Get your students talking with this fun discussion game
From Shelley Ann Vernon
I hope you had a chance to try out Rhyming Challenge with your intermediate to advanced students.
Here is a fantastic speaking fluency activity, also for intermediates to advanced students. There are also important tips here about communication for all speaking activities.
Persuasion from Exciting Adult ESL Activities
Category: Step 5 Speaking fluency
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Group size: Any class size
Materials: Optional fact sheets
Preparation: Have students prepare for the game for homework using your chosen topic
You pick some hot topics, go to class excited, only to find that students don’t have much to say, and discussion fizzles out. The problem is that the students do not have a real reason to communicate and the setting is artificial. So if you give a compelling reason for the students to speak and to listen you will find the conversation flows more readily.
Use this persuasion technique to generate a reason to communicate and stimulate the students. You can discuss any topic with this activity. It is ideal for special subjects as it is for general language.
Here is a detailed example using the topic talking about your dream home. First brainstorm with the class about ideal features for a dream home. With lower intermediates jot new vocabulary the class comes up with as they call out their ideas.
Specify the type of information that is needed such as location, proximity to services, environment, size, grounds, extra features such as pool or gym, parking, architectural style, whether modern or character and so on.
Now either give out real estate information on several homes to half of the students who are estate agents, or let students prepare descriptions of their ideal home for homework. Once you have your dream home specifications, either because you have prepared them or the students have done so for homework, split the class into estate agents and home buyers. Give students a reason to communicate. Home buyers have a few minutes to interview three or four estate agents and choose a property from those on offer. Estate agents only have one or two houses in their portfolio which they are very keen to sell. House buyers may visit several estate agents with a time limit of a few minutes at each one before making their choice. See which estate agents make the most sales.
Adapt this game to any topic!
Persuasion is adaptable to many topics. Here are a few examples:
– Favorite holiday destination: Travel agents and customers
– Best product: Salesmen and customers
– Favorite day out: Tour guides and customers
– Food for the school canteen: Nutritionists and parents
– Which school for your child? Headmasters and parents
– Which job? Employers and Employees
– Which bank? Bank managers and customers (ideal for business English) Give the bank managers the task of choosing a bank and reading up on the terms for homework.
– Which party? Hosts describe what their party will be like and guests decide which party they want to go to
– Which political party? Party leaders describe their policies and voters decide who to vote for. Allow for some outrageous parties such as the Monster Raving Loony Party from the UK. Be sure students know they can take on a role rather than express personal views. Have students each prepare a party manifesto for homework that can be used in the pair work in class.
– Which pet? A pet lover tries to sell his idea of the best pet to a potential pet buyer.
– Which country? Ambassadors try to attract immigrants to their country. If you have refugees or feel that this is too sensitive a topic for your class play with imaginary countries that have fantasy ideas such as free food for children and so on.
Games from "ESL Activities for Teens and Adults" DO work!
“I always use your games when the class is feeling a bit flat. It really works. Some of my colleagues have observed my classes keenly to see if the games work. They all like your games. I owe my success to you.”
Roya Brahimi, Iran
I hope you are successful with this in your classes – the thing is to try it out right away. Once you have done it once it will be an extra string to your bow and something you can use over and over again to make your lessons more passionate and meaningful.
Remember – students can prepare the scenarios for homework themselves.
Shelley Ann Vernon
Teaching English Games
P.S. Check out the full resource here, while it is such a great deal, with 70 pages of printable templates or games included with the book: Get your students motivated!
Also in paperback