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Get in on the Act V: Speaking Activities

You Can't Miss ItLiven up learning!

On this page you’ll find lots of fun speaking activities that will get students to use English in creative real life situations.

These activities include listening skills as well as speaking and cover the following:

  • discussions and debates
  • role plays and improvisation
  • talk shows
  • video assignments
  • interviews and surveys

Speaking Activity Evaluation Worksheet

After doing a speaking activity, you can use the free worksheet for feedback and evaluation purposes.

Speaking Activity Evaluation



Debates belong in any ESL curriculum that focuses on speaking. Although debates require advanced language skills, ESL students can begin at the intermediate level by choosing basic topics, and then working their way up. It’s never too early to start.


Improv Role Plays

Level: Intermediate to advanced

If you want to try something that’s daring and lots of fun, improvisational role plays are just the thing. Of course you need a class of students who interact well, demonstrate some acting talent (and here you’ll be surprised to find out who the really good actors are), and have an active imagination.

Improv Role Plays

Art Gallery

Level: Intermediate

Art is a subject that many ESL students are usually not very interested in at first. However, once they get involved in this activity, they end up enjoying it, especially when they have a variety of interesting works of art to discuss.

Art Gallery

5-Minute Discussions

Level: Intermediate to advanced

This activity gives ESL students an opportunity to carry on a semi-formal discussion and to exchange their opinions about everyday topics and in small groups.

5-Minute Discussion

Etiquette Lesson

Level: Intermediate

This activity fits in well with a unit on etiquette and social behaviour. It presents a good opportunity for students to investigate the culture of their host country and compare it to their own, and also to be creative and perform as actors. Suitable for intermediate to high intermediate.

Etiquette Lesson

Dating Etiquette 101 video by Bethany Wood:


Lesson plans for the speaking activities listed below can be ordered from My Store at or from me directly at

Public Service Announcement

This challenging activity requires students to work in small groups and to give a short presentation in the form of a Public Service Announcement on a social issue of urgency. Students have the opportunity:

  • to improve their research skills
  • to use persuasive language
  • to develop critical thinking skills
  • to produce a creative and informative video or power point presentation

Save the Planet

Level: High intermediate to advanced

A class of 8-12 is an optimal size for students to really get going on this activity, which fits well into a unit on environmental issues. When I did this activity, I organized it as a protest rally and invited other classes so that there was a lot of noise and excitement.

Town Hall Meeting: Casino or No Casino

Level: High intermediate to advanced

In this activity students conduct a town hall style meeting, in which they discuss Royal Flush Developments’ proposal to build a casino resort on their island. Casino or No Casino fits well into a unit on decision-making and community development. It also provides an opportunity for students to be creative and to do research into the issue and it stimulates a lively exchange of opinions.

Talk Show: Real Life Stories

Level: High intermediate to advanced

A talk show is one of the most entertaining activities that can be carried out in the ESL classroom, particularly if you have a few good actors in the class. In this activity students can choose from 6 “real life stories” or use news stories as a basis for their interviews. When I did this with my students, the results were truly amazing!

Sell Yourself

Level: High intermediate to advanced

I developed this activity for an advanced University Bridging Program Speaking and Listening class, and it fits wells into a unit that deals with marketing and self-promotion. Individual students are required to record a 30-60 second video in which they introduce a special skill or service.

Mock Election

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Running an election is one of the most challenging and rewarding activities that I have ever done with my ESL classes. It seems rather daunting at first, but when students get into it—and they really do—they can achieve some amazing results. This activity fits in well with a unit on politics or community building. 

30-second Commercial

Level: High intermediate

This activity fits well into a unit dealing with advertising, and requires students:

  • To analyze commercials for adverting techniques
  • To use descriptive language
  • To create a 30-second commercial for a consumer product.

Lesson Plan for My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Level: High intermediate to advanced

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of the best movies to use in the ESL classroom. It’s funny, romantic, relatively easy to understand (with or without English subtitles) and provides an excellent springboard for exploring intercultural relationships. I have used it several times and every time the students enjoyed it immensely.

Enjoy and learn!

© 2012 Diane Engelhardt. All rights reserved.

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