Pair work activities to encourage speakingMost educators agree that student collaboration is a valuable exercise in the EFLclassroom. As it is not always easy to have your students work in groups and assign rolesto them in search of a goal, pair work is the initial step of a series that can help your classbecome more student-centered and your students turn into more autonomous learners.The question that arises is: Is working together worthwhile? Yes, not only does "pairwork immediately increase the amount of student talking time" (Harmer 1998), itprovides the students with the opportunity to communicate with each other to share"suggestions, hypothesis, insights, feedback, successes, and failures" (Nielson, 1989).Besides, by using pair work teachers reduce the prominence of their role: a factor thatsometimes hinders learning instead of fostering it.There are many ways of handling pair work but no matter how you approach it there arecertain things a teacher has to keep in mind to facilitate the outcome of the activities. Itwill not always be necessary (or appropriate or practical) to use all of these "ingredients".Finally, it is also worth remembering that the way a lesson actually unfolds will always beinfluenced by the students themselves. It pays to be alert and flexible. • Identify a "realistic" communicative context or situation. • Identify a clear objective or purpose. • Generate student interest. • Allow student preparation time if necessary. • Be aware of any useful/relevant conversational gambits. • Model, model, model. • Determine appropriate student pairs.. • Monitor. • Involve students in the self-correction of errors. • Provide a sense of conclusion.The advantages of pair work • Gives learners more speaking time • Changes the pace of the lesson • Takes the spotlight off you and puts it on the learners • Allows them to mix with everyone in the group • Gives them a sense of achievement when a goal has been reached • Teaches them how to lead and be led by someone other than the teacher • It allows you to monitor, move around the class and really listen to the language they are producing.Teaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
Suggested Activities (Adapted from different sources)1. Talking Dicea. Divide students in pairs and have them sit facing each other.b. Distribute two or three dice for each pair. A student is to start by throwing the“topic” dice to select a theme. Once they have done that, the other student throws the“question” dice to select a Wh-word and asks a questions using it to his/her partner.c. Finally the first students throws the “auxiliary” dice and asks a question using thepreviously-mentioned wh-word plus the auxiliary to his/her partner.2. Disappearing dialoguea. After teaching both the Conversation and the Grammar Focus exercises of a unit,make up a new dialog with a few sentences from the Conversation that include the newgrammar structure.b. Write the new dialogue on the board and have students practice it.c. Erase some words from the dialog, preferably words that are part of the new grammarstructure. Erase no more than one or two words per line at a time. Put a line under eacherased word.d. Have students read the dialog again, including words that are missing.e. Erase some more words and have students practice the dialog again. Continue untilthere is nothing left on the board. By then students should be familiar with the newgrammar structure.3. Back up your matcha. Organize your students in pairs and give each pair a bag with the scrambled matches.b. Have students spread out the pieces of paper and take turns finding “logicalmatches”.c. Every time a student puts the matched words together, he/she is to back it up byexplaining the reason for the match. The other student has to ask at least two questionsrelated to the topic before they can continue matching.Example:St1: “50 states” goes with “United States” because that is the number of states in thatcountry.St2: Have you ever been to the United States? or Whats your favorite city in the UnitedStates?Teaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
The cards are in order here but will obviously get mixed up when the cards are cut up. The Alphabet 26 letters 9 planets Solar System 11 players Football team 50 states United States 15 countries European Union 4 nations The United Kingdom 20 teams Italian Football League 5 players A basketball team 6 strings A guitar 5 rings Olympic flag4. BLIP (sometimes known as COFFEE POT) Guess the verbEach student is given a VERB. (See that it is suitable for the level of the class).In pairs or as a whole class, discover the VERB through QUESTIONS.The nonsense word "BLIP" should be substituted for the target VERB.Write sample QUESTIONS on the boardWhen / Where / Why / How do you blip?Can you blip someone / something / somewhere?Do you often blip?Did you blip yesterday?Are you blipping now?Are you going to blip this weekend?Teaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
Have you blipped since you arrived in England?Do you like blipping?Do you blip with your hands?If I saw you blipping, would you be embarrassed?5. Word in edgewaysa. Students work in pairs. Each partner is given a strip of paper with an unusual sentencewritten on it. They keep this concealed. If possible they try to learn the sentence byheart.b. Then they start conversing about any subject, but their real objective is to get theirgiven sentence into the conversation without their partner realising and before theirpartner is able to do the same. To do this successfully they have to move the topic ofconversation towards a context in which their sentence could naturally occur.Sample sentences for strips: 1. The farmer was carrying a yellow guitar. 2. Elvis Presley was waiting at Brighton Station 3.The bottles were full of green milk. 4. She kissed him on the nose and went to bed. 5. The French student wrote twenty love letters. 6. The policeman was dressed in pink shoes and a bow-tie 7. The plane landed on the roof of Buckingham Palace. 8. The beauty queen made me a cup of tea. 9. The fly took off again and landed on my pillow. 10 The dog slipped on the banana peel and broke its leg.Teaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
To win the game, the student has to continue speaking for a while after getting her/hissentence into the conversation without being correctly challenged. She/he canalso win by correctly challenging her/his partner as soon as they think they arereciting their sentence. If her/his challenge is wrong, you lose the game.6. Toss n TalkStudents select one person to start the conversation.The first topic is "free." The student who starts chooses a topic from the list on theboard and asks another student an appropriate question, but he/she does not play aTopic card.All questions must be directed to specific students, not the group as a whole.After the first question is asked, any student, in any order, can continue the conversationby responding (playing an "Echo" card), asking a Follow-up question, or changing thespeaker (playing a "How about you?" card). Remember: when "they say it, they play it."When a student plays a "How about you?" card, he/she should ask a related question tokeep the conversation on track. This does not count as a Follow-up question. When the conversation falters, or a student doesnt like a topic, or feels he/she doesnthave much to say about it, he/she can change the topic by announcing, "New Topic"and playing a Topic card. He/she then asks another student a question related to thenew topic, and the conversation continues.The first student to play all his/her cards is the "winner."7. Pair quiza. Divide the class into pairs and then decide with the class how many points are neededto win (six to ten points works best).b. To begin, read the first question in the first category (i.e. “Vocabulary”). Give sometime to the students to discuss the possible answer. If a member of a pair thinks they cananswer, they raise their hand and must give their answer immediately. If it is correct,their pair earns a point. If it is not correct, another pair has thirty seconds (or whateverTeaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
seems a reasonable length of time) in which to try to answer. If they answer correctly,they earn a point.c. Continue by asking one question from each category in turn. The game is over when apair reaches the target number of points.8. Finish the sentencea. Students are grouped in pairs. The teacher reads the beginning of sentence and allowstudents to think about how they want to complete it.b. Once they have finished, students say their sentences. Other students are allowed toask extra questions if they want to know more about the sentence.This is a simple activity which at first sight looks like a grammar exercise. However, thestudents must complete each unfinished phrase truthfully. The example given, forinstance, can have many different endings, according to each persons situation.Example: • My car ... o My car broke down two months ago while I was coming home from work. o My car cost a lot but I dont like it anymore.You can try . . . 1. My best friend ... 2. Last night ... 3. I have never ... 4. The third world ... 5. Politicians ... 6. Parents ... 7. I once dreamt that ...Most importantly, we would advise you to start this activity in silence, with each studentwriting down his or her own completion. This guarantees that people will not be stuckfor words, which usually happens if you present somebody with a half-finished sentenceand ask for an immediate verbal reaction. We have found that, if you give students timeto think, they will produce better sentences. The bonus here is that if, for example, youTeaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
have a group of eight, each pair will probably come up with a different finish. This willdefinitely trigger interest on the part of the other students, and reduce tension.Moreover, it is the students who get to create something. The teacher merely oversees,and hence does not dominate the class.9. Grammar reformulationLets look at another activity. Now you are teaching grammar, a subject that usuallydominates the high-school English curriculum. Particularly at exam-oriented highschools, grammar teaching through drill type exercises is popular at least among teachersif not students. Instead of explaining and drilling, ask one student from each pair to puthis/her head on the desk and take a nap or otherwise not listen to the teacher. Explain agrammar point to the "awake" students and ask them to take notes, so they can explainit to the "napping" students. Then you awake students to teach the grammar point totheir partners. Although you may fear that some students will really fall asleep, you willsee that students, who at other times may sleep, become very excited.10. Heads and tailsa. For a lower intermediate class, make photocopies (front and back) of two Word Upquestion sets from level 1 and two sets from level 2. You will need one copy of each ofthe sets for every two students.b. Collect a number of coins. You will need one coin for every two students.c. Ask each student to draw a scoring table on a sheet of paper, like this: (Students name) Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Missing Word Crossword Clues Multiple ChoiceHow it worksa. Divide the class into pairs and give each pair a coin. Then give each student onequestion and answer set from the lower level and another from the higher level (thestudents in a particular pair must have different sets).b. Players toss the coin to decide who plays first.3. The first player then tosses the coin again. If he or she throws heads, the other playerasks the first question from the first category (Missing Word) in his or her higher-levelset. If it is tails, the player asks the first Missing Word question in his or her lower-levelset. If the first player answers correctly, he or she ticks the Missing Word box underGame 1 on his or her scoring table. If the answer is not correct, the other player readsTeaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
out the correct answer(s). The second player then throws the coin and answers either ahigher-level or a lower-level Missing Word question. Then each player answers aCrossword Clues question in the same way. They continue through the various questioncategories, returning to Missing Word again after Spelling.4. Play continues with each player answering questions only from those categories theyhave yet to correctly answer a question from. For example, if a player has alreadycorrectly answered a Missing Word question, he or she skips this category when it nextcomes around and answers a question from the next category instead. Play continuesuntil one of the players has correctly answered a question from each of the fourcategories and has four ticks under Game 1.5. Each pair may then play another game, continuing with the same question sheets fromwhere they left off in the first game. There should be enough questions for at least threegames.Note:- If your class has an uneven number of students, form one group of three with the restin pairs. In the group of three, one member watches the first game and then plays thewinner in the second. The player watching the second game plays the winner in the thirdWORD UP SAMPLE QUESTIONS : LEVEL 1 - SET 1 MISSING WORD 1. What _ _ your name? (2 letters) 2. My sister works _ _ a bank. (2 letters) 3. Can you _ _ _ _ me the time, please? (4 letters) 4. Im going to _ _ _ a movie tonight. (3 letters) 5. The time is ten minutes _ _ seven. (2 letters) 6. Do you like eating Chinese _ _ _ _ ? (4 letters) 7. Would you like tea _ _ coffee? (2 letters) CROSSWORD CLUES 1. The opposite of new. o _______ 2. What can you do with a pen? w _______ 3. The early part of the day. m _______ 4. A place for learning. s _______ 5. What do you bite food with? t _______ 6. A type of fruit. a _______ 7. The brother of your mother or father. u _______Teaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
MULTIPLE CHOICE 1. What can you see at a zoo? a) movies b) doctors c) animals 2. Which country has the most people? a) India b) China c) Japan 3. "Do you like a) reading books?" b) looking books?" c) watching books?" 4. Which is the tallest animal? a) a horse b) an elephant c) a giraffe 5. Where are your lips? a) under your arms b) above your eyes c) around your mouth 6. Ham is meat from a) a cow b) a pig c) a hamster 7. West is the opposite direction to a) east b) north c) southWORD UP SAMPLE QUESTIONS : LEVEL 2 - SET 1 MISSING WORD 1. Tiger Woods can play golf very _ _ _ _ . (4 letters) 2. If you dont study hard, you will _ _ _ _ the exam. (4 letters) 3. We use our noses for _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . (8 letters) 4. Big is the _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ of small. (8 letters) 5. The sun goes _ _ _ _ at sunset. (4 letters) 6. He likes listening to music while _ _ _ _ _ his homework. (5 letters) 7. I stayed _ _ home all day. (2 letters) CROSSWORD CLUES 1. Clever. i ______ 2. It has a trunk and branches. t _______ 3. A tropical fruit. p _______ 4. A pain in the mouth. t _______ 5. A small piece of rock. s _______ 6. What are gloves worn on? h _______ 7. What are the Andes and the Himalayas? m _______ MULTIPLE CHOICE1. Venezuela is a country inTeaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
a) Eastern Europe b) South America c) Northern Africa2. Which material is natural?a) cotton b) polyester c) nylon3. What does a composer write?a) books b) movie scripts c) music4. Where is cargo loaded onto a ship?a) at a station b) at a port c) at a shipyard5. The capital city of Norway isa) Oslo b) Stockholm c) Zurich6. Which river is in India?a) the Rhine b) the Nile c) the Ganges7. A person who comes third in the Olympic Games winsa) a brass medal b) a bronze medal c) a silver medalTeaching speaking – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.