Minimal Prep Speaking Activities for MFL

Here are a few useful activities to promote speaking in the classroom. I use these with Senior Cycle students and they work well.

  1. Walking debates

Get the class standing in a straight line. Make a statement relating to a studied topic (example: young people watch too much television). If students agree with the statement they must step forward and must step backwards if they disagree. The teacher will then select people to speak and justify their opinions. A variation on this is asking students to go to either side of the classroom, based on their opinion on something. For example, ask students if they have a better relationship with their brother or their sister. Students who get on better with their sister will go to the left hand side of the classroom and those who get on better with their brother will go to the right hand side. Students can then justify their opinions accordingly.

2.  Timed topics

Divide the class into pairs. Select a pair and give them a topic to discuss (for example “ma ville”). One student of the pair must speak about the topic for a minute. If the student runs out of things to say, the other student must immediately step in and continue discussing the topic until the minute is up. The other student must not repeat anything that the first student has said.

3. Lucky dip

Have a list of pre-prepared oral questions cut up and placed in a bag/ plastic sheet. Students must choose a question from the bag and answer it. A variation on this is having all of the students name in a bag and choosing one student per day from it for a mock oral. 🙂

4. Finish the sentence

Start off with an easy sentence in the target language- for example “I got up this morning at 7am.” Each student must then state the next “bit” in the sequence and develop the sentences accordingly. Keep it going as long as possible!

5. Prompt statements

Divide students in pairs.  Have a bag with pieces of paper with prompts on topics (for example the word “lycĂ©e”, a picture of a sport, etc). One student of the pair will pick out a piece of paper with a prompt on the back of it and ask the other students questions in the target language about this topic. Can be very useful for the questioning student to grade the other student accordingly on the standard of their answers (vocabulary, structures, communication…). Students then swap over and the student will pick a card to question the other student on.


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