Although nowadays English course books are extremely well designed to enable the teacher to create real life situation while practicing everyday conversations in English, there are some other techniques that you may find useful. These while trying to smuggle some variety into the classes can make dialogues and speaking activities more colorful and entertaining.
English course book lessons usually provide you with different types of conversational topics at each unit or chapter. Instead of just studying and using them in the exercise given, what you can do is to pick up some lines, write them down to some cards and hand them out to the students in a random order.
Then ask them to prepare for the conversation where they must use these lines. (You also have to give them the aim of the conversation.) This has proved to be very useful during my classes as the students are forced to use the new phrases by any means, so they will not only use English phrases that they have already learned.
It is also a great idea to personalize the participants of the speaking activities in question. What I mean is after you have learned and practiced the new expressions following the usual pattern you can give new identities to your students. It is mostly the famous ones that work the best (it might be a good idea to suggest some people that are connected to English language itself). You can think about culture, tales, historical events, and celebrities from Great Britain or the USA. For instance are you teaching how to give suggestions? You can appoint your students to be the seven dwarfs who are discussing what to do with the freshly arrived Snow White. “How about sending her away?” “What do you think about letting her live with us?” and so on. The variations and situations are endless here and these type of speaking activities always result in not just in hilarious moments but in memorable English lessons too.
Finally you can also play the things backwards with some of your students who have plenty of drive. You appoint students who have to act a speaking activity without words while the others are trying to dub them in English. All you have to do is ask them to use the freshly taught language: phrases and expressions connected to the topic in question.
(Note that it works only in situations that include a lot of action such as ordering in a restaurant, at the customs, shopping etc.)
Based on my experiences pupils not only love these activities but get more motivated by them.
Which techniques do you include in your English classes to make them more alive?
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