Coping in everyday situations: An ESL speaking activity

Coping in everyday situations: An ESL speaking activity

Nick Michelioudakis’ column Becoming a Better Learner suggests ideas and techniques to engage, empower, and facilitate your students through a series of simple, low-prep activities. This month, we improve our ESL students’ fluency with a functional language speaking activity!

This is an excellent activity – but you need to have a partner. Here is how it works:

  • Find a picture of two people speaking.
  • Work with your partner. Ask yourselves: ‘What are these people saying?’ (e.g. W: ‘Good morning. How can I help you?’ M: ‘I need to buy a present for my girlfriend’… etc.)
  • Write down three exchanges, then turn them into notes: (e.g. W: …help?… M: …present… etc.)
  • Act out the dialogue 2-3 times, using the notes. Do not try to memorise the exact words.
  • Now do it again, but this time try to continue the dialogue for another 2 exchanges.
  • Record yourselves and listen to what you have said. Are there any mistakes? Is there anything else you could have added?

This activity has two great advantages:

  1. i) …you can choose the situations so that they are similar to the ones in which you will have to use English in the future and…
  2. ii) …you prepare yourself for the unexpected because you never know what the other person is going to say once the prepared part of the discussion is over – as is the case in real life!

Nick Michelioudakis (B. Econ., Dip. RSA, MSc TEFL) has been active in ELT for many years as a teacher, examiner, presenter, and teacher trainer. He has worked for a number of publishers and examination boards and he has given seminars and workshops in many countries.

He has written extensively on Methodology, though he is better known for his ‘Psychology and ELT’ articles which have appeared in numerous newsletters and magazines.

His areas of interest include Student Motivation, Learner Independence, Teaching one-to-one, and humour.

For articles or worksheets of his, you can visit his YouTube channel [] or his blog [ ].


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