Rachael Roberts - A favourite speaking activity

This is one of my favourite speaking activities because a) it’s really flexible and can be done with any level and at any stage of the course (though it works particularly well for a first lesson or a cover lesson), b) it takes very little or even no preparation if you’re good at thinking on your feet, and c) students always enjoy it.

First, think of a set of 10-12 questions that you don’t mind answering about yourself and your life and write the answers on the board (not the questions). The questions will depend on the level and how well the students already know you.

For example, some lower level questions might be:

  • Where do you live?
  • How many children do you have?
  • What countries have you visited?
  • What is your favourite food?
  • What are your hobbies?

Some higher level questions:

  • What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
  • What could you do as a child that you can’t do now?
  • Which famous person do you most admire?
  • What are you afraid of?

The only ‘rule’ is that you can’t make them yes/no questions.

Once you have written the answers on the board, ask the students to discuss in pairs or small groups what they think the questions are. Elicit ideas from the class, and, especially at lower levels, take the opportunity to correct any mistakes with question forms.

Then put students into pairs and ask them to interview each other using the same questions. Let them know that it is OK if there are any questions they don’t want to answer, and teach them a suitable phrase for this, such as ‘I’d rather not say.’ They should make notes about the answers.

The students use the notes from interviewing their partner to write a short text about their partner. They shouldn’t use the name of their partner, just ‘this person.’

Finally, put the completed articles up on the wall and number them. The students should walk around and read the articles and try to guess who each article is about.


Average: 5 (2 votes)

Submitted by mamascarlatti@… on Fri, 09/23/2016 - 22:32

Thank you for this idea. I am going to use it on the first day of the next term for my community class. Love the way you can change it each term by changing the questions.

Submitted by tashirabdan on Wed, 07/20/2016 - 05:43

this is a good activity, and I like it shows learner-centered principles behind.

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