Physical Activity in the Classroom:
Students will usually pick the same partners every class. Making your students get up out of their seats forces them to interact with some different people and hear different accents, grammar and vocabulary when they’re doing ESL speaking activities. People who don’t necessarily know each other that well will more likely speak English to each other because it would just be awkward to go against the teacher’s wishes with someone they don’t know very well!
Have students get up out of their seats helps out the sleepy people. Standing up and walking around breaks up the tedium of the sitting and is a good way to have a mini-break in class but still get your EFL students to speak English.
When students have to walk around the classroom, interacting with their classmates, they get excited about it for some reason. I’m not really sure why but I see a lot of smiles and laughs. Maybe it’s the novelty of actually speaking English to each other in a way that is non-threatening and pretty chilled out. Or, finding out a few random bits of information about their classmates.
I can walk around, give some feedback and supervise in a less obvious way.
Usually at the end of the activity, I’ll give some group feedback. I noticed by the end of the semester all my classes were much better at this type of thing because I gave them feedback each time (or maybe it was just that they had practiced it!) For example, I would say:
“You were very good at talking to everybody, but I heard a lot of you speaking Korean!”
“Your speaking was very good but why did you write your answers in Korean? It’s time for practicing English, writing and speaking!”
“I heard lots of English but pay attention to the grammar a little more. Here is one of the biggest mistakes I heard:”
Practical Speaking Activities for Your ESL Classes:
For even more ideas to use physical activity in the classroom, check out this book on Amazon:39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults Many of them involve having students up and about, interacting with lots of different people.