Doctors and patients - speaking activity

This lesson can take anything from half an hour to an hour and a half. Divide your class in half, half are doctors, half are patients.

Gillie Cunningham


  • Put the patients in an area of the class which becomes the waiting room. The patients should either come up with their own symptoms, or you can give them a few ideas - the one who wakes up in the morning feeling sick, the one who can’t sleep or the one who’s putting on a lot of weight or the one who’s losing weight - you can have any kind of ailment you want and the idea is that every patient should visit every doctor and get advice from that doctor.
  • Be careful to set a time limit for each consultation with the doctors. Once the patients have visited each doctor – they may want to make notes of the advice given – they return to the waiting area and decide who was the best doctor, and perhaps who was the craziest! Meanwhile, the doctors all get together, because they are at a medical conference, and they have to compare the advice they’d given – and perhaps decide who was the craziest patient!

This activity can be used for both vocabulary and structures - you can use it for reported speech (‘He said...', 'He told me…’), you can use it for practising modals like ‘should’ or ‘must’, or for practising verb patterns such as ‘He suggested I should...’ or 'He insisted on my doing...’ or 'He told me to do...’, etc.

It’s usually a great fun lesson, students love it because there’s lots of speaking and listening practice and they can use their imaginations and senses of humour.

Language Level

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