Want to help EFL/ESL students improve their English and, at the same time, open up their minds? Here’s a free EFL/ESL conversation activity/game that you’ll surely be interested in. “Other Uses” explores how something could be used for something else it was not designed for. EFL/ESL students read an article about the topic being discussed and then brainstorm non-traditional uses for the topic. “Other Uses” doesn’t require an EFL/ESL coursebook to make it work. It can be used as standalone material. This exercise can be used with all types of students and in all cultural settings. It’s up to you, the teacher, to decide how and where this free EFL/ESL conversation activity/game should be used. I’ve used it many times with different EFL/ESL classes, and they’ve always found it interesting.
Step 1: Select a theme/topic to discuss beforehand. Write it on the board/flipchart.
Step 2: Give students a short article that speaks about the theme/topic. An article with three to five paragraphs works fine. Make sure everybody has a copy.
Step 3: Ask members of the group to read the article and understand it. Let students work in groups if necessary to understand the article better.
Step 4: Have a discussion about the theme and the article. Make note of any mistakes made during the discussion and/or any improvements that could be made. Go over them with group.
Step 5: After having gone over corrections with the group, break the group into subgroups of two to three people. Invite each subgroup to brainstorm non-traditional uses for the topic being covered. For example, if the topic is “music”, non-traditional uses could include: “having music be played while studying in class” and “music as a healing tool in hospitals”. Give subgroups an adequate amount of time to come up with uses.
Step 6: Ask subgroups one by one to present their ideas to the whole group. Have a conversation about the ideas. Make note of any mistakes made during the conversation and/or any improvements that could be made. Go over them with group.