I love to teach speaking and conversation to intermediate and advanced level students. There are so many interesting, engaging activities for higher-level students that you can do with them.
The Expert is an ESL speaking activity that I use as an icebreaker on the first day of class. For what I do beyond the first day, check out: 5 Lesson Plans for Advanced ESL/EFL Students.
ESL Speaking Activity: The Expert
It can be difficult to come up with activities that are not too easy for better students. You may be tempted to just do “free-talking” with these students, but that can get boring after a while and it’s just not that useful.
That’s why I like these kinds of activities. They have some structure, but also allow for a lot of discussion. They’re student-centred as well.
Here’s how you set up “The Expert.” Have the students write down 5 things that they are an expert in. I do my own list first by way of example. I know a lot about:
- Scuba Diving
- Budget travel
- Reality TV
Once the students have written their lists, get them to circle the 3 that they think will be most interesting to the other students in the class.
Next, divide students up into pairs and give them 5 or 6 minutes to ask some questions to their partner about things they are experts in. Encourage your students to actually listen to what their partner is saying instead of just thinking about what to say next.
Teaching Tips for this English Speaking Activity
Also emphasize the need to ask interesting, thoughtful follow-up questions. Higher-level students usually do this naturally, but a quick reminder can be useful.
I remind students to make it conversational style, and not inquisition style. Answer a question, then ask a question. Out of the 6 minutes, they should try to spend an equal amount of time talking about each person’s hobbies.
After the 6 minutes are up, you can get students to change partners and repeat the activity. You can do this as many times as you like.
However, I find that three rounds of this is enough and students will start to get bored, even with new partners. It’s better as a quick icebreaker or warm-up, and not as the plan for an entire class session.
I like this activity because I think people tend to forget they are actually talking English, if they’re talking about stuff they’re passionate about. And it’s also interesting because you can keep changing partners every few minutes.
However, the best part about the activity is that students are able to have an in-depth conversation with someone so if they don’t have a friend in the class, they won’t feel so alone.
It also makes a really nice warm-up.
Love this Activity?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
If you like this ESL speaking activity, then you’re going to love this book: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults.
There are more than a hundred ESL games and activities for all levels. They also cover a wide range of skills, from speaking to listening, reading and writing, as well as icebreakers/warm-ups and some that cover all 4-skills.
101 ESL Activities is lesson planning made easy, guaranteed. You’ll save a ton of time and be able to create interesting, engaging lessons in no time.
How is the Book Organized?
Each activity starts off with a brief overview. You’ll be able to tell in just a few seconds whether or not it’s the right activity or game for your specific needs.
Then, you can find a detailed set of instructions for how to prep for it before class, and then what to do during class with your students.
Finally, there are some teaching tips that will help you to avoid the most common things that can go wrong during each activity. And, also how to make it as fun and interesting as possible.
Yes, teaching English really can be that easy. Just get this book if you want to mix it up a bit in your classes and keep things fresh and interesting.
Where Can I Find the Book?
The book is available on Amazon in both print and digital formats. The (cheaper!) digital copy can be read on any device (Mac, PC, Kindle, Smartphone, Tablet) by downloading the free Kindle reading app. Have dozens of top-quality ESL activities at your fingertips wherever you go.
Check it out for yourself on Amazon:
Just a Minute: Try It Out
If you’re looking for a quick warmer, then consider using Just a Minute. It’s fun, challenging and gets the students talking. Learn more about it in this short video:
What do you Think About This ESL Conversation Activity?
What are your thoughts about this activity? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
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Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API