Learning Paths

Resource survey


To make students aware of the local resources available to practise English


Even if they live in a non-English speaking country, students need to make the most of what is available locally to continue practising English outside the classroom. This activity allows them to research useful resources and to share the results of their survey.


A task sheet (optional) for each student


Pre-intermediate upwards; the activity is designed for students living in a non-English speaking country, but can appeal to people studying in ESL or other contexts


Lexical set (media and resources to practise English)


Although the survey will be made by the students, you too may wish to collect information about local resources, either before or while the students carry out their task, and add your information to the results of the survey


1. Ask the students: How often do you use English outside the class? Do you happen to listen to/speak/read/write it? When? With whom? What for? Do you know about ways that others have found useful to practise English, even if they don't or can't follow regular English classes? Try to elicit the variety of opportunities that are available locally, and list them on the board in different sections, e.g.

  • newspapers - magazines - readers - advertisements
  • cinema - videos - TV programmes
  • CD-Roms - the Internet - e-mail

but don't go into too much detail - a fuller list will be available as a result of the survey.

2. Suggest that the students carry out a small survey to find out what is actually available where they live to practise English. Hand out the task sheet or write it on the board for the students to copy. Go through its headings and make sure the students understand them.

3. Ask the students in the next two weeks to find out as many resources as they can and list them, under the relevant headings, with all the necessary details. Suggest that they make a note of what they already know, notice new resources, ask friends and relatives, check local magazines, visit information centres, and collect any useful materials. Give one or two examples: If you know a good bookshop where you can get bargain books, write its address. If you find a library where you can borrow CDs, write its address and opening hours, take some application forms if possible, list the kinds of materials available, etc. Make the point that the final list should allow the students to really use the resources if they want to.

4. After two weeks, ask the students to pool their information in small groups and produce a list of resources following the format of the task sheet. They can attach any materials they were able to collect.


The opening "brainstorming" activity in 1. above can first be done in pairs or small groups. Write the sample questions on the board if you wish to give the students more structured guidelines.



The students can make their survey in pairs if they wish. In this case they will be responsible for producing a joint list.



In addition to or instead of making photocopies, the lists can be collected on a poster to be permanently displayed in the classroom and updated regularly.



Encourage the students to use the resources. Regularly refer them to their lists and remind them of the opportunities available, as well as of other local events (shows, exhibitions, etc.).


Resource Opportunities
available (e.g. people, materials)|
Other details (e.g. location, times, cost) Why it is useful (e.g. to practise listening,speaking, reading, writing; to improve grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation)



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