Question exchange, or walking and talking

“You have more materials …” we often hear from teachers of languages other than English, but there are many universal exercises that can be used by all language teachers. Here is one of my personal favourites, which guarantees that your students, regardless of the level or language they learn, will work like a charm.

What is the purpose of this exercise?

It can be used to consolidate any lexical and / or grammatical material in context, and to practise speaking at the same time. The material can be adjusted to practically any language level.

How to prepare this exercise?

● Prepare double-sided cards containing questions with a missing element.

This can be done in Quizlet or in the table, with questions in the left column and the missing element in the right.  Cut the cards out and fold them in half so that both parts are on opposite sides.

●Make sure you have more cards than students.

● Each student receives one note which they hold in front of them so that the student approaching them can see the question.

● Extra questions are placed on the teacher’s desk or one of the desks.

● Questions contain gaps that can be filled with words missing from collocations, right forms of the given verbs, or fragments of sentences to be translated.

What happens during the exercise?

● Students walk around the class.

● A student asks another student a question that he sees on his card, filling the missing word at the same time. Student 1 confirms or corrects the question, as he can see the correct form on the other side of the card, and answers the question. The whole process is repeated with the other student’s note. The answers should be as detailed as possible.   

● If both students fill in the gaps in the questions correctly, they exchange

the cards and move on to the next student. If at least one of them was wrong, they do not swap cards, but  ask  another student the same question.

● In this case, students will have to answer  the same question  again, so, when giving instructions, stress that they should do their best to make their response more in-depth, with better vocabulary and fewer mistakes.

● If, at some point, a student ends up with a question he has already answered, he goes to the teacher’s desk and takes one of the additional questions.

● We remind students that they can approach the same people because they now have new questions.

What are the benefits of this exercise?

● Our students revise grammar / vocabulary items we included in the questions.

● They practice speaking skills: they talk to many different people and get a chance to improve and expand when answering the same question more than once.

● Instead of sitting at their desks, they move around and oxygenate their brains.

Author: Ewa Torebko

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