Capitalizing On Gameshow Concepts In Class: TEFL Games

0000035622_20061102185226.jpgIf you haven’t heard the big news: Bob Barker of The Price Is Right filmed his last episode today. He’s 83. I’ve never been a big follower (which you might find hard to believe after my recent posts on television generally and Lost in particular) but as an animal lover and former shelter volunteer, I like that he ends his shows with a message to spay and neuter pets – and that he has a grant-making foundation to help support people who carry out this work as well.

How can Bob Barker help you and your students? Well, he might be able to convince them to spay and neuter their pets. Or, you can capitalize on the concept of The Price Is Right to help them practice numbers, questions and other structures and vocabulary in an interesting and competitive way.

I’m no expert, but the basic idea of The Price is Right is obviously for contestants to guess the prices – maybe by matching the price to the item or just guessing off the top of their head (students can practice numbers/prices this way) and sometimes by putting items in order, from most expensive to least expensive (students can practice comparatives this way). If you start with the price, they can also practice specific vocabulary by naming the item which costs that much; an additional challenge might be to incorporate the prices of items in your country. One advantage of an activity like this is that while it certainly incorporates English language goals, it’s not limited to them, so students with weaker English language ability also have a chance to excel – if they have an eye for the price, that is.

I’ve also capitalized on the concept of Big Brother by asking students first to brainstorm a list of household items or electronic items – adding a few of my own choice for competitive purposes, like heating/air-conditioning, etc. – and then having them in groups decide which five they would choose if they were living in the Big Brother house for a month as well as a reason why, and then comparing and possibly debating as a group.

And don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets while you’re at it!

Jeopardy is another good one, and some form of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – especially if students themselves research the questions and write answer choices for each other. Higher level students, especially those in larger groups, might enjoy interviewing possible contestants for reality shows like Survivor and/or whatever the latest one is.

With higher level students you might be able to incorporate only in a shorter way, but could hold a short discussion about the popularity of game shows and/or reality shows over time, perhaps comparing past and present, or the popularity of different types of shows, or your country and theirs.