The Free Stage task types.

The Free Stage task types.

In previous articles we looked at the tasks which lent themselves to the close control stage (34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40). All of these can be adapted to the free stage by removing the set dialogues, increasing vocabulary input and making the task attainable by allowing a much more natural interaction between students (e.g. allowing them to mingle instead of keeping them in pairs).

Here are a few more suggestions of task types that we at the TEFL Centre find useful:

Making information leaflets. These would be elaborated by the student or group of students with a given theme and area of vocabulary in mind, and the students then go on to interview each other about the information in each other's leaflet in order to find the most suitable offer for their needs. This is also very similar to the Cambridge PET exam reading part 2 question, but with students being responsible for creating the original material.

Theatre. Publications such as "English Sketches 1 & 2" (Doug Case, Ken Wilson "English Sketches by the English Teaching Theatre, books 1 & 2, Macmillan Publishers Ltd 1995, ISBN: 0435263951, 0435263986) offer structurally based theatre work, which if performed in class requires preparation which will produce a lot of spontaneous language.


Find the right student. This is basically a role play approach whereby students move around the class looking for relevant information in order to, for example, find a murderer, do some match making or get a job. Also mentioned in the close control stage, this type of activity creates a lot of spontaneous interaction.

Piece it together. This is where the necessary information for a student to achieve the task (normally an answer to some question or puzzle) is divided up and shared out amongst the students. For the students to get the whole picture, and therefore the answer, they have to interact as they see fit. An example would be students watching different snippets of a film and then try to decide who saw the first snippet, who saw the second etc. Particularly useful for this are short films like 'Wallace and Gromit', where 5 minute extracts have a clear logical progression to them.

Project work. This is where each student or group of students elaborates on one aspect of a theme and then come together to combine their information. For example, we could create the task of developing a tourist guide for Málaga and charge different groups with headings such as ‘museums’, ‘eating out’, ‘sporting activities’, ‘entertainment’. Once the information has been gathered, there is a group discussion about lay-out, what information to include, which are the best photos to use etc.

Personal information gathering / Questionnaires. Students visit other classrooms to interview students and come to conclusions about an overall question or statement. For example, give the statement ‘Most people read fewer than 2 really good books a year.’ or ´What percentage of students think they will need English in their work?’ The students then develop their questions to be able to address the statement/question and then take the questions to other students to interview them.

Treasure hunts. Students set up hunts involving other people (maybe the secretary, other teachers, and other students) in which the information is given to different participants who are then questioned. Their answers will lead to the next person to be questioned until the final person gives the whereabouts of the ‘treasure’.


Tags: tefl course, tefl training, free stage, task types
Posted on August 29th, 2017


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