Speaking Unplugged: 30 Activities For One-To-One Classes

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Speaking Unplugged:
30 Activities for One-to-One

By reducing the amount of material that is imported into the classroom, the teacher frees the learning space for the kind of interactive, talk­mediated learning opportunities that are so crucial for language development. Scott Thornbury: Teaching Unplugged

Like many teachers - I suspect - I used to turn up to my one-to-one classes with a pile of worksheets under my arm. The worst thing that can happen in a one-to-one class is running out of materials, I thought.
And then one day, a private student told me he didn’t enjoy my classes because he felt I was just giving him a series of worksheets to complete. What he really wanted to do was develop
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their ability to use question words) and any gaps or errors in their knowledge
(omission of auxiliary verbs, confusion between what and which).

I recommend you look at their questions before you do the interview and make any adjustments or corrections to ensure the interview flows.

2. The Question Generator
Language Focus: Question forms, Direct and Indirect questions, Short answers

After the first activity, you will know what problems your learner has when forming questions. It is important that you give them lots of opportunities to practise asking questions. Here are a few suggestions:

A. Provide a list of questions (maybe those created in the previous activity) and ask the learner to create new questions by changing one or more elements in each question. For example, what’s your favourite food? could be changed to what’s your least favourite food?
B. Sentence scramble activity. Change the word order in the question and ask the learner to reassemble them correctly.
C. Practise direct and indirect questions. Create or reuse a list of questions and ask the learner to identify if the question is direct or indirect and then ask them to reformulate according to whether they are interviewing their President or a friend.

An activity I like to do with my learners is something I call ‘The Question Generator’. All you need are a couple of dice and a list of verbs (they could be common verbs, verbs that your learner has