Extended speaking tasks (TEFLtastic classics Part One)

Updated 8 September 2018

Activities in which one student speaks while others listen carefully – something that is at least as important as more interactive tasks like roleplays, especially from Intermediate level.

Most worksheets linked to below are also useable with the other kinds of tasks described here. There is also a worksheets index page on this topic with more up to date links here.

Inside Out-style monologue tasks

The secret to every speaking task is to make sure the person who is being spoken to really has to listen. You can easily combine this with help on speaking longer with a list of ten to twenty subtopics or questions on the topic that they have to speak about, e.g. “size” and “shape” for describing an object.  Only the person listening has the list, and they tick off things that their partner mentions as they listen. When their partner has completely run out of things to say, they can use the relevant unticked things to ask follow up questions, e.g. “When did you buy it?” from “purchase”.

I love this activity, which I basically stole from the “Anecdote” sections from the Inside Out books, as you can use it for basically any topic (including tying in with grammar points) and it makes up for the question and short answer format of so many other TEFL games and tasks. Examples of my uses include:

Reported speech extended speaking

An old friend extended speaking

A holiday extended speaking

A festival or celebration extended speaking

A night out extended speaking

Describing art extended speaking

Talking about a TV programme or series extended speaking

Talking about a newspaper or magazine extended speaking

Talking about photos extended speaking

Describing objects 20 questions and extended speaking

The story of your life mini-presentations

A person I admire extended speaking

Your most treasured possession mini presentation

A famous person mini presentation and discussion questions

A childhood memory extended speaking

Talking about a movie extended speaking

Talking about a news story extended speaking

Social issues extended speaking (starting with a simpler task)

Students can also be given the challenge of coming up with their own additional questions:

Present Perfect/ Simple Past mini-presentations

Extended speaking with interrupting

An extension of this idea is to let them (politely) interrupt each other and then tot up who spoke most about the topic.

Meetings extended speaking and interrupting

Speak as long as you can tasks

A more game-based task is to get them to speak as long as they can on a topic and then give points for the length of speaking minus a deduction for silence during it.  For example you can play it as a board game with a different topic on each square, with students moving six squares for three minutes, five squares for two and a half minutes etc.

Art and media extended speaking board game

You can also do it as a card game, with students being able to take one card for each 30 second period that they speak, then being able to choose between all the cards in their hand for your their next topic:

Future tenses extended speaking card game

or just give them points for each thirty second period that they speak:

Numbers extended speaking card game

Business Simple Past monologues

Extended speaking bluff games

Students talk about something for a while and then students ask questions before working out if the whole thing is true, what part or parts were false, or what part or parts were true.

Crime and punishment extended speaking bluffing game

Weekends and the news extended speaking bluff

Listen for something your partner forgot

The simplest possible activity- students listen to add something to what their partner said.

Cultural differences monologues


As with the ideas above, the important thing is that the person listening should have something specific to listen for, e.g. which invention they will invest in or who they will give the job to.

Jobs mini-presentations

IELTS presentations

There are also IELTS Speaking Part Two tasks of course.

Blind student video tasks

Half the students face away from the screen and are given worksheets which they must complete by listening to their partner describe everything that happens and without their partner knowing what kind of information might be relevant.

Mr Bean The Exam fluency practice

Mr Bean The Restaurant fluency practice

Talk about it, then analyse it

After doing an extended speaking task, students try to remember something about the language of the prompts

Word formation extended speaking

Actual presentations

28 giving presentations worksheets

FCE Speaking Part Two tasks

FCE Speaking Part Two games/ worksheets

Eiken Level 1 presentations

Eiken Speaking Level 1 presentations

This entry was posted in board games, Skills, Speaking games, TEFL and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Extended speaking tasks (TEFLtastic classics Part One)

  1. Sputnik says:

    I was going to say you’d be a boon to have in the staff room, but I guess you already are in a virtual sense. Cheers!

  2. Anne Hodgson says:

    Thanks for these. My classes are relatively large so I get small groups to develop the questionnaires and then slit up to find partners. But if you’re teaching a small group it sure is great to have such extensive ones all fixed up. Thank you!

  3. Alex Case says:

    Thanks Anne, that’s a good low paper/ no photocopying variation. My only worry is that the preparation stage will make them overprepared when they speak and therefore not be very realistic speaking practice, but if you had the class preparing several different topics that they passed to groups who had prepared different ones it would be similar to my activity

  4. Andy Mallory says:

    I’ve used variations on the Inside Out Anecdotes framework a lot too. It really works from a teachers point of view as it generates huge amounts of STT and once they’ve learned the basic idea can be repeated for other topics with minimal set up.

    It can be marred by lazy, shy or just weaker students who can’t keep up with the task. I have also experimented (not altogther successfully) with adding language input into the task. It seems to work best just letting learners do the task using what they know and picking up odd bits of vocabulary off each other.

    Do people feel students can learn new language during speaking tasks or is it more easily absorbed during reading tasks or some kind of separate vocabulary work? I’m starting to feel speaking is so hard for many students (especially in Asia) that adding 10-12 new vocabulary items to the task just detracts from the fluency ir accuracy aims.

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