The money game

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GRAMMAR: Peer correction of spontaneous speech LEVEL; Post beginner to advanced

TIME: 15-30 minutes

MATERIALS:

  • 80-120 coins (10 each (or one group of 8-12 students)
  • One sheet of paper marked "The speaker is right"
  • One sheet of paper marked "The challenger is right"

In class

1 Ask 8-12 students to form a central 'players’ group round a flat surface, be it a table or the floor. Get the other students to space themselves round the ring of players so they can watch what's going on. (If the class is small, e.g. 10 students, there will be no spectators.)

2 Give each player 10 coins and lay down the two sheets of paper in the middle of the ring of players.

3 Explain the rules:

a) Player A gives player В a topic to speak on e.g. "houseplants".

b) В starts to speak on the topic. Anybody in the group who hears В make a grammar mistake, or who thinks he or she hears a grammar mistake can stop the speaker and say:

'You said:“…”. It’s wrong.’

At this stage the challenger must not propose a correction.

c) The members of the group vote by placing one coin on either ‘The speaker is right" or 'The challenger is right’ sheets. No fence-sitting!

d) The teacher then gives his or her verdict. If the speaker is right he or she takes all the money from ‘The speaker is right’ sheet. If the challenger is right, lie or she takes all the money from 'The challenger is right’ sheet. The money from the other sheet is withdrawn from circulation by the teacher. This money is now out of the game.

e) If the teacher declares the challenger right, the latter must attempt a correction. If this is right the challenger takes two coins from the speaker. If it is wrong the challenger gives the speaker two coins.

0 Whether the challenge was right or wrong В goes on talking on his or her topic. After a second challenge В must stop talking and pick another student and another topic so the game can carry on.

g) The winner is the group member with most coins after an allotted time, say 15 mins.

Acknowledgement
This exercise owes something to the BBC radio programme ‘Just a Minute’. For a full description of how this can be used for grammar work see Learning English words, J. Morgan and M. Rinvolucri (Oxford University Press, 1986). The exercise also owes a lot to a psychodrama exercise offered by Bernard Dufeu, University of Mainz.

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