TeachingEnglish
True / False stories

This speaking activity is very effective for practising the telling of stories and for learning fascinating things about the students in the class.

Preparation
You don't need any materials for this, just an invented story that you are ready to tell.

Procedure

  • Tell the students an interesting story about yourself and describe in detail what happened. At the end of the story, give them an opportunity to ask you questions about the story. Finally, ask them to decide if they think the story is true or false. (This must be the first point at which you indicate it may not be true). Of course the story was untrue and now it's the students' turn to make up stories.
  • Put the students into groups of two or three and tell them to prepare two stories for the class. Each student must have one story to tell, in a pair one story must be true and one must be false. In a group of three you can have one true and two false, or two true and one false. The important thing is that the false stories must be realistic and the true stories must be unusual.
  • Make yourself available to help the students with language for the stories and make notes for problem areas to work on during the final feedback session. Also, give the students the opportunity to practise telling their stories to each other before they do them in front of the whole class. You may even let them make notes to use while telling the story, but try to avoid letting them write down the whole of the story.
  • Ask each group in turn to come to the front and tell the rest of the class their stories. After each story is told, the class can ask some questions. When all in the group have told their stories, ask the students to decide which are true and which are false. Finally, reveal to the class the truth about the stories.
  • When all the groups have finished their stories, conduct a feedback session and highlight the effective language that was used as well as the language that needs to be worked on.

 

Variations
It can be very intimidating and time-consuming talking in front of a large class so if you feel it is appropriate, it would be a good idea to match groups (e.g. three groups together) to tell each other their stories.

Richard Frost, British Council, Turkey

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