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Hello readers,

Today I received a request for role-plays and dialogues from a teacher who, like all teachers, does not have much time to prepare for classes.

My teen/adult book ESL games and activities book has plenty of that type of activity.
For example Talk About It. This requires no preparation and may be used with any topic. Plus you don’t need to buy a set of books for every child, or make tons of photocopies.

Set up chairs in rows facing each other so with ten students you would have five on each side. You sit at the end of the row as timekeeper. The people on your right are talkers and have to talk about a topic for 1 minute without stopping. The people on the left are listeners and do not talk at all except to encourage the talkers and provide a word if they get stuck.

You can allow any kind of topic, serious or funny. You can hand out topics for students to talk about, have all students talking about a different topic, all about the same one, or let students choose their own topics. If you let students talk about topics of their choice they may have more to say on them, however forcing a student to talk about a topic you select can stretch their imagination and vocabulary. In general I would say that it is best to give students a choice of topics at the very least rather than force someone to talk about goldfish when they know nothing about them other than that they are orange.

With elementary kids it is vital to pick topics the children know well, such as talk about a member of your family, your pet, what you like eating, what you like doing in your spare time, describe one of your favorite TV programmes, your morning routine before school, your journey to school and what you see out of the window, and so on.

All the talkers talk at the same time so you have to accept a certain amount of noise and you cannot expect to control and correct everything that is said. This is a fluency exercise so errors are to be expected. When the minute is up, the right row moves one seat down and the last person comes to the front near you so they are talking to different people. The left side never moves. The people on the right talk on the same topic repeatedly so they have a chance to become more and more fluent at expressing themselves.

Then to give the listeners a chance to contribute and give value to their listening activity have each talker ask a listener a question about their topic. See how many listeners were really listening! In the next class swap listeners and talkers over. Keep the time carefully because this makes things move along and more fun.

With advanced students you can vary the game by giving a 2-minute talking period to allow students to go into their topic in more depth.


Have the children write up a dialogue for homework on a given
topic. Then get them to cut their dialogue into strips. Mix ALL the A’s
into one tub and ALL the B’s into another tub.

The kids then split into A’s and B’s and each one takes 5 strips from each
tub. The A’s and B’s then go through the dialogues they have randomly
taken, then swap with a different partner. Some of the dialogues will
make sense and some will be funny.

Then they could change their silly dialogue to a sensible one as a pair
and perform it to the class, the silly one and the sensible one.

You don’t have to prepare anything for that you see – the kids do the prep

More ideas like this in my teen/adult games book

Kind regards