Learners beyond intermediate level require more opportunities to speak at length. It can be a challenge to find interesting topics and we can sometimes concentrate too much on issues and topics in the news. The following activities add a lighter touch whilst tapping into students' interests and sense of fun. The key is to choose subject matter in tune with the students in your classes.
Just a minute: (like the Radio 4 game)
Each contestant is given a topic and must talk for one minute about it without hesitating, repeating information or deviating from the topic.
Things in common: (like 'I've got news for you' TV game)
Each team is given four pictures/photos of people, objects, places or a list of four words (people, things etc.). One of the four items is the odd one out and they must decide what three of them have in common.
Challenges can draw on your students' knowledge and curriculum interests or their outside musical, sporting and cultural interests, e.g. four items commonly found in a teenagers room (four of which contain a micro chip), four singers (three of them write their own songs).
Group decision making
Slaves to fashion
Take a fashion item which is important to young people in the country where you are working.
- Ask students to bring as many pictures of these items from magazines (bring your own too). This could be footwear or coats/jackets. Put students in groups to compare their photos. Ask them to divide the collection into three categories: fashionable, practical, both.
- Each group must then choose the best possible style for their age range and explain their choice to the rest of the class.
This can lead in to discussions on how important it is to be fashionable/peer pressure/marketing to young people/parental attitudes to their choice of clothes etc.
Let's have a holiday
- Give each group a handout featuring adverts for 4 or 5 holidays. Adverts can be from travel brochures, Sunday papers etc. These can be pure fantasy holidays, adventure holidays/off the beaten track (climbing Everest, exploring the Amazon) or holidays in the British Isles ( a city based visit, a sporting/outdoor visit, a cultural visit to historical sites etc.)
- The group must come to a decision on a holiday to book together and then explain their choice to the class.
This can lead into a discussion on the best places for holidays in their country or a wider issue like the idea of future holidays in space.
Fluency versus accuracy p28
Correction during fluency activities p31
Organising groups p19, 53-4
Types of fluency practice p41-45
Games for fluency p97