How to Teach English With Ludic Activities

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Ludic, or spontaneous, activities are effective tools when teaching English. These activities encourage students to practice their language skills on the spot and without preparation. These exercises can help a teacher assess a student’s current speaking level, and can help students practice their skills in situations that closely resemble everyday life.

1 Introduce the idea of impromptu speeches

Introduce the idea of impromptu speeches to your class. Write several speech topics on slips of paper. Have the first student draw a slip of paper, read the title and think for about one minute. The student then gives a four-to-five-minute speech to the class on his topic. The goal is to give the student an extended period of time to speak on one subject, therefore demonstrating his vocabulary and fluency without the aid of preparation. Students listen to each other and the use of varied and uninterrupted words.

2 Plan

Plan a lesson on improvised skits for the class. Write down a number of skit outlines on slips of paper. Divide your class into groups of two or three students. Have each group draw a slip of paper and allow them three to four minutes to discuss their prompt and skit. Let each group perform their improvised skit for the class. By giving students only a few minutes to plan, you ensure that they have just enough time to plan the ideas of the skit, not the script. Students will have to improvise their lines, working with their group to create a cohesive storyline, and incorporating words they may not use in their average conversations.

3 Divide the class

Divide the class into pairs and prepare a series of conversation topics. Write single words such as "sunshine," "cats" or "tomatoes" onto slips of paper, then have each student draw a slip of paper. Students will try to explain the word they have on their paper without actually saying the word to their partner. They will have to use a wide vocabulary and their descriptive skills to convey the meaning.

4 Arrange desks or chairs or

Arrange desks or chairs in a large circle and host a conversation class. Have students sit around the circle to encourage an atmosphere of discussion. Prepare a few broad questions, such as “Do people in your country live to work, or work to live?” Avoid boring and basic questions such as “What is your favorite color?” Present the question to the class and then simply monitor and encourage the discussion. Allow students to respond to one another and drive the conversation forward. When you hear the conversation or interest declining, present another question and continue the discussion.

Nicki Callahan began her literary career in 1989. Her work has appeared in "The Charlotte Observer," "The Patriot Ledger," "The Wasatch County Courier," "Utah Homes & Garden Magazine" and "The Retired Officer Magazine." Callahan studied English literature and creative writing at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Utah.