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The phone game

LEVEL Elementary and above

TIME 10-15 minutes

AIM To give students controlled practice of telephone



AIM 1 Write the following on the blackboard and ask

your students to read it carefully:
Your girlfriend has left you an urgent message to
ring Cambridge 312433. This is not a number she
normally uses. Her name is Laura Higgins. Your
name is John Roberts.
2 Explain that John Roberts is going to try to get
through to Laura Higgins. Take all the other roles
3 During the activity you can nominate any one
of the students to be John Roberts at any point.
When a student is nominated he takes over the
conversation. The activity might proceed as
Teacher Cambridge 312433 (points to
student A).
A Please give me Ms Higgins.
Teacher Who? (points to student B).
B I wonder if I might speak to Ms
Higgins? (Teacher indicates that
there is a problem).
B (reformulates) I wonder if I could
speak to Ms Higgins, please?
Teacher Certainly, hold the line, please.

REMARKS As students gain confidence all kinds of problems

can be built in including wrong numbers, more
than one Ms Higgins, an answering machine, etc.
Each time communication breaks down the
teacher recycles all the exchanges up to the point
of breakdown indicating inappropriate intonation,
stress, vocabulary, word order, etc. by gesture
and then the student tries again.

A version of this activity was presented by Celia Roberts at a
seminar in the University of Lancaster.
Taken from Conversation

1 PHOTOCOPIABLE © Oxford University Press www.oup.com/elt