The expert game is a fantastic speaking activity that get your students chatting merrily to each other about things that are close to their hearts. It’s always gratifying to hear an English class abuzz with conversation and this activity never fails.
Fold a piece of A4 paper in half so it can be propped up on your desk as a makeshift sign. In large letters write down three topics that interest you that you are able and willing to talk about. For example:
- Indian food
- English non-league football
- Batman comics
Tell students that these are subjects that interest you and invite them to ask you any questions about them.
Next, ask students to make a similar sign for themselves. Students sometimes find this difficult, but with a little prompting, they should be able to come up with three topics, even if it’s their favourite TV show or how to make the best apple pie.
Arrange the desks so that students sit opposite each other on each side of a desk, as in a typical job interview scenario. If possible try to leave a gap between the desks so that pairs don’t distract each other too much.
Divide the class into two groups As and Bs and ask As to position themselves at a desk, while Bs stand to one side and wait.
When As are all seated at their desks with their sign in front of them, tell Bs to go and check out the subjects available for expert advice and sit opposite a student whose subjects interest them. Bs then are given five to ten minutes to ask questions about a subject (or subjects) which they would like to know more about. After five to ten minutes, signal that students should stop talking and that Bs should stand up and find another A to talk to. You can repeat this part two or three times.
At the midway point of the allotted time, reverse the roles. Bs sit down with their signs As play the role of the questioner.
At the end of the activity, students report on the most interesting things they have learnt during the activity.