Pronunciation whispers

This activity is based on the fun and effective game of 'whispers'. It can be used with all ages and levels in a number of ways and for different elements of pronunciation.

Del Spafford


  • Demonstrate the game of 'whispers'. Separate the class into two teams and have them stand or sit in a row one behind the other. The student at the front should be able to write on the board or have a pen and piece of paper in front of them.
  • Dictate a word or sentence suitable for the level and age that you're teaching to the two students at the end of each line. 
  • They then whisper the sentence to the person in front of them who in turn does the same. This is repeated until it reaches the two students at the front of each line who then write what they heard on the board. The aim is for the word or sentence to be the same as the teacher's.
  • Correct any mistakes. Points can then be awarded both for which team was first and for which team was the most accurate.
  • Now write words or sentences on the board depending on their stress pattern. Make two sets for each group. For example if dealing with the stress of individual words such as countries you might write the following (without the answers in brackets):

0O (Japan)
O0 (Thailand)
00O00 (Indonesia)
0O00 (Australia)
O (Spain)
O00 (Mexico)

  • Now without drilling any pronunciation beforehand repeat the activity as above but now students must write the dictated word next to the stress pattern.

Extension and adaptations

  • Dictate only the word or sentence and students write the stress pattern.
  • Dictate the stress pattern and students write the word
  • Do the same activity as a pair dictation. Dictate a sentence but say one word with the incorrect stress pattern. Students dictate and write down the word pronounced incorrectly.
Language Level

Research and insight

We have hundreds of case studies, research papers, publications and resource books written by researchers and experts in ELT from around the world. 

See our publications, research and insight

Sign up to our newsletter for teaching ideas and free resources

We will process your data to send you our newsletter and updates based on your consent. You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of every email. Read our privacy policy for more information.