Class Exercises for Telephone Etiquette

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Telephone etiquette remains important for children and adolescents to learn. Despite the proliferation of cell phones, many households still have land-line phones. There are fun and engaging activities you can use in the classroom to teach proper telephone etiquette to any age.

1 Play a Game of Telephone

To practice pronunciation and manners of speaking clearly, engage your students in the classic game of telephone. Have the students sit together in a circle. One person comes up with a sentence and whispers it into the ear of the person to the right. The person listening does the same action until all of the participants have heard the sentence. The last person to receive the message relays it to the class. If teaching younger students, you can start with sharing a single word around the circle. The goal is to relay the sentence or word verbatim throughout the whole circle.

2 Message-Taking Role Play

Children likely will encounter a situation where they answer a call and need to take a message. To practice this in a fun and educational manner, you can brainstorm several situations where message taking is important. For example, Person 1 calls to tell Person 2 to meet him at the park at 5 p.m. Have three students act out this scenario. The message taker can first mix up the message, causing Person 2 to be late or miss the meeting completely. Then demonstrate the proper way to take a phone message so the meeting can take place.

3 Telephone Manners

To teach telephone manners such as “hello,” “goodbye,” “I’m sorry, you have the wrong number” and “She is not here right now. May I take a message?” you can create role-playing scenarios or play a "right way/wrong way" game. In game play, have students identify correct and incorrect telephone manners. For example, you can write on the board “hello” and “yeah?” then ask students which answer is the proper response.

4 Telephone Safety

You can create a lesson that identifies telephone safety techniques for children. These include not telling the caller you are alone in your house, not giving out identifying information to strangers and knowing the characteristics of a suspicious or threatening phone call. Try engaging students in a "What would you do/say?" discussion.

5 Telephone Cue Cards

For younger students, you can create telephone cue cards in class. These cards will have phrases on them such as “I’m sorry ____ can’t come to the phone right now” or “one moment, please.” These cards can be placed by the main telephone in the student’s home to help her practice good telephone etiquette.

M.A. Rodabaugh has enjoyed freelancing for the "Eastern Shore News," a small bi-weekly paper in Virginia since 2007. In May, 2009, she graduated from the College of William and Mary with a B.A. in sociology and theatre. Currently she is a member of Redeemer Ministry Corps, a one-year volunteer program based in the suburbs of Philadelphia.