Learning English with a Walk About
This wonderful, student-centred fluency activity generates lots language in the classroom with a good mix of scripted and spontaneous talk. If you’re weary of the traditional oral presentation format – one student speaks for five minutes and 19 others feign attention – yet want to give students a chance to write and speak, this is a must-try activity.
- Level: high beginner and up
- Time: 40-90 minutes
- Resources: each student prepares a poster; teacher brings adhesive tape.
Activity Set Up
Some advanced preparation is required. I generally give students two weeks notice so they have time to do some research and prepare a poster.
- Each student chooses a topic that he/she is interested in and knows well. It can be anything. Try topics that are fun, interesting and informative; they should be something that students can teach others.
- Do some research, write notes. Create a 2-4 minute talk.
- Make a poster. Organize the ideas.
It is useful to remind students that the poster does not have to be beautiful or complex. A couple of pictures or graphics and some text on four pieces of A4 paper taped together is usually sufficient. In the past, one student made a delightful poster with crayons. The purpose of the poster is the help the speaker by providing prompts for his/her speech.
- Lists of things and how to posters are simple but effective themes.
- Examples of posters: How not to greet a dog; how not to kick in a door; how to use hypnosis.
- I try to dissuade students from how to cook some special food because there are few opportunities for meaningful follow up.
For a class of 20 students, I usually plan for two hours and run the activity like this:
- Divide the class into two equal groups, A and B.
- Group A students move to the outside of the classroom and tape their posters to the walls and whiteboard. Make sure the students are spaced out because the room can get a little noisy.
- Group A students stay with their posters.
- Group B students mingle with Group A students, one on one.
- Group A students give their short speech.
- Group B students listen and ask questions (I often mandate a minimum of two questions just to get the conversation started).
- Teacher mingles and monitors discussions, provides encouragement for lower level students.
The first round takes about 40 minutes. Expect an average of four to six minutes per mingling student.
- Once the conversation dies out, call for a break. Group A students remove their posters. Group B students put up their posters.
- Repeat the mingling and presentation process.
After the clean up, finish with a pair work discussion. Ask students to summarize two or three interesting presentations.
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The image in this post comes from lili chin and its use complies with the owner’s creative commons licensing terms.