Purpose: To focus on speed instead of accuracy when producing answers.
Info: Students have more than one opportunity to answer a set of questions, so receive several chances to practice and improve responses. This builds confidence. This activity works particularly well with students who hear a question, mentally translate it, think of and translate an answer, and finally produce a response.
Step One: The teacher arranges students in pairs and distributes a worksheet with up to ten questions for each person. It's advised that all the questions are centered on a singular theme.
Step Two: The teacher explains that one student asks questions from the worksheet (student A) and the other student answers the questions (student B). In addition, student A keeps a record of how many questions are asked, including follow up questions. Students have a fixed time to go through as many questions as possible, ideally two or three minutes.
Step Three: The activity begins. Students ask/answer the questions as the teacher keeps time.
Step Four: At the end of two or three minutes, student A counts the number of questions covered. This figure becomes the target number. The same questions are asked again, and student B expands on the answers as much as possible. The teacher allots more time to conduct this step, about five minutes.
Step Five: At the end of five minutes, student A counts the number of questions covered. The new figure should be more or less equal to the previous figure, even with the added time. This indicates improved performance. However, the past steps haven't been a real conversation per se. It's now time for the pairs to exchange information together. Student A goes through the same questions once more, but both students ask follow-up questions to generate a conversation. Students limit the talk to three minutes, marking only the questions asked from the handout. Additional follow-up questions aren't counted to the total.
Step Six: Pairs count how many questions were asked from the worksheet in Step Five. The pairs should only have used one or two questions from the worksheet, with the remaining questions based on responses.
Step Seven: Students switch roles and repeat the above steps. Student B selects different questions from the worksheet for his partner.
Variation One: This activity can be used in private lessons too. All the steps remain the same, and again the focus is on improved fluency. Accuracy also improves, although the teacher shouldn't focus on correction because this will further hinder speaking speed.