Developing Teachers.com
A web site for the developing language teacher

Teaching Tips 7

Circular roleplay with advisers
Lesson Endings


Circular roleplay with advisers
Here's a variation on a traditional roleplay.

Centre it around a 'conflict-based' or problem-solving situation. For example, there is a couple living in a fairly small house with the wife's parents & four children. The son-in-law would like the parents to move to an old people's home down the road, the daughter would too but is caught in the middle, while the parents want to stay put. The son-in-law & the mother hate each other & the father is a bit senile. The four are getting together over a cup of tea to discuss the situation. A note of warning with this situation as it might not go down too well in certain cultures - it's the technique that is important here.

So there are four major roles & they all sit in a square, as if around a table. Behind each there is an 'adviser' who cannot participate in the conversation but can only whisper advice on what to say to the character sitting in front of them. The roleplay begins & after every 2/3 minutes you change the roles by the people in the main roles moving to an adviser role to their left & the advisers moving to a front role on their right. As the roleplay continues each person takes on varying main & advisor roles. It gets a bit chaotic when moving everyone the first time so don't worry.

To set up this situation it would be a good idea to brainstorm, as a class, the arguments for & against older people staying with their families & of old people's homes.

While the roleplay is going on you could take notes or tape the conversation & use the information to give feedback on the language used by the students.

Back to the contents

Lesson Endings
A couple of weeks ago we looked at lesson beginnings. Now here are some things you could do at the end of a lesson: - set the homework - be reasonable about the amount & when it should be in.- go through the 'menu' that you put up at the beginning again i.e. review & summarise what you actually did. This is important as the students might only remember the last thing you did. - a variation of the above - give out an activity sheet. Here they have a list of skills & activities which they look through & put the day's date next to what they did. They keep adding to this each lesson & can see the balance & variety in what they are covering. To see a couple of ideas on this. - Even better, give the students a blank timetable at the beginning of the month & after each lesson they fill in the space for that lesson. They could put down the topic, the new language & the sub-skills that they worked on. At the end of the month they then have a record of the work covered. - Give a 'cooler' activity - the same as a warmer but after a challenging lesson it is a fun activity to finish with. To see the list of warmers on the site. All leave with a smile of their faces. - Preview the next lesson/week & ask the students to have a think about the area so that they come more prepared.

Back to the contents


Scan reading - materials & assessing ability

When using reading material in class it is always a good idea to match the materials you are using to the skills that native speakers use with that material. So, if you were using an entertainment guide we would usually look for specific information e.g. a particular film, a cinema, the times etc - we would scan the material. If it were a newspaper article we would probably read it very generally to get the general idea - we would skim the article. Using this approach is more authentic & helpful for the students; they will know what to do with this type of material when they meet it outside the classroom.

When developing the skill of scan reading in class we usually give out a list of questions for the students to answer & a time limit in which to do the task. The questions for the entertainment guide mentioned above could be: What time is 'Pokemon' showing?, Where can you see 'The English Patient', What's the phone number of the Odeon cinema? etc.

Try this as well; have the list of questions ready & read out a question & the students look quickly for the answer & then they put their hands up when they have found the answer. Here you can see the varying levels of ability in the group. When about three-quarters have their hands up, elicit the answer & identify where it is in the text for the weaker readers to find it. Then you go on to the next questions etc. Vary who you elicit the answer from.

Back to the contents

To the Past Teaching Tips

Back to the top


Tips & Newsletter Sign up —  Current Tip —  Past Tips 
Train with us Online Development Courses    Lesson Plan Index
 Phonology — Articles Books  LinksContact
Advertising — Web Hosting — Front page


Copyright 2000-2016© Developing Teachers.com