Saturday, 1 August 2015

"Would you rather" - A no prep speaking activity

"Would you rather speak a second language fluently or be able to talk to animals?"

"Would you rather"  is a party game; the idea is to present a dilemma in the form of a question that has two options. The players have to choose one option, they cannot say “neither” or “both”, and then they have to explain their choice.

I came across the mobile app and decided to try it out in class. It is an excellent, no prep game for an English conversation class or as an end of lesson speaking activity, and my students love it. You present the dilemma, it could be between two positive options, "Would you rather eat chocolate or chips?” or it could be between two negative options, “Would you rather live on the streets or live in a prison cell?”.  The more difficult the dilemma, the more interesting the game is.

"Would you rather be poor and work at a job you love or be rich and work at a job you hate?"

You can create your own topic-related dilemmas,for example if you’ve been working on the topic of travel, you could use dilemmas like, “Would you rather go camping or stay in a hotel?” or "Would you rather have your flight delayed by 8 hours or lose your luggage?".  An alternative is to use one of the apps available and ask random questions (be warned, some of the apps have the odd dilemma that's not appropriate for the classroom).  

Would you rather is a great way to get students talking, they need to talk about their personal preferences, give their opinions and defend their choices.     


Lesson Objective:
Speaking practice and fluency.

Target Language:
Talking about preference, giving an opinion, making your point, comparatives and superlatives, advantages and disadvantages.

A list of pre-prepared dilemmas or one of the following apps:

Web apps:

Mobile apps:

Lesson Plan:

1. Quickly review expressions of preference:
  • Would rather and would sooner:

  • Base verb - I would rather swim in the sea than in a pool.

  I would sooner swim in the sea than in a pool.
  • Prefer:

  • Noun - I prefer chicken to beef.
  • Gerund - I prefer eating chicken to eating beef.
  • Infinitive - I prefer to eat chicken than to eat beef.

2. Present the dilemma and ask the student/s to make their choice and explain why. Students should be encouraged to speak fluently without interruption, take notes and make corrections at the end.

3. In a group class, you could then set up a debate. In a one-to-one class ask further questions to encourage the student to thoroughly explore the dilemma and their choice.

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