Part 2 of this series on fluent speaking described a few TEFL speaking activities that involved student interaction. The next set of ideas also involve a great deal of interaction, but involve a slightly more authentic task: problem solving.

In each of the activities below, the students are first presented with a problem that requires a solution. Together they must come up with an answer. More than likely, the teacher will provide the problem. I would suggest identifying real world issues facing the learners in that particular group.

Suggest

As a group, the students should create a list of suggestions on how to solve a particular problem. You may want to limit the number of suggestions to 3, but before you do, encourage them to come up with as many as possible and whittle the list down to the best.

Choose or Decide

Students choose from a list of suggestions. These suggestions could come from the teacher or be actual suggestions for the given problem. The suggestions may also come from another group of students. In fact, run a choose activity after a suggest activity.

This can also be done as a pyramid activity. Tell each student to work individually and come up with 3 options. Then put students into pairs and have partners consolidate the 2 lists into 1. Then put them into groups of 4, and again ask them to consolidate their lists. Eventually the whole class will have to agree on the top 3 options.

Rank

Instead of having students choose one suggestion, you could have them rank the suggestions. Again, the options can come from you or from their peers.

Locate or Arrange

This works really well for issues facing a community. You can ask the students to locate the best place to build a new school or hospital. You could also tell them to arrange buildings in a new development or furniture in a room.