’t have one without the other.

Indo food collage

There are of course loads of different activities that can be included in your Indonesian Languages Program when focusing on food and eating out at a restaurant. But, I think one of the most popular activities to include in your Languages program when covering the topic of food and eating out at a restaurant is probably; creating and performing role-plays of eating out at an Indonesian restaurant with customers and a waiter/waitress, using either a menu that the students have designed themselves or accessing one from the internet or using realia that you may have collected on your travels in Indonesia {I have heaps of these!}. I also think role-plays are a great activity {no denying that!}, especially for assessment purposes but today I’d like to share with you a few other communicative activities that you could include in your Indonesian Languages program, perhaps leading up to your formal assessment task such as; a role-play.

What is Communicative Language Teaching?

Communicative language teaching {CLT} or the communicative approach to language teaching emphasises interaction including any activities that encourage and require a learner to speak with and listen to other learners. Communicative activities have real purpose to find information, break down barriers, talk about self, and learn about the culture. Even when a lesson is focused on developing reading or writing skills, communicative activities should be integrated into the lesson.

Furthermore, research on second language acquisition {SLA} suggests that more learning takes place when students are engaged in relevant tasks within a dynamic learning environment rather than in traditional teacher-led classes {Moss & Ross-Feldman, 2003}.

Classroom activities  used in communicative language teaching include the following:

  • role-plays
  • interviews
  • information gap/information exchange
  • games
  • language exchanges
  • surveys
  • pair-work

So what are the benefits of using Communicative Activities?

  • more exposure to Target Language
  • more authentic opportunities to USE the language
  • fun and interesting for learners
  • provides opportunities to use authentic materials

So, lets look at…

 3 communicative activities for you to try out in your Indonesian Languages Program

  1. Roda-roda bercerita – Story Wheels

Getting students to be creative and confident with their oral language skills can be a difficult task at times. To encourage apprehensive learners to speak up is not such a difficult task when they are given some encouragement and some guided language support.

One activity that is great for getting students speaking out loud and communicate with peers is ‘Roda-roda bercerita’. The vocabulary is provided for the students so that they have some added support to assist them.

Reproduce each wheel on a separate piece of card and assemble the wheels with a split pin. Students take turns to close their eyes and spin each of the wheels. Each student then makes up a sentence/story using the words in a sector of the choice {i.e. one word from each card, words that are closely aligned in one sector}.

How to make this a communicative task? Get students to work in pairs or small groups and students can ask questions to each other in regards to their chosen words. So rather than students just telling their story, they can spin each of the wheels then other students can ask questions to prompt sentences and/or a story e.g. Naik apa?, Kapan?, Mau/Ke mana?, Melakukan apa?, Makan apa?, Minum apa? etc.

Roda-roda bercerita sample pic

Click here to access and download the ‘Roda-roda bercerita Makan + Minum’ pdf doc.

2. Bertukar Informasi – Information Exchange

I LOVE information exchange activities! I think they are fun, engaging and challenging for learners, as well as communicative, of course. An information gap or information exchange activity is a technique in language teaching where students are missing information necessary to complete a task or solve a problem, and must communicate with a partner or their classmates to fill in the gaps. Information exchange activities are often used in communicative language teaching and task-based language learning.

This information exchange activity is where students share information to complete a food diary of Ketut who is on holidays in Bali. Working in pairs, students each have an info exchange activity sheet, one student will receive worksheet A and the other worksheet B. Each worksheet has different information on it, showing Ketut’s food diary however some information is missing therefore students must question one another to find out what the missing information is on each of their activity sheets i.e. what meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner are missing from each diary. Students question one another to find out what the missing food and drinks are on Ketut’s holiday food diary, until their food diary is all complete, then students can check with each other’s diary to see if they were correct.

It’s a great communicative task where students MUST communicate with their partner to be able to complete the task at hand.

TIP: To make this activity more challenging for older students, it could be adapted to include images rather than text where students would need to remember what all the food and drink vocabulary are {or you could even include both an image and text for additional support for younger learners}.

Info exchange activity sample pic

Click here to access and download the ‘Information Exchange Activity: Ketut’s holiday food diary’ pdf doc.

3. Carilah teman yang cocok – Find a friend that matches

This is another favourite communicative activity of mine. It’s another activity where students NEED to communicate with other classmates to find the information that they need to complete a task.

Students are each given a card with specific information on it about where they are going to eat, what they are going to eat and/or drink, what day they will do this and what form of transport they will use to get there. This information can easily be adapted to whatever specific language vocabulary your students are familiar with e.g. if your students haven’t learnt days of the week or forms of transport then these two vocabulary sections can be omitted, and of course if you wanted to add another specific topic you could do that too e.g. if your students have learnt time {o’clock phrases} then time vocabulary phrases could be added. It’s so versatile and could be used for any language topics of your choice.

Students walk around the room and ask other students specific questions in regards to their card until they find a classmate who has the exact same information as themselves i.e. another student who is going to the same place to eat, on the same day, using the same form of transport and they will eat/drink the same items too. Play until all students find their match.

You can play this a couple of times so that students have the opportunity to practice using different vocabulary and language phrases, and thus in turn will feel more confident in using the target language.

TIP: These little cards are great to cut out, paste onto some thick card {or Manilla folders} and laminate, then you’ll have them for years to come as they won’t get bent, damaged or dirty.

Ayo kita makan Activity cards sample pic

Click here to access and download the ‘Carilah teman yang cocok – Ayo kita makan!’ Activity cards pdf doc.

So there you have it folks – 3 communicative activities that could be included into your Indonesian Language Program {remembering that these activities could be adapted for any topic}. I hope I have included something new for you to try out, as I think it’s really important to include a variety of communicative activities for your students to work on. Variety is the spice of life, right?! {It works in the classroom too!}

For further resources to support a learning topic of food and eating out at a restaurant, go to the Language Learning Space. You can search the Challenges section in the LLS to find the challenge ‘Premans of Padang’ where students can read the graphic novel and learn more about language and cultural etiquette for eating out at an Indonesian restaurant. You will also find various other useful resources in this Challenge, such as; Quizlet: Makanan yang mana? for some useful vocabulary. Also, as a whole class you could read; Bacalah Halaman Jeani and watch the video: Let’s makan! 

There is also a ‘Menu Pizza Hut Indonesia’, which is great for communicative activities.

Selamat menyenangkan! 

How often do you include communicative activities in your Indonesian Language Program?

Do you have any favourite communicative activities that you’d like to share?

I’d love to see some great activities being shared in the comments below.

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