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JOHN AND SARAH FREE MATERIALS (C) 1996

10 IDEAS FOR CONVERSATION

conversation

INTRODUCTION

Here is a selection of 10 ideas for use with adult learners to stimulate conversation and speaking. Most of them are not my own original ideas and most experienced teachers probably already know most of them. You will find variations of these ideas in almost any TEFL book. If you work with other teachers try these ideas out in the staffroom as well.

SPEAKING FOR 1 MINUTE:

For small groups. You have a list a subjects to talk about. e.g. Football, the sex life of the inside of a ping-pong ball, cooking. etc. You choose one person to start talking about the subject. If the person repeats a word, hesitates or makes a gramatical error, another person in the group can take over by saying error, hesitation or repetition. It is the teachers job to decide quickly if the interruption is valid. The person who interrupts them must continue. The winner is the person talking at the end of the minute.

YES/NO GAME

Everyone must have played the game in which one person must avoid saying yes or no when asked many questions by the others in the group. The winner is the person who can survive longest. Strangely it seems to be less difficult for a non-native speaker to avoid saying yes/no

CALL MY BLUFF

You need a big (bilingual) dictionary for this one. A student looks in the dictionary and finds a word which seems very obscure. That student gives a definition of the word to the others. The definition must be either 100% true or 100% false. When the student has finished the others must decide if the definition was bluff or true. The student receives a point for each person who is decieved.

VARIATION:

Instead of using definitions. The students must tell the others something about themselves which is 100% true or 100% false. E.G. I always tell them that my second cousin was the tallest ever woman to live in Britain and tell them some things about it. This happens to be true. This is an excellent game for compulsive liars.

RANKING AND NEGOTIATING GAMES:

If you look in almost any TEFL book you will find ranking games. A group of students have to decide what to take from a series of objects for a particular situation. E.G: To get to the north pole, or survive on a desert island. One variation which I thought of that works well is this: All your students are going on holiday or emigrating to another country in a small car. Each student has 2 objects that they want to take. E.G. A violin, a big dog, 20 bottles of whisky. Each person must argue in favour of their own choices. The student with the most inventive argument wins rather than the most sensible idea.

BOARD GAMES:

It is possible to modify a whole series of board games for TEFL. For example pictionary, taboo. Also you can get ideas from game shows that are on television.

LATERAL THINKING QUESTIONS

: You may have played this game before. You tell the students a story. They have to discover the explanation of the story by asking questions. You can only answer yes/no or not important. E.G. A man lives on the 10th floor of a block of flats. Every morning he gets in the lift, goes down to the ground floor gets in his car and goes to work. When he returns from work he gets into the lift goes to the 7th floor and then walks the rest of the way to his flat using the stairs. Why? Answer: He is a dwarf and can only reach the button for the 7th floor.

WOMEN'S MAGAZINES

Do the questionaires from womens magazines. The ones that find out if you are honest or not etc. Get the students to make their own questionaires in groups and then try them out on each other.

SPEAK ABOUT CARDS

Get some small cards and write a topic of conversation on each one. Give each group a pile of them. When a student turns over a card he must talk about that subject. This often leads to spontaneous conversations with the students forgetting about the game which in my opinion is excellent. Some ideas for topics are :- The happiest moment of my life, the pets I have had, what happened to me last weekend, my ambitions, my ideal day etc. You should change the topics according to the class. This is also a way of introducing polemic topics etc. legalisation of drugs, capital punishemnt etc.

FAIRY STORIES

Get the students to tell each other fairy stories or traditional children's stories from their countries. One variation is to choose a fairy story that everyone knows e.g. Little red riding hood and get small groups to tell the story. (going in a clockwise direction) Each person can only add one word.

Free Materials From John and Sarah. Lingolex.

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