Free Speaking Lessons

General Hints for Free Speaking Activities

  • In a speaking lesson, fluency comes before accuracy! Don’t comment on every petty mistake as you walk by!
  • As long as they don’t crack racist jokes or make offensive remarks about minorities, don’t interfere if you don’t agree with your students’ point of view!
  • Whenever they’re among their peers, teenagers usually don’t mind “bad language” as much as adults would – however, if they keep overdoing it, remind them of the rules.
  • Insist on everybody’s speaking English all throughout the lesson – and speak English yourself!
  • Don’t eavesdrop on your students too much – but move closer if you notice that a group does not keep to the topic or speaks their native language!
  • If your students do interviews, rankings or discussions, give them a general time limit!
  • Teach your students small-talk skills!
  • Instruct your students to carry on talking even if they feel they are “done” with the exercise!
  • Make sure that students change their partners on a regular basis!
  • Whenever possible, divide up the group and let your students practise outside the classroom – however, tell them not to walk away too far so that you can supervise them!
  • Whenever it gets too noisy, use an acoustic signal to remind everyone to keep the noise level down!
  • Partner work and group work promote student interaction!
  • During free speaking activities, don’t correct your students too much!
  • Allow for language creativity and slang!

Free Speaking Activities

Book report

Present a book of your own choice!

Defective dialogue

Some parts of the dialogue are missing. Make it complete while you’re rehearsing it!


Rehearse this dialogue and present it in class!


What would you do in ...'s place? Discuss his / her dilemma!

Drawing by instructions

Look at this picture and explain to your partner what he should draw! Don’t let your partner see the picture!


Do an experiment. While experimenting, explain what you are doing!

Flow chart

Look at this flow chart with ideas for a short dialogue. Start a conversation!

Gallery walk

Walk around and talk about the pictures you will find on the classroom walls!

Information grids

To complete your worksheet, talk to your classmates!


Instruct your partner to … !


Students A and B, you speak different languages. Student C will be your interpreter!


Carry out an interview with your partner!


Tell each other one of the jokes you can find on the worksheet!

Magic trick

Perform a magic trick and explain what you are doing!

Movie report

Present a movie of your own choice!

Partner debate

Should we really…? Take up opposite positions!


Rate this list of items from 1 to 10. Compare your results!


Create a riddle and make your partner guess!

Role pay

Use these character cards and do a role play!

Show and Tell

Choose one of the objects and present them in class!

Speak and Draw

Draw a picture / map / graph and explain what you’re drawing!


Some of the information on your worksheet is missing. Talk to the other students to complete your worksheet!

Grading: Assessment Areas for Free Speaking

  • Appropriateness: Does your student communicate as it would be appropriate in a real-life situation, be it formal or informal?
  • Audience: Does your student address the audience in a way they find appropriate?
  • Body language: Does your student support his verbal message with adequate facial expressions and gestures?
  • Complexity: Does your student reach an acceptable level of complexity?
  • Cultural code: Is your student able to avoid cultural miscues? Does he display a certain level of sensitivity for the phenomena of intercultural communication?
  • Expressiveness: Is your student able to establish an emotional connection with the audience?
  • Fluency: Does your student speak fluently, without too much stuttering, “er” and “uhm”?
  • Grammar: Does your student make any grammatical mistakes?
  • Importance: Does your student stress important facts?
  • Information: Does your student supply all the essential information? Can he / she anticipate what the people in the audience need to know?
  • Intonation: Does your students master the intonation patterns well enough go get the message across?
  • Medium: Does your student master the limits or functions of the medium?
  • Phonetics: Does your student get all the sounds right (vowels and consonants)?
  • Range of vocabulary: Can your student choose from a wide range of words?
  • Rhetoric: Is your student a persuasive and confident speaker using a variety of public speaking techniques?
  • Simultaneity: Can your student speak and act at the same time without any interferences?
  • Strategy: Does your student follow an effective speaking strategy? Does he / she succeed in what he / she wants the audience to see or do?