I think my friend Thomas Sauer has already blogged about this and other lessons that should all be buried side by side in the same language lesson cemetery, but I think it is worth saying again. Here's why I think it is time to move on from teaching kids to give directions in the target language:
Just Ask Siri
Technology can do this for anyone who needs directions, it can do it much better than the average human and with more knowledge than we have.
Who's the Expert, Really?
If our students were in a situation in which TL was the only option, they would be receiving, not giving directions. If you still think someone needs directions, please refer to my previous point.
X Marks the Spot
Even still, the probably wouldn't need more than the answer to this question, "Where is X?" The answer to that question is not that complicated. Prepositions of location are more necessary to explain where things are rather than how to get there. We use them in much higher frequency in that way than we do giving directions to other people.
Are They of Age Yet?
Most of our students don't drive yet, so why ask them to ask for and get directions that only a driver could benefit from?
Who Do You Think You Are Talking To?
Using commands can be perceived as rude if used in the wrong context and with an audience of people the speaker doesn't know well. If you MUST teach commands, they are better for communicating tips for how to do things to a wider audience rather than telling specific people to do things.
Would You Want to Learn This?
Not sure what else I can say about this except, if you had to sit through your language class again, would this be the lesson you picked to study again? Why not something that you can get excited about? What ever made us thing students want to talk about this anyway? Don't forget that most of our students are secondary students. They are older and deserve to think at that cognitive level. Could we be insulting their intelligence by having them think at this level? How can we get them to talk about cities and communities at a cognitive level that is age appropriate even if the language level is lower?
But, It's In the Book!
So, what? Spend your time on something more meaningful. I mean, how much can you do with directions before it gets boring anyway?
End of Rant
I know that I am probably going to hear about this post from someone. I am okay with that, but really, can we bury this lesson, chapter, unit now? There are so many more interesting things to think and talk about!
Let's find them!
Happy Coaching, Friends!