TESOL/Guided listening and speaking

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Students learning English as a second language should have plenty of opportunities to practice using English with message-focused activities. The focus is not on the form of the language but on communicating a message.

What is it?[edit]

A popular technique is called "What is it?". It has basically the following steps:

  1. The teacher describes something to the students. For example, the teacher says:

"It is flat. It is used in the kitchen. It is made of wood or plastic. You use it for cutting."

  1. The students respond with "cutting board" or just by pointing to a picture of a cutting board.
  2. Roles are switched and the students describe something to the teacher.
  3. Students work in pairs and one student describes something to another who must identify it.

Listening grids[edit]

Another popular activity, appropriate for many levels, is "listening grids."

One student gives some information, for example about which sports they like. The other students have a grid in which they check off boxes with the possible answers. For example, one student, let's say Alex, says:

"Noisy people bother me. People who are late bother me. Bad drivers bother me. People who often complain don't bother me."

The other students check off a grid like this:

Name Noisy people People who are late Bad drivers People who complain
Alex Yes Yes Yes No
Pat
Terry
Jane

Surveys[edit]

Surveys are very similar but are different in that students ask each other questions rather than students presenting to the whole class without being questioned.

Interviews[edit]

Interviews are similar to surveys but involve more freedom concerning which questions are asked, although the interviewer should have a specific topic with specific types of questions. For example, an interviewer may ask about the other student's life with questions like these:

  • Where were you born?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Did you go to university?
    • What did you study?
  • Who did you work for?

Games[edit]

Quizzes[edit]

If the teacher gives points for answers, a simple quiz can become a game and become more engaging to the students. For example, if the students have a picture like the one below in their books, the teacher asks everyone, clearly indicating the picture, "What's his name?", and the first person to answer "Steve" gets a point.

Name: Steve
Job: Artist
Favorite food: pizza

Tic-tac-toe[edit]

Students work with in pairs with one board. Each square has a picture, and to take a square, the student must name the picture.

Bingo[edit]

Each student has a bingo board with vocabulary or pictures. The teacher calls items.