Jan 6

Ask me, ask you

Speaking practice
Want a great warmer/ filler idea for any lesson? Here you go!
It's always handy to have some ideas for activities in your teachers 'back pocket' to pull out when you have a few minutes to fill, or want a change of pace. This is a simple one but it's useful practice and adaptable to any level and any topic of your class.

Video transcript

You’ve got five minutes left in your lesson and nothing more on your lesson plan! Don’t panic- here’s a versatile little idea to keep in your teachers toolbox and pull out on any occasion.

I’m Jo Gakonga, I’ve been teaching since 1989 and training teachers on CELTA and MA TESOL programmes for over 20 years. I’ve also got a website at ELT-Training.com where I make video based material for English teachers from before CELTA to much further down the road.

OK, I promised you a useful idea. Here it is. It’s called ‘Ask me, ask you’.

This is a great activity because it requires almost no preparation (you just need some pieces of paper like this) and it uses the learners themselves as a resource.

Give everyone a piece of paper and introduce the idea of a question with a follow up. The first question elicits a yes/ no answer and the second question asks for more detail.

For example: Can you swim? How did you learn?

Now tell them to write down a yes/no question and a follow-up that they could ask anyone in the class - it could be something personal like the swimming example, or if you’ve done work on a particular topic – let’s say public transport – it could be based on that. Do you like travelling by bus? Why/ why not?

Monitor and check their questions and when they’ve all got two written down get them to stand up and ask a partner their questions. When they’ve asked each other and given an answer they SWAP their papers so that they have a new pair of questions to ask and go and find another partner. You could set a time limit for talking with one partner before they have to swap. Or tell them they have to swap and ask a certain number of people depending on the class size and how long you want the activity to last.

When they’ve finished you could round it up by asking what responses they got.

This works really well at all levels. It’s easy to set up and it gives lots of personalised speaking practice. So give it a whirl and see how you get on. Hope you and your learners have fun with it.

Created with