Speak as if… is a great speaking activity which gets the students talking and repeating without realizing it. It is a great as a five minute filler activity or to use anytime you want to practice a certain few phrases with the class.
It works with almost any class and is great fun with younger, more outgoing classes who are ready to enjoy themselves. Of course, if the class is a little shy then don’t be afraid as their teacher to start the ball rolling!
First prepare a group of flashcards which give strange speaking situations. For example:
- Speak as if you were an angry Scotsman!
- Speak as if you were in the dentist’s chair.
- Speak as if you were chewing gum.
- Speak as if you were underwater.
- Speak as if you were eating hot soup.
- Speak as if you were really cold.
- Speak as it you were about to cry.
- Speak as it you were in a slow motion film.
- Speak as it you were in a speeded up film.
- Speak as it you were really, really, tired.
- Speak as it you were very scared.
- Speak as it you were standing 25 meters from anyone else.
- Speak as it you were trying to be as quiet as possible.
- Speak as it you were eating a lemon.
And so on. Your imagination is the limit here but try to keep the situations suitable for the class and understandable to them.
Remember to keep these flashcards handy so you can use them in any lesson when the situation arises.
Next prepare a small group of set phrases for the class. These are phrases you’d like the class to learn and practice and they should be the right level and content for your class.
For example, a group of 10 year old beginner students might have this list:
- I come from Spain.
- My name is…
- I am 10 years old.
- My father is a…
- My mother is a…
You may want to put these also on flashcards. Remember, however, that you can add phrases ad hoc during a lesson and use them with the situation flashcards.
Running the Activity
This activity is ideal for a few minutes at the end of the class or to provide just a bit of extra practice on some newly introduced words and phrases. Demonstrate it first, pick out the phrase (or write it on the board, etc…) and then choose a speak as if card at random then say the phrase as though you were chewing gum, really cold etc.
The class simply have to guess what your situation is.
Obviously once they’ve seen how it works, they get to play either in small groups or as a whole. The great thing about this activity is that all the students will be talking and practicing the target phrases without realizing it!
Speaking Skills in TEFL– a general look at teaching speaking skills in the TEFL classroom.
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