Search and Share Speaking Activities Can Flip English Classrooms and Become Complete EFL Class Lessons


“Education is a kind of continuing dialogue and a dialogue assumes, in the nature of the case, different points of view.”

~Robert Hutchins (1899-1977), educator and philosopher

How can we create more speaking opportunities for students in our English classes? Why not ask students to select articles, charts, and videos that they would like to share with classmates on particular themes?

“Search and Share” is the way I describe this communicative homework activity. In the last blog post, I outlined how English teachers can revitalize their classes and expand student speaking time with these homework activities. It’s an easy, effective way to “flip” your ESL class and teach critical thinking skills too. Here I will show how English teachers can extend the activity into an entire class period. I use this technique quite often in my advanced speaking skills classes with graduate university students to create authentic, satisfying classroom conversations.

Practice Improves Storytelling Skills

EFL teachers can also move English students into new groupings, and take the communicative activity a few steps further. Students can present their “research” again, but this time they must include all the information that they were asked in the first round. So the second telling provides more details. It’s also usually tighter. Once again, however, every student asks every presenter a question. This consistent practice pushes shy students to ask questions, and gives all students practice in responding to questions in English. Practice, as the cliche goes, makes progress. English students both practice and improve their storytelling skills with this communicative activity.

In a 50-minute class, we usually only have time for two rounds. Yet in an 80-minute class we usually have time for three rounds and a class discussion. As an ESL teacher, I circle around in different groups, ask questions, and jot down notes on “good mistakes.” Between rounds, I usually summarize some “good mistakes” such as verb tense errors or forgetting to cite a source. Sometimes, however, I will save the “good mistakes” to review after a few rounds. For homework, students post the links to their selected videos or articles on a class website so other students can easily access the recommended materials.

Can you take the “Search and Share” assignment further? Yes. Sometimes students will be asked to develop a PPT presentation and prepare a class presentation for the following class. As with so many topics, the more you know about a subject, the more interesting the subject becomes. Perhaps that’s why students consistently praise this assignment on their course evaluations.

Download Free Search and Share Activities

You can find “Search and Share” materials in Compelling American Conversations for ESL students and Compelling Conversations – Japan for EFL students. This conversation activity allows students to “ask more, know more, speak more, and share more.” Isn’t that what we want?

How do you encourage students to intelligently search for information on the internet and share materials in your English class?

Ask more. Know more. Share more.
Create Compelling Conversations!


One comment

  1. I agree in the topic that teachers should be leaning towards these speaking opportunities for students in English classes.I grew up in Europe in a non English country and i remember in High School my teacher would often let us choose a topic (English language releated), and so we could have a disscussion about it and every classmate was very active in classes unlike most classes who ignore those who cant speak fluent English

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