An activity which practises both listening and speaking in the classroom is interactive story telling. I usually use short stories, but if you wanted to and had the time you could also tell your students the story of a whole novel, in instalments as the course progressed.
The activity works in the following way: the teacher divides the students into pairs and tells them that s/he’s going to tell them a story. At certain points in the story s/he pauses and asks them to discuss something with their partner – to decide what a character who has just been introduced looks like (a good activity if you’ve just been working on describing people) or what the place where the story takes place is like, to decide what a character is thinking about, what is going to happen next etc. After the students have had time to discuss in pairs, the teacher asks for their ideas, chooses the version which fits the story (or if there isn’t one that’s suitable says, “No, none of you have guessed. In fact…” and then provides another version before continuing. I often use adapted and updated Sufi stories (1) for this. Here’s one of my favourites, The Mexican and the Bicycle:
A policeman was working on the border between Mexico and the United States (Describe the policeman) when, one day, a Mexican arrived on a bicycle. (Describe the Mexican) The man had a large bag on his back (Describe the bag), and the policeman was sure that he was smuggling something, so he asked him to open the bag. (What do you think was inside?)
But inside the bag there was only sand. The policeman poured all the sand onto the ground, but there was nothing else in the bag, (So what did he do?) and so he let the man go.
For the next few years this happened two or three times a week. The Mexican arrived on a bicycle and was always carrying a bag of sand. The policeman became more and more convinced that the man was smuggling something, but he could never find out what it was. (Why do you think the man was always carrying the bag of sand? How do you think the policeman felt? What do you think he thought?)
Years later, after the policeman retired, he was drinking in a bar one evening (Describe the bar) when the Mexican came in. The policeman bought him a drink (What were they drinking?) and, while they were sitting and chatting together, said “Come on, you can tell me now. I’m retired and it doesn’t matter any more. I know that for all those years you were smuggling something. What was it?”
The Mexican looked at him, smiled, and said (What did he say?) “Bicycles.”