a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures
Here’s a fun activity which many of you may be familiar with.
Would you rather…? is a game where you are asked to choose between two usually impossible choices – sometimes impossibly good, sometimes impossibly bad. It’s a fun game to play regardless of the situation (drinking games and staff rooms spring to mind) but it can quite easily be adapted for use in the EFL classroom.
I’d rather do x than y is a common way to express preferences in English. I have found that coursebooks are intent on teaching I prefer to lower levels and only introduce the use of rather at an advanced level, and sometimes not at all. This might be because there are a few other uses of rather but I’ve found that this particular usage can quite easily be taught at the same time as prefer.
Quite simply, have your students ask each other Would you rather…? questions in pairs or groups and watch them scratch their heads. The questions are not easy and the point is that they shouldn’t be answering with just I’d rather x, but that they should need to explain themselves. Chances are their partner will disagree with them too, which is great!
You can always get the students to write their own questions, but I find that students can often lack imagination when put on the spot like that (“Come up with some really interesting questions!”) so I like to give them a few to get their ideas flowing and then they usually end up adding in their own anyway.
Find my examples of Would you rather…? questions here: would-you-rather.
On a side note: I often use the song I’d rather dance with you by the Kings of Convenience to introduce the structure. It works well with more advanced levels (because it’s quite difficult to make out the words) or can be used with a well-structured task for lower levels. It has a very sweet music video too.
Disclaimer: not all of my questions are appropriate for all learners!