Levels: strong elementary to advanced.
Ages: older kids; teens; adults
Type: conversational; breaking the ice; revising question forms.
Skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, (pronunciation).
Language focus: revising vocab; revising question forms (grammar).
Note: this idea comes from Jackie Jays, courtesy of the smokers’ corner at St Giles London Central. It’s a really good one to use with new classes, or old classes with a new teacher.
Materials: whiteboard; enough whiteboard pens for each group of 3 to 4 students.
- Tell your students that today they can ask you any questions they like (if you’re feeling nervous, you can add, “within reason!”)
- Put the students into small groups of 3 or 4.
- Allow the students 10 minutes or so to think of as many questions they would like to ask you as possible. These could be about you, about studying English, about anything.
- Draw lines dividing the whiteboard into a writing space for each group.
- Invite one student from each group to come to the whiteboard.
- The other students from each group have 2 – 4 minutes (depending on the level of the class – 2 for advanced students, 4 for elementary, etc.) to call out their questions, whilst the student at the board writes these down.
- Allocate one writing space each to a different group. Allow them 2 – 5 minutes (depending on level) to check the written questions for grammar.
- Correct any grammar mistakes with the class.
- Answer the boarded questions.
- Explain to the students that you don’t want to talk about yourself anymore; instead, invite them to interview each other, using any of the questions on the board, or any questions they have written down in their groups.
- Pair the students and allow ten minutes for them to interview each other. Remember to ask students to make written notes if you want to do the optional extra task (13, below)
- Feedback: ask the students individually to tell the class one or two interesting things they have each found out about their partner. Make notes and give grammar correction or pronunciation practice at the end.
- Optional extra: to extend this activity, you can ask students then to write up their interview as though it was for a newspaper or magazine.