Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ESL Interactive Listening and Speaking Activity for Any Classroom

English: Conversational American English, Less...Image via Wikipediaby Andrew Lawton

ESL teachers are always looking to get their students to practice speaking. This next activity will get each student speaking and listening to sentences that contain the grammar and vocabulary that you are covering for that week.

To prepare, write down ten sentences that include key ESL vocabulary and grammar from whatever you are studying at the time. Make the sentences brief and understandable for your students. Make about ten copies of this sheet of paper to hand out to the students in the first seat in the row.

When students are ready, have them sit in rows of about five students. Inform the class that the first person in each row will receive the paper with the English sentences. This person is to quietly read the sentence to the person in the next seat behind him. This student who is listening is not to see the paper.

He can only use his ears to understand what is being said. He may ask his friend to repeat the words as many times as he needs. The goal is to hear the sentence, understand it and quietly repeat it to the next person in the row. This continues until the last student hears it.

Once everyone in the row has heard the sentence the last person is to stand and tell the teacher, and his group, what he heard. The original message may be lost after the sentence has been passed back a few times. As the teacher, you can decide if you want the group to start again, or if you’d like to just write on the board what the sentence was.

Another way of making this a good learning experience is to have the last student go to the board and write what he thinks the sentence is. The first student, the one who has the sheet of paper, will write the original version below that. Each row member will be able to see how close or how far off they were.

For this ESL activity you may want to put the lower level students in the same row and make the sentences shorter. If you are teaching a beginner level class you can even write out ESL vocabulary words instead of entire sentences. I would do this activity for about five or six rounds and then move on to something else.

Andrew Lawton

About the Author

I am an ESL and Spanish teacher in Austin, TX.
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