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Steal the Conversation
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Purpose: To promote more realistic participation in conversations.

Info: Different cultures have different rules when talking. For some, it's polite to wait for the other person to stop speaking. For others, it's polite to limit disagreement or requests for clarification. This activity is designed for cultures which follow these rules, as most speakers of English interrupt, disagree, ask for clarification, and so on.


Step One: The teacher prepares a list of questions around a topic before the start of the class. There should be at least five questions so that the class can go through the activity more than once.

Step Two: It's recommended that the teacher arranges the class into the following groups:

Less than eight students in the class: Keep everyone together in one large group.
8 - 10 students: Keep everyone together or break the class into two equal groups.
More than ten students: Divide the class into groups consisting of four or five students.

Step Three: The teacher writes the first question on the board. One student begins the discussion. If he speaks for thirty seconds, he receives a point. If he speaks for another thirty seconds, then he receives a second point. This continues until someone steals the conversation. It's important for the teacher to accurately monitor how long students talk so as to correctly award points.

Step Four: A student who successfully steals the conversation interrupts the initial speaker. In so doing, the person who steals the conversation now receives a point. What's more, he receives an additional point for every thirty seconds that he speaks. This continues until another person similarly steals the conversation.

Step Five: The teacher continues with the question until the conversation begins to lag, it moves far off topic, or for a predetermined amount of time.

Note: If there are several groups, the teacher won't be able to monitor each conversation. One person from each group monitors and awards points for his respective group. When it comes time to talk about another question, a new person becomes the monitor and awards points.