EFL/ESL teachers use games in the conversation class. A variety of games exist- games to teach grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation; there are picture, psychology, memory, guessing , card and board games.
1. 20 Questions
Students use English to narrow down possibilities through the use of yes-no questions. To play this game, two students identify something in the room- for instance, the teacher’s pen, the fan, or the calendar-and their classmates have 20 chances to guess what that object is.
2. Paraphrasing Races
The teacher divides students into groups, gives each group a sentence, and allow three minutes for the students to develop as many rephrasings of the sentence as they can. Each acceptable rephrasing is worth one point. The team with the most point wins.
3. Strip Story
Students are put into small groups and given one or two lines of a short story. They are told not to show their lines to other students. Instead, they have to negotiate who has the first line, second line, and so on. Slowly, they put the story together. An alternative way to play is to take the strips away after they’ve read them and have them put the story together from memory. A cartoon version exists in which students put a cartoon sequence together, each describing his or her strip to others without showing it to them.
Teachers sometimes make up their own strip stories while some others discover stories used by other teachers, passed down through the years. Here is an examply of one strip story I discovered while teaching at a Thai University.
Who’s the Laziest Boy?
An old man was walking along the road.
Suddenly he saw three boys lying on the grass under a tree.
He said, “I’ll give a gold coin to the laziest boy. Who’s the laziest boy?”
The first boy jumped up, ran over to the old man, and said, “I’m the laziest boy. Give me the coin.”
The old man shook his head and said, “No, you aren’t. Lie down again.”
The second boy held out his hand. “I’m the laziest boy. Give me the coin.”
The old man shook his head again. “No, you aren’t. Lie down again.”
The third boy said, “Please come over and put the coin in my pocket.”
“Yes,” said the old man, “You’re the laziest boy!”
And he put the coin into the boy’s pocket.
4. Matching game called Same or Different?
Students are divided into pairs and given a set of pictures, Sets A and B. Some of the pictures in the set are the same and some are different. Without showing the pictures, and within a limited amount of time, the two students must decide which pictures are the same and which are different.