Read 6717 times

Conversation fluency
« on: April 15, 2011, 06:11:07 am »
Here's a 25 minute activity that worked really well in my conversation class. The students are mostly intermediate and a bit higher though there is a mix of high beginners as well.This activity works well for all of these levels.

This fun activity is called 4-3-2. I got the idea from Paul Nation. Easy set up and no prep required.

Get class to stand up and form two lines. Each person is face to face with one partner. Line A and Line B.

Line A has to speak about one topic for 4 minutes - no stopping. Line B partner is quiet. This is not a dialogue; it's a monologue. Teacher uses the stopwatch on his/her cell phone.

Now repeat for Line B for 4 minutes.

Next, the last person in Line A comes to the front and everybody in Line A shifts down one person. So everybody has a new partner. Now, Line A people repeat their monologue but they have only 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, Line B people speak.

Finally, shift Line A one more time. New partners again. Repeat monologues for 2 minutes.

Why do this? My students become progressively better at making their speeches. They paused less frequently, spoke faster and more clearly.

A little noisy for a class of 30 students. But it is an effective fluency builder and some students were surprised at how well they could speak. Oh, no dictionaries.

Enjoy and thanks to Paul Nation for this great activity.


PS for more ideas, check out my site at

  • thektulu7
  • Adventurer

    • 66

    • March 01, 2011, 10:39:02 pm
    • Gwangcheon, South Korea
Re: Conversation fluency
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2011, 09:10:31 am »
Thanks for this idea. I didn't know what to do on the first day of the new semester. This saved me (I hope). I just used it with my first class and, well, I teach at a low-level high school so it was a bit difficult, but I was surprised at the lack of groaning in response to my instructions. Many students surprised me by their efforts. I think if I use this occasionally, then the results you predict will indeed come true.

Re: Conversation fluency
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2011, 03:49:45 pm »
Thanks.  This is really a great idea.
The only way you'll get better at speaking is through practice. 

  • jksmith6
  • Explorer

    • 7

    • August 29, 2011, 11:31:48 am
    • Busan
Re: Conversation fluency
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2011, 01:12:38 pm »
wow..thanks for this exercise. I was a bit concerned on my first day of class because a lot of my students are high-intermediate to low advanced. I have yet to administer this exercise to the class. Should the time be increased since they are a little bit more comfortable with their English?

  • kaisaee3
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • August 09, 2011, 08:28:55 am
    • Jeonju
Re: Conversation fluency
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2011, 11:09:44 am »
that seems like a really good activity.  Do you give them any thinking time before they have to talk or just make them start right up?  thanks!

  • Oboe
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • December 14, 2010, 08:04:18 am
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Conversation fluency
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2011, 03:46:55 pm »
What are the supposed to talk about???? Just anything that comes into their head or are they supposed to stick to a topic?

  • tootallteeter
  • Waygookin

    • 21

    • September 18, 2012, 08:25:48 am
    • Seochang High School, Yangsan
Re: Conversation fluency
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 03:25:59 pm »
I think this is a good idea for an activity to get the students moving and speaking. However, after teaching a lesson on greetings and easy conversation I tried this in a couple of my grade 2 classes in my low-level high school, and I couldn't even get them all to stand up. So I tried the same idea of free-talking with students around them sitting down, and it still didn't work. To each their own.

  • Weyird
  • Adventurer

    • 31

    • September 18, 2012, 01:51:06 am
    • South Africa
Re: Conversation fluency
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2013, 10:56:03 am »
Yeah, I think this is a great idea... as long as you can control your class. Sadly, I can't. I already know that this will fail for me (in at least 5 of my 8 classes) as soon as I try to get them to stand up.