Fun Activities That Get Your Students Speaking

Learning a new language is one of the hardest things to do and speaking in front of the class is a daunting experience, for even the most confident of learners.  By using these fun speaking activities, your students will really engage with the lesson, helping them to gain confidence and improve learning English.

Activity 1: Chinese Whispers

Everyone loves a game of Chinese Whispers!  Divide the class into groups of between 5-10 (this depends on the size of your class) get them to stand in a line and give the first person a piece of paper with a sentence/ phrase written on it they then have to whisper it to the next person and so on. The winning team is the one who gets closest to the original phrase in the quickest time.

Tip: Once the last person has heard the phrase the whole team can sit down to indicate they have finished or you could get the last person to run to the board and write the phrase down, this way you can see who is closest to the original phrase.

Activity 2: Speed Dating

Arrange the classroom into a ‘Speed dating’ setting.  Move the tables so there are just two seats per table both facing each other.  Divide the class into two groups: one group will remain sitting throughout the exercise and the other one will move seats.  Give each person a list of topics to cover in the speed date such as hobbies, holidays, interesting fact etc; and after about a minute (you can decide how long you think each pair needs) of the first pair talking swap the second group to move to talk to the next person. This is a good way to get the less confident students talking and for others to mix with people they may not have done otherwise.

Tip: Depending on the age level of the students speed dating may not be appropriate so you could instead call this ‘Mingling’.

Activity 3: Yes/No Game

In this activity, your learners have to find different ways of responding to closed questions using expressions other than ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  They also can’t nod or shake their head.  You can ask students questions about:

Personal: Name ~ Age ~ Address ~ Tel. No.
Family: Wife ~ Husband ~ Parents ~ Children ~ Siblings
Hobbies: Games ~ Activities ~ Spare Time ~ Sport
Work: How Long? ~ Where? ~ Enjoy?

Get students to agree or disagree about something (make sure they understand that they can’t say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’):
I think that Julia Roberts is very beautiful. I agree
I think that politics is very interesting. I disagree

Ask your learners “why” when they answer:
You don’t think that politics is interesting? …Why?

Here are a few suggested questions you can elicit from your learners. Get them to ask each other:

1) What’s your name? / How old are you? / Where do you come from?
2) Did you say ____________? [Repeat phrases that the students say for confirmation]
3) You’re 30 years old, aren’t you? [Tag Questions]
4) How are you?  Do you feel well?  Are you happy?
5) Are you sure?
6) Do you like your job?

Tip: Write a list of different ways your students can answer instead of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Activity 4: Board Game

Firstly divide your students into teams.  Get the first team member to stand up and make sure they have their back to the board.  Write a word on the board or show them a card.  The students must describe the word to the student with his / her back to the board without actually saying the word itself.  The students still cannot say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

You could use the following words:

Nouns: Animals ~ birds ~ cars ~ something in the classroom ~
Verbs: Walking ~ studying ~
Adjectives: Kind ~ beautiful
Activities or Games: Tennis ~ swimming
Movie Stars: Robert Pattinson ~ Julia Roberts
Key Words/Phrases From A Lesson: Phrasal verbs ~ idioms (for upper intermediate and advanced students)

Tip: You could put a time limit on how long the student has to guess the word and create a points system.  For example you get 10 points if you answer it within 30 seconds then 5 points for a minute etc.

Do you any tried and tested fun speaking activities for students?  Share them with i-to-i below!

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Comments

  1. James

    Great ideas – I’m just not sure about games like Chinese Whispers (or the old hangman) where students have little to say. Activities like speed dating are brilliant, because all students are talking at the same time.

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