10 Fun Speaking Games for Language Learners

Hello everyone!

In this lesson, we’re looking at speaking activities and I’m going to share with you 10 of my favorites that I use with my students every year.

Now, one of the most common questions we ask our students before we go into class with them is what is the area you’d like to improve on the most?

And from experience over the last 10 years, there is one winner.

The skill that students like to improve the most is not reading, is not listening, is not writing.

It’s speaking. Now, this probably doesn’t come much of a surprise to you.

As for example, reading and listening can be practiced by yourself.

Writing is a skill that you can practice by yourself. But you guess you do need a teacher or someone with a higher level than you to give you some advice and corrections.

Whereas speaking, well, speaking is kind of difficult to do by yourself.

Some people advise practicing speaking when you are on your own, but I always found that a bit strange.

Hi there, nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you too.

Where are you from? I’m from Mumbai, India.

Oh, I’m from India too. What do you do for a living?

I’m a director of studies at Language School in Mumbai.

Wait, I’m a director of studies at language school too?

Are you writing a blog post for your blog?

Yes, I’m writing a blog post for my blog too.

Wait, what’s going on?

Fun Speaking Game #1

So, let’s get started with the first activity, which an activity that I call truth or lie.

Now, you’re probably familiar with this one and you’ve played it with your students once or twice. I’m sure this dynamic, though, can be incorporated into almost any activity you do with your students.

Doesn’t have to be speaking. The way I use this is if I’m meeting my students for the first time, I’ll write on the board 5 sentences about myself and one of them is false.

When I do this in class, I’ll have the five sentences on the board, and I’ll put the students into pairs. They will then discuss which one they think is false and give their reasoning as to why.

I will then monitor each pair, making notes of any errors or mistakes they make, and then when we finish a discussion time, I’ll then get the students to stand up and give their reasoning as to why they think which sentence is the false sentence.

Once the students have chosen their sentence and given their reasoning, I will allow a little bit of time for students to reason against each other. If they’ve chosen a different sentence.

Fun Speaking Game #2

Activity #2 is an activity that especially useful for teachers who have to substitute or cover other teachers or colleagues that are off, sick or are not coming to school that day.

So, on these occasions, you’re walking into a classroom with a group of students that you’ve never met before, but they all know each other.

So, what I do is I get students individually to say three things about their partners, and what I do is that I will give them a point for every sentence that is correct about their partner, but if they give a sentence that is incorrect about their partner, I take a point away.

I love doing this activity because it gives me an insight as to whether the students are actually trying to get to know each other or not.

If I have a student that gives a lot of incorrect information about a classmate, then I might ask them to sit together during that class.

Fun Speaking Game #3

Activity #3 is an absolute classic in my classroom. We know it as taboo. All we do is have one student sit in the front of the class with the back to the board and write one piece of

vocabulary on the board. The rest of the students have to describe this word to the student sitting down with their back to the board without saying the word.

I find it really important that before you do this activity, is that you give students some useful language they can use to describe words without saying words.

This language will go on the board before you start the task.

Fun Speaking Game #4

Activity #4 is very similar to the taboo activity we read earlier.

This is because we use the same dynamic. We have one student with their back to the board and the other students looking at what’s on the board.

In this case, instead of a word on the board, I’m going to play a video and this video can be of anything that allows the students watching to describe to the student not watching.

Recently I linked this to a topic we were doing in class which was sports, and I found the video of a series of Olympic sports in action and the students had to describe every movement in every moment to the student so that they could guess what Olympic sport was being shown.

Another twist on this is instead of a word or a video is to have a picture behind the student. Now you could either freeze a video or take another picture and have the students that can see the picture describe everything they can in 2 minutes.

The student that’s listening has to then at the end of the two minutes tell the teacher what information was missing from the original group of students who were looking at the photo.

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Fun Speaking Game #5

Activity #5 is called riddles. What I do is I get inside the classroom before the students arrive and I write one or two or three riddles on the board.

Once the students are arriving 1 by 1 and I’m setting up the class, the students look at the board and they start wondering what the answer is for each riddle.

I love this moment and I asked them to do it in English and I listened to them. And at the end of the discussion, I get them to write their answers on the board.

I then take a look at all their answers that are on the board, and I get them to come up with reasons why they think the answer is correct.

For example, I have hands and a face, but I can’t hold anything or smile.

That’s right. It’s a clock. It has hands, a face, can’t hold anything or smile. A clock can’t smile. Think about that.

It’s really sad.

Fun Speaking Game #6

The 6th activity that I want to explain to you is one I call corners. What you do is you tell the students that on this corner of the room is “agree” and on this corner of the room is “disagree”.

Then you write a controversial statement on the board, and you ask the students. Stand up and move to either agree or disagree. I like this activity because it has the physical aspect to it.

So, the students have to get up out of their seats and move to where they agree or disagree with disdain.

So, for example, you could start up with a statement that’s very non offensive, like should we bring back the death penalty?

And then move on to something maybe more controversial.

You know, like should you put pineapple on a pizza Before you start this activity, I’d say it’s very important that you go through language of opinion, agreement and disagreement.

So that students are clear on how the interactions are going to play out.

Fun Speaking Game #7

The 7th activity that I want to share with you is one I call surveys. Now other teachers might know it as find someone who or just simple questionnaires.

The way this works is that you have the target language, and you ask the students to write 5 questions, for example, using the target language.

They then have to ask each student in the classroom those questions and then feedback to the class and to the teacher their findings.

Now in today’s world, we can create surveys really quickly using an app like Google Forms.

And the thing I love about people is that it gives each students the ability to answer questions in lots of different ways.

And also, when the student has finished asking all their questions to students, the information they get from all the answers is collated in the response section of the Google Forms.

And this is perfect for the next stage of a survey activity that I like to do, which is, once the surveys are over, not just to put them to one side, but to look at what each student said and come up with some kind of statements that are true for the class as a whole.

Then you might ask the students, what did the majority of the students say in this class?

So, for example, 90% of the students would probably say playing video games, and that would be shown in the response section of the Google Form.

Fun Speaking Game #8

Activity #8 is an activity that I call excuses.

In this activity, I asked the students to line up at the door and ask each one to come up with an excuse on why they should leave earlier than their classmates before you do this activity.

Get them to come up with language of reason, so simple things like “because”, “and”, “so” and trying to do this after every single class and you’ll find by the end of the year their ability to come up with excuses on the spot improves a lot.

Fun Speaking Game #9

Activity #9 is an activity that is similar to the previous activity and that we are continuing to develop students’ language of reasoning.

And this activity is called there’s a monkey in my bag. What we do is we imagine that each student has a monkey in their bag and has to give a reason why they’re carrying a monkey in their bag.

Now, in this activity I use monkey because of something quite ridiculous.

But the students can choose any other animal or object that might be in their bag and explain why.

Usually, the more abstract and stranger the object is, the more fun the students have this task.

Fun Speaking Game #10

The final activity in this lesson is 1 called Rank Everything.

Now if you go on the Internet nowadays there is a top 10 for literally anything.

So, what I like to do with my students is we pick a topic or a subject and the students make a top ten list of their own.

And what I do to make a competition is I give the student one point every time an item on their list. Is on the official top ten list that I’ve taken from the Internet.

And I also give them two points if the item that they write on their list appears in the same position as it does on the top ten official lists on the Internet.

So recently we did ones where we had students from different nationalities in the class and we had top 10 things that India is famous for or top 10 things at France is famous for.

Or another time we did one with our local students, we did top 10 things to do in the city where they’re from.

So, for example, on TripAdvisor they have a list of top 10 things to do, top 10 restaurants. Top 10 bars and loads of things.

So once the students have made their list, I then get them to compare with another partner and talk about why they have the same or why there are some missing from one tune list and are present on another shoes list.

Then we compare all the lists against the official top ten list, and we then talk about what’s present in the list from the top ten online and what’s missing from the students list.

I remember one particular class where students came up with a list of top 10 things to do in their city and there were some big things missing from the official top ten list which sparked a lot of debate in the class about why it was missing.

So, there you have it, 10 activities that can help improve your student speaking skills in no time.

Try to incorporate a lot of these activities into your routine in class. That way the students are getting the most practice possible.

If you have some other interesting classroom activities, please let me know.

So, I’ll see you in the next lesson and goodbye.

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