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Review lesson for IELTS speaking

This is a review lesson for IELTS speaking – designed to add a little life to the speaking process. IELTS speaking can become strangely non-communicative if you restrict yourself to practising the exam format. Indeed, this lesson borrows much from the standard tefl classroom.

The idea in brief

When it can work

This is a lesson I used to run when I has closed groups of students who were studying IELTS for a long period of time (and typically were also studying general English as well (mostly from Language Leader!).

Typically I would use it towards the end of a semester when there were several different topic areas to review.

Step 1 – Making the questions

The idea here is to get the students to make their own speaking questions. It can be quite a long process so you need to budget time but the pay-off is typically worth it. At one level the process of making the questions can work as review – they need to think about the ideas/language they have covered. Then it is simply a more engaging exercise to get them to answer questions they have made themselves.

General procedure

Choose the topics from the course you want to review

Divide class into pairs/groups

Allocate a topic to each pair/group

Ask SS in pairs to write one speaking question on a piece of paper

The pieces of paper/topics are passed around until you have six questions per topic (each group having contributed one question to each topic)

Naturally you will need to check the question formation!

Making it work

I find it works best when you ask SS to vary the types of questions. On each rotation I tend to state what type of question they should write. Possible variations are:

yes/no question

wh question

future question

past question

The idea here is that each type of question requires a different response – it really doesn’t matter if many of the questions look similar (and they will) because a past and future question need a different answer – excellent exam practice.



Do you have a car?
What public transport do you like?
Do you ever take a taxi?
When was the last time you took the train?
Do you prefer trains or planes?
How will public transport change in the future?

Step 2 – adding interest – use a dice

At this stage you can add interest by using a dice. There are lots of possibilities here but this is my favourite routine – one that can work for IELTS.

A possible procedure

The class is divided into pairs/groups each with one set of questions about a review topic. The SS (in pairs/groups) roll dice three times to see what they speak about and how they speak.

Roll 1 = which topic question they choose. There are 6 questions and so 1 = question 1 and 2 = question 2 etc

Roll 2 = how long they speak. 1/2 = 20 seconds. 3/4 = 25 seconds. 5/6 = 40 seconds.

Roll3 = they tell the truth or they lie. 1/3/5 = they tell the truth. 2/4/6 = they lie.

Once each pair group has had 5 minutes or so on one topic, you simply give a new set questions for another topic.

How it can work

It can work on different levels.

adding the dice/luck element simply adds fun to the class – rarely a bad thing in IELTS

the similar yet different questions get the SS speaking about the same thing in different ways

adding the time/lying elements also forces them to speak in a slightly way each time

The no dice option

There are times of course when you don’t have dice handy. One simple option here is that in the speaking stage you put the class in pairs and they just have to guess which question their partner is speaking about. It has less of a fun element to it but it does make the SS actually listen to what their partner is saying.



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