Reported Speech Speaking Game

Here is an activity I use to practise Reporting Verbs. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

Put the class in pairs and give one person the Student A sheet and the other the Students B one. Students read the sentences they don’t have a reported version of and think of an appropriate way to report the phrase using a Reporting Verb (e.g. offer, deny, suggest, etc.) from the options at the top of the worksheet.

I have used this with B2 and C1 classes as either controlled practice for the former or a revision of the grammar point for the latter.

I hope you find it useful!


Teaching by example

Should you give rules when teaching grammar or should the students figure them out? Should you show them examples of new grammar before teaching or see what they already know? Should you elicit using specific terminology or “real” language? These are some of the questions I ask myself when going over grammar with my classes. I’ve found with my Cambridge Advanced groups that the old chestnut of “test, teach, test” is much more effective at building their confidence with using new structures. Take, for example, Inversion or Negative Introductory Expressions (whichever you prefer). The thought of going over all the rules in the coursebook we use gave me the shivers, so I simply put up the following slide:


Having put this on the board, I then give students some time to do the task and therefore I can tell immediately who has an idea of the concept and who has not seen it before. We then go through the answers, I elicit the changes needed to write the new versions and then we can get on with using the grammar more actively.

All in all, this process takes about 15-20 minutes of a lesson. I feel that this method allows students to explore the grammar, apply exisiting knowledge and gain confidence in their own English skills. The rest of such a class would be taken up with activities to use the grammar point, along with other skills-based tasks.

Is this similar to how you would introduce this area of grammar? How would you do it differently? I always love hearing new ideas!




Hello world! Or rather hello to the few people who will probably read this blog. I thought I’d just briefly introduce myself to those of you who don’t know me already. My name’s Craig and I’ve been teaching English in Madrid to all ages and levels for the past four years. I’ve also written a complete online course at levels C1-C2 of the CEFR framework as part of a larger project, and I’m really interested in getting more involved with materials writing. Before all this I was Head of Languages and Business at a UK secondary school where I taught for just over five years. The time before that was filled with university, random jobs and lots of travelling!

I’m still not too sure what direction (if any) this blog will take. However, I am certain that it’ll be about all things ESL/EAL/EFL/[Insert random teaching acronym here]. Hopefully I’ll build up some sort of following and maybe make my (tiny) mark on the blogging world.

Stay tuned for updates – I hope to be writing regularly but, as you all know, life often gets in the way!