Author: Adrian Tennant | Uploaded on 1 July 2022


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

Giving my learners a set of useful phrases in English is a great way to support them in their learning. Now, whenever they want to say something, they can just look round the room and find the phrase they need to use. After a while, they know the phrases and you can see them become more confident.

 Stage 1: Prepare

Before a lesson prepare cards with the phrases you want your learners to use. For example:

How do spell …?

What is … in English?

Can you repeat that?

I’m sorry, I don’t understand.

How do you say … in English?

What does … mean?

What’s the difference between … and …?

Can you give an example?

Alternatively, in class brainstorm the phrases and get the learners to make the cards.

Stage 2: Introduce

Hold up each card and say: “Say what you see on the card.”

Drill each phrase so the learners can say each one correctly.

Also, check the learners know when to use each phrase. One way to do this is have learners standing around the room each holding a card. You say one of the phrases and the other learners need to point to the person holding the card with the phrase on it. 

Stage 3: Distribute

Fix each separate card on the wall around the room and say: “When you need to say something in English using one of the phrases, look around the room. Find the right phrase and try to say it in English.”

Stage 4: Use

In future lessons when a learner wants to say or ask something and they use L1 say: “Look around the room. How do you say that in English?”

Providing a set of useful phrases in English can really help with learners’ confidence. Add new phrases as and when needed and remove phrases once learners know when and how to use them. 


Drill: A classroom technique used to practise new language. It involves the teacher modelling a word or a sentence and the learners repeating it.

Separate: to keep apart or divide

L1: The language learnt from birth (= mother tongue).