What it's all about
How do pupils learn a language at school? One topic at a time, but with plenty of time to think. In real life, we draw on several topics at once, and revision followed by comedic role play gives children excellent practice in this, writes Catherine Paver.
Select two or three language points to revise, then set up a brief role play with simple props like plastic money or toy telephones.
Divide the class into groups of three. Each group has a parent, a shopkeeper and a small child who asks irrelevant questions. The parent and the shopkeeper must finish a task - buying bananas, for example - despite these interruptions.
But they must also answer at least five of the child's random questions. Others can be answered with expressions such as "Wait a minute". On the board, list topics that the child could ask about - from big noses to boats.
Telephone role play is also fun, and helps children to listen. Pupils sit on their chairs back to back. When shown a flashcard nominating a new conversation topic, speakers must change the subject. This could be as silly as switching from sweets to elephants.
This replicates what happens when we speak a new language in real life, when we adapt to new situations at high speed - just as pupils must do in their role play.
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