Line by line brainstorming (TEFLtastic classics Part 37)

9 September 2019

As with most of these nearly 40 so-called “TEFLtastic classics”, this post is to introduce some variations on a long-standing favourite that I reckon make it even more of a classic.

I originally came across the idea of brainstorming line by line in various Headway textbooks, in a version where students listen to a line of dialogue, guess what’s coming next, listen to check, guess what comes after that, etc. Not having a recording studio, I created a version where students cover the page and reveal each line when they’ve guessed what is coming next. Luckily, this also means that students can work in pairs at their own pace. The worksheet can also then be used for other activities like being cut up and used for jigsaw tasks and/ or being partially covered again for students to read and then continue in their own way, as a kind of semi-controlled speaking activity.

Over several years of using this for various purposes, I realised that the activity was not as motivating as it is fun, as students could rarely actually guess the next line – unsurprisingly, given what real communication is like! I have therefore more recently added a line between each line of the dialogue where the next line is described with sentences like “The receiver asks the caller to wait” or “The interviewee answers the question, but also says something positive”. After trying to guess the next line of dialogue, students look at this hint to see if they are on the right track, brainstorm again if they weren’t close, and then reveal the next line of dialogue. In another unintended advantage, a blanked out version of the same worksheet can then be used for students to write down the phrases they can remember or think of for each function.

Here are a few I made earlier:

Line by line brainstorming photocopiables

Invitations line by line brainstorming (in this e-book) – NEW

Meeting people again line by line brainstorming (in this e-book) – NEW

Meeting people at conferences line by line brainstorming (in this e-book) – NEW

Meeting people at the airport line by line brainstorming (in this e-book) – NEW

Visiting a client and meeting visitors line by line brainstorming (in this e-book) – NEW

Job applications line by line brainstorming

Meeting people line by line brainstorming

Requests and enquiries line by line brainstorming

Telephoning line by line brainstorming

There will be polished up versions of these and many more in the various e-books I’m putting together on teaching telephoning, meetings, presentations, negotiations, social English, emailing, etc. If you’d like to help me find enough time to finish them, please buy a(nother) copy or two of my first e-book. Thanks!

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