a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures
2016 is bringing with it all sorts of work opportunities and so now I have found myself back in the classroom. I must admit, it’s been a while since I’ve taught a class of adults so I was a bit nervous before I went into the classroom (but that disappears as soon as you’ve walked in, doesn’t it?) but I did this getting-to-know-you-activity and it worked amazingly well.
It’s quite simple really. For me, this activity took 50 minutes, but I’m sure it could be shortened or lengthened as you wish. It can be used for any level because it’s very easy to adapt.
I found the activity in a Reward Intermediate Resource Pack. It’s a set of questions which is supposed to be used to practise reported speech – #24. This was a Pre-Intermediate class and they are nowhere near reported speech yet but the questions were really interesting. Okay, most of them were interesting; I did have to do some editing to take out the Do you read newspapers in English-variety ones which I wouldn’t find particularly exciting so I assumed my students also wouldn’t find them interesting.
All I did was have the students sit in a circle and I gave them each a bunch of questions. I then removed myself from the group so they were only dealing with each other. I then let them get on with it – asking each other questions, responding, following up or moving on as they saw fit. All I did was surreptitiously take not of any errors they were making, which we looked at when they had finished the questions.
Why I think it worked so well is because there was no particular aim or focus of the activity. I know that goes against everything we are taught we should do, but they just had a good chat with each other and got to know each other a bit better.
The questions are key, though – they need to be interesting. Have a look at the Reward resource if you have it, or you can quite easily come up with your own. I often have the students make their own sentences but they often struggle to come up with anything besides the usual, or it turns into a grammar activity before they do the speaking, which is not what I want. The speaking is the activity.
In terms of questions, think of interesting and unusual ones:
Who was the first person you saw today?
What did your last text message say?
What do you think is the best restaurant in the city?
My class was only three students so it worked like a dream, but if you have more I would suggest breaking them up into smaller groups, then rotating or mingling groups so people can talk to more than one group of students.
Let me know any suggestions for any cool questions and I can put it all together and turn it into a photocopiable resource.