Find Someone Who: Classic TEFL Speaking Activity

Ah, the old TEFL standby. A list of questions or, even better, fragments of sentences:

Find Someone Who:
…has eaten sushi _____
…has never flown on a plane _____
…has been to Paris _____

Students mingle, forming questions, giving short answers, and writing the names of people who say “yes.” Students practice speaking and you fill ten or fifteen minutes of the class.

Why is this activity so great?
Students need speaking and listening practice and they need practice forming questions. Here you go. FSW can be personalized and can also have a competitive element – be the first to get a yes to all of the questions. It is easily adaptable and you can make your own in no time. It can also focus on the tense or structure or vocabulary you are working on or as a revision activity.

How can you make it better?

If you want it to be competitive, be clear about rules. That students have to be honest is a given, but how about “you can only ask three questions to the same person, then you have to move on” or “you can only write a name down once for yes – then you have to find someone else who” to prevent students from just pairing off. Personalize activities whenever possible – maybe for Five Things You Didn’t Know About Me. Listen to your students speaking on some topic in pairs and then come to the next class with a find someone who.

What’s the downside?
Harder to use with smaller groups and higher levels. After a few times, especially if the group is small, it can get old. Shake things up by coming up with interesting content. “Find someone who thinks that plastic surgery should be covered by health insurance”…or tell students that when they get a “yes” answer, they also have to think of one question to ask the person.