Revision idea: Talk to the Guru

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  • ThomasTopham
    19 September, 2008 at 10:46
    • Total posts: 13

    Talk to the Guru

    Level: Intermediate and up

    Materials: Four or five pictures of gurus/wise men and some papers cut into the shape of speech bubbles.

    Comments: This is an activity I use on teacher training courses to revise key concepts but it is easily adaptable to the language classroom – and in fact many teachers who experienced it as a trainee went on to use it as a classroom activity.


    1. Explain to the class that they are going to have the chance to speak to some real wisemen today. Elicit how they should talk to these people (respectfully, calmly etc). Then tell them who the wismen are: these are four students you have decided beforehand would make good ‘gurus’. Take these four outside the room and give them a handout with information about a grammar point/area of language you want to revise (e.g. present perfect). Tell them to go to another room or any space in the school to revise the points, test each other to make sure they know this inside out. If it’s not possible to move them, they can do in a corner of the classroom where noone can hear.

    2. With the rest of the class, divide them into groups and explain to them that they are going to have the chance to speak later to these ‘grammar gurus’. Explain to them though that you can’t just go up to these people and speak to them like you would a normal person, but you have to think very carefully what you will say to them. Give them time in their groups to think of four really good questions to ask about the grammar point.

    3. After you’ve given both groups time to do that, arrange the class so that the four gurus are seated in different places around the room. Explain to the visitors that they can only ask one question of each guru. They must ask the question, listen to the answer and then move on to the next one and ask their next question.

    4. Give the groups plenty of time to go to each guru, listen to the answer and then move onto the next one.

    5. When they have finished, bring them back as a whole class.By this point, you have stuck up round the walls four pictures of gurus/wisemen. Tell them that they are going to record the best information they heard. Give each visitor group four or five speech bubbles cut out from paper and they have to write in each one a different piece of information about the grammar point that they thought was particularly interesting.

    6. Once they have done that, they can stick them up around one of the pictures so it looks like the guru is talking and then the students can walk round in pairs and look at all the pictures and the information and discuss which one piece of information is the most important they would like to remember. Bring them back whole class, hear what their choices were and deal with any final questions/comments.

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