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Role-play: I Need to Mail This Letter to Mexico

Language for Going to the Post Office by Chris Gunn





Post Office Customer Activity Sheet


Post Office Clerk Activity Sheet


Post Office Rate Sheet


Customer Errands Sheets






Purpose and Audience:


This role-play is intended for false beginners who are working in the postal industry or need some survival travel English skills. The role-play includes the language for talking about delivering letters, parcels, packages, and postcards. The role-play also presents an opportunity to go over numbers used for dollar amounts such as $12.95 or $42.00. As well teachers can go over talking about the time something takes such as 2-3 days (read two to three days or between two and three days).





As one possible warm-up, I bring a letter and a parcel into class and tell the class that I have to deliver these. I ask where the post office is. After I get directions, I tell them I'm worried because the letter is a very important letter and I don't want it get lost in the mail or I tell them it's my friend's birthday next week and I want the parcel to get there on time. I see what responses this elicits. Hopefully, somebody will suggest I use a courier or special delivery. Then we talk about rates and schedules writing down expressions on the board as needed.


Another possible warm-up is to give the parcel and letters to the students and then start the class with: Welcome to Chris's Post Office. How can I help you?


If the students simply say that they want to mail the parcel, I counter with: That'll be $1000 dollars please (or you could use an outrageous amount in the local currency). Hopefully, this will draw a shocked response and they should start inquiring as to why it's so expensive. I tell them it's because its super speedy delivery. This should get them to inquire about other more reasonable options, which is a big part of the role-play.



Class Set-up for Role-play:


The students are divided into customers doing errands at the post office and post office clerks. The customers need a customer activity sheet and and errand list. Post office clerks need a post office clerk activity sheet and a complete schedule of postal rates. I usually have a row of desks with all of the post office clerks on one side and all of the customers sitting on the other.


Class Activity:


Customers go from post office to post office mailing one item on their errand list at a time. While doing this, they should record the prices and delivery times on the customer activity sheet. Post office clerks wait for customers to come into their post offices. The clerks then give the customers the required information and fill out their postal clerk activity sheets.



Need more Survival Travel English Role-plays?





All materials  (c) 2007 Lanternfish ESL