Classroom Activity: English Speaking Marathon (ESL)
ESL Level: Lower-Intermediate
No. of Students: 4-30
Activity Focus: speaking, confidence-building, fun
Class Time: 5-8 minutes
Classroom Speaking Activity Execution:
I teach a Japanese Elementary/Jr. High school. The kids don't get many opportunities to speak freely, so I designed this simple classroom speaking activity for my Jr. High school kids.
- First, put the students in pairs. Have them stand opposite their partner.
- Next, tell them that you want them to speak in English with their partner for as long as possible. Tell them they can start from How are you? and continue from there. Encourage them to try to have a normal English conversation and that it doesn't matter if they make mistakes. The purpose of this activity is to talk talk talk. Tell them that if their conversation stops for too long (e.g. 5 seconds) or they start speaking in a language other than English (e.g. Japanese), they have to sit down. The last pair standing wins the classroom speaking marathon.
- Have them start. As they speak, walk amongst them and listen. Don't correct them, but try to make sure they are using English and that they are having a real conversation (I prohibited my students from just repeating the same question back and forth).
I did this with 12 students (6 pairs). After about 10 minutes, I had to end it prematurely because it seemed like their conversations would never end. I only had to make one group sit down for speaking Japanese. The others were still talking about their families, favorite books, etc. I was surprised by how many ideas and questions my students could communicate when they didn't have to worry about making errors. I will do it again.
If you think your students would enjoy this classroom speaking activity, give it a try.
– Matthew Barton / Englishcurrent.com