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

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

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 teenager's room (four of which contain a micro chip), four singers (three of them write their own songs).

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.
Author: 
Clare Lavery
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