Understanding Fluency: TEFL Speaking Activities Part II

By Joshua Yardley
April 6, 2012
ESL Icebreaker Speaking Activity

Here’s an activity that doesn’t involve as much repetition as those described in my previous blog about speaking activities in the TEFL classroom, but utilizes a lot more student interaction instead.Start by giving each student a card with a different number on it. If you’ve got ten students, number the cards one through ten. On each of the numbered cards, also write a topic, e.g. family, travel, food, work, etc.

Allow them a minute or two to think about their topic. Tell them they will be asked to speak about that topic for three minutes.Once everyone has thought about what they are going to say, call out a random number. The student who has that number will then speak for three minutes about their given topic.

When the three minutes are up, the speaker calls out another random number. The student who has the number that the speaker called out must now ask the speaker two questions about what he or she said. For example, if the speaker described a recent vacation, the questioner may ask why that destination was chosen.

After the questioner has asked their two questions, they call out a new number and the student who has that number must ask the original speaker two more questions.

At this point, if you’ve followed my instructions correctly, three students will have participated and the speaker will have answered four questions. Now the second questioner calls out a number and the holder of that card must speak for three minutes about their topic, and a new cycle begins.

As I stated in the beginning, this activity involves actual student interaction as opposed to those I described in my last blog. Students are forced to listen closely to what each other says because they never know whose number will be called next.