Monday, October 24, 2011


Nowadays, pair work and work in small groups is very much in fashion. The communicative approach encourages teachers to use a lot of pair work and therefore increase 'student talking time'.

 We believe that for a group to gel and for a good group dynamic to prevail there are times when the class should work together as a whole. Games are a good opportunity to bring the group together

Several of the activities, such as Chain Drawings game and Consequences are great for when we have to do a last minute substitution class for a colleague. Very little material is required, they're suitable for all levels and a lot of language can be generated.
Managing Chain Drawings game with young learners
Chain Drawings game can be incorporated into the regular routine of a young learner class.

If students are introduced to the idea of working in a whole group from the beginning of a course it is easier to establish the rules and acceptable behavior for this type of activity. This activity retrieved from Joanna Budden, British Council, Spain
These are steps to do the game:
  • Give each student a piece of paper and some coloured pencils.
  • Tell them that you are going to play some music and you want them to draw whatever comes into their heads.
  • As music is playing, all students should be drawing.
  • After 20 or 30 seconds, stop the music.
  • Students stop drawing and pass their picture to the person to the left of them in the circle.
  • Play the music again and they continue with the drawing the person next to them had started.
  • Stop the music again, pass pictures on and this continues until the end of the song.
  • When you have finished each student will have a picture that several students contributed to.
  • Then it's up to you what to do with the pictures.
    • They can be used to describe to the group, to write a story about, or to pretend they were a dream the student had last night.
    • The rest of the class can try to analyze the meaning of the dream.
  • Use different types of music to get different types of pictures. I've found that reggae and samba produce happy beach scenes and dance music gets futuristic city scenes!
  • If you want to 'force' the pictures towards a topic you are studying, ask some questions about the topic first and get students into thinking about the theme. Beware - with teenagers this activity can be quite an eye-opener as it tends to reveal what is going on in their minds!
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