O ral English Activities
More talking up the back!

About This Site

The aim of this site is to offer teachers a varied range of classroom activities for practising oral English. Most are commmunicative activities designed to give students conversation practice, although a few have other aims. The activities are drawn from this site's author's experience teaching oral English in a Chinese university.

Oral English activities made in China.

What makes this site different to other ESL resources on the internet? English teaching is something happening in scores of countries, in thousands of different institutions, in situations that differ widely in their aims, methods, and their physical and social environments. Although many free resources are available on the internet, as well as a growing number of pay-for-use sites, I found it difficult to locate ideas to suit my specific needs teaching a weekly one-and-a-half hour oral English class. Furthermore, despite the huge amount of material for English students that is available in Chinese bookstores, there is not much aimed at teachers and not much material for oral English based on communicative principles. Thus, the internet becomes an all-the-more vital resource. I hope that this site will help to fill the void that I feel exists. Although many of the ideas are transferable to other countries and other class formats, the target audience of this site are those teachers who are asked to teach an "oral English" or "conversational English" class in China or a country with a similar system of English education (including many countries in Asia).

Having said that, every English school or university department is of course different, but the main features that have influenced my lesson planning are:

The instructions for preparing and carrying out some of the activities are quite detailed. This is partly because the catalogue is for my own reference too, so I hope that experienced teachers will not find these explicit instructions too patronising.


Language classes can be structured in various ways, but for an oral English class my opinion is that theme-based lessons are the most effective. A series of thematically related activities not only gives a sense of continuity to the lesson, but also means that discussion-based activities can take advantage of the students' thoughts and opinions activated by the preceding activity. Conversely, it is only natural that students coming to a discussion "cold" will need a few minutes to turn their mind towards the new topic.

To encourage and facilitate the planning of theme-based lessons, the activities on this site are arranged in categories according to theme. These groupings are quite broad, however, and I am not suggesting that each lesson ought to cover a different one of these categories. For example, "Hobbies" and "Sports" could be dealt with in two separate lessons, but on this site both these themes are grouped under Recreation.

Each activity is listed under one main category, but may also be cross-referenced in the "see also" section of another category.

File Formats

Some activities include sheets which need to be printed. These are usually supplied in Microsoft Word format. A link to an "html preview" is also given. This preview can be displayed by your web browser without using Word, in order to make reading about the activities more convenient, but it is not suitable for printing.


The copyright for all material on this site, including contributions in the "comments" section, belongs to the particular author of that material. Individual teachers are granted permission to reproduce the material for their own classroom use, but any other sort of reproduction, electronic or otherwise, requires the author's written consent.