10 Fun Classroom Activities to Help Students Practice Speaking English

Updated on February 4, 2017

For English language teachers, here are some enjoyable and engaging ways to help your students get to know each other better and practice speaking with confidence in the ESL classroom. The following role play scenarios and fun active games can be used as time permits or if you want to focus on learning a specific skill such as speaking or practicing new vocabulary. If your students enjoy these 10 and are hungry for more, why not check out the sequel and make sure your students continue to come to your English class full of excitement and enthusiasm to start learning.

Icebreaker for Beginners

Divide the students into pairs. If you have an odd number of students then the student without a partner can practice with you. Because the course has just started, the students probably haven’t had a chance to get to know each other yet. To get acquainted and break the ice, each student will ask their partner several everyday questions in English. Give them a couple of minutes each to do this. Then ask each student to take turns introducing his/her partner to the class. Just select a few students if time is limited. Some common everyday questions to use include:

  1. What is your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. How old are you?
  4. Where do you live now?
  5. What do your parents do for a living?
  6. What do you like to do when you’re not in English class?
  7. Why do you want to learn English?

Source

Renting a House Role Play 1

This role-playing exercise requires two students. Ask for volunteers or select from the class. One student will act as someone looking for a house to rent. The other will act as the landlord of the house. The renter is currently looking around the house and is discussing the house with the landlord. Give them two minutes to prepare some of the things they would talk about such as rent, water costs, electricity costs, telephone costs, Internet costs, rules of the house, nearby amenities, etc.

Renting a House Role Play 2

This role-playing exercise requires two students. Ask for volunteers or select from the class. One student will act as a tenant who cannot afford to pay rent and hasn’t paid for two months already. The other will act as the landlord of the house. In this scene, the landlord has come on the day that he/she normally comes to collect the money and is demanding payment. Give them two minutes to prepare some of the things they would talk about to resolve this difficult situation. Some useful supplementary vocabulary includes: to loan, interest, to ask, and to evict.

Bump Cards Game

Rearrange the desks or make space so that the students are sitting in a circle. This game is called Bump Cards and can be used with whatever new vocabulary you have just taught the class and want to review. In this example, you will prepare individual cards with different types of animals, birds, and fish the class has learned written on them. Give each student one card and ask them to remember the word written on it. Ask each student to hold their card in front of him/her so that the other students can see it. Select a student to begin the game by saying: my X bumps Y, e.g. my dolphin bumps swan. The student holding the card with swan written on it must immediately respond by saying something such as: my swan bumps elephant. Continue until all students have had a chance to participate.

You can hand out a penalty to any student who fails to provide a new word and stops the flow. For example, the student must tell the class some of the animals, birds, and fish of his/her country, e.g. Spain has a lot of bulls, donkeys, and so on.

Parent-Child Conversation Role Play

This role-playing exercise requires two students. Ask for volunteers or select from the class. One student will act as a parent; the other student will play a young teenage son or daughter who has been watching TV for more than two hours. The parent is concerned about the son/daughter because they have not prepared for their exam the next day. Give them two minutes to prepare some of the things they would talk about to resolve this difficult situation. Some useful supplementary vocabulary includes: mathematics, physics, report, program, hurry along, to discipline, and to be concerned about.

Connecting Words Game

Rearrange the desks or make space so that the students are sitting in a circle. You will start the game by saying a word and then ask a student to form a new word which is connected to the previous word, for example “lesson” and the next student can say “class” then “student” and so on. This can be used for any new vocabulary that the class has just learned. To make it more difficult, you can use a two-word phrase instead.

You can hand out a penalty to any student who fails to provide a new word and stops the flow. For example, the student has to give a short summary of his/her hometown to the class. The summary should include the following information: Where is it? How big is it? How many people are there? What is the most famous thing in their hometown? What is the scenery like?

Restaurant Role Play

This role-playing exercise requires three students. Ask for volunteers or select from the class. Two of them will act as friends going to a restaurant in New York. The third person will acts as their waiter or waitress. Firstly, the two friends will pretend to review the menu and then place their order. After being served by the waiter/waitress, one of the friends is shocked to find a hair in their soup. Have the students speak and act out their reactions of what they would do in this situation. Give them two minutes to prepare some of the things they would do. If time permits or if you only have students, you can add a fourth role to include the owner of the restaurant or the manager. Some useful supplementary vocabulary includes: blonde, brunette, curly, hygienic, and complimentary.

Student-Teacher Conversation Role Play 1

This role-playing exercise requires two students. Ask for volunteers or select from the class. One student will act as a strict teacher; the other student will play a student who has not finished his or her homework. Give them two minutes to prepare some of the things they would talk about to resolve this difficult situation and avoid punishing the student. Some useful supplementary vocabulary includes: to be strict, to punish, to forgive, reason, to be lazy, and excuse.

Student-Teacher Conversation Role Play 2

This role-playing exercise requires three students. Ask for volunteers or select from the class. One student will act as a teacher and the second student will play a student who passed a recent exam with the highest score in the class. The third student is a classmate who accuses the other student of cheating on his exam. Give them two minutes to prepare some of the things they would talk about to resolve this difficult and lively situation. Some useful supplementary words include: to cheat on an exam, answer, to insult, humiliate, and to be jealous of.

Education System Role Play

This role-playing exercise requires two students. Ask for volunteers or select from the class. One student will act as a parent who is visiting California and the second student will play his or her friend who has been living there for a long time already. In this situation, the parent wants his or her child to study in California and is asking the friend about the education system. Give them two minutes to prepare some of the things they would talk about such as: How do you choose the right school? How do you apply? What is the education system like? Some useful supplementary vocabulary includes: school district, facilities, equipment, and entrance exams.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Zenith 

        4 months ago

        Very useful

      • profile image

        Margarita Del Angel 

        5 months ago

        Interesting tips. Thank you very much.

      • profile image

        Terenga Kawaaitu 

        6 months ago

        thank you so much for this wonderful information on speaking activity. it really helps me a lot in carrying out my project and most importantly it improves the speaking skill of my students.

      • profile image

        dtnga.c2vtsau.nt@khanhhoa.edu.vn 

        14 months ago

        Thanks so much. So great and useful

      • profile image

        sara 

        2 years ago

        English is spoken throughout the world because it is soooo easy to learn! How many verb tenses are there?

        http://ielts31.blogspot.com/2012/12/ielts-essay-fi...

      • profile image

        kudzai 

        4 years ago

        i am coming there

      • profile image

        kudzai 

        4 years ago

        best school in the world

      • teflindo profile image

        Wayne Duplessis 

        4 years ago from Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia

        Thank you for this. It's always good to have a range of activities at any age or level of teaching.

      • Rich W2K profile imageAUTHOR

        Rich 

        5 years ago from Gold Coast

        Thanks for the comment. You have given me incentive to provide another set of activities. Watch this space.

      • Nancy Owens profile image

        Nancy Owens 

        5 years ago from USA

        This is a great hub. It gives lots of useful ideas that parents as well as teachers can use to help kids learn the English language. In addition, it helps broaden their thinking about practical life activities.

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