Question: How can I give my learners more opportunities to practise speaking and listening in class?  

Answer: Create information gaps

Creating information gaps between learners provides real reasons to talk. It therefore increases opportunities for speaking and listening.  

Examples of information gaps

  • Learners work in pairs to find information. They have the same text but different information is missing, e.g. text A has the prices of half the items in a shop; text B has the prices of the other items. Learners ask each other questions to find the prices of all the items. 
  • Learners write questions to find out about likes, favourites or experiences. They work in pairs or groups, or mingle
  • Learners find out what their classmates think, e.g. about a recent topic or a story they’ve just read in class. They work in pairs or small groups. 
  • Learners find out what their classmates know, e.g. about a topic or the world. They brainstorm or discuss in small groups.   
  • With practice, you will find new and different ways to create gaps between learners. 

How will you create gaps to increase speaking in your classes?


Brainstorm: To suggest ideas quickly, before then considering them more carefully. 

Information gap: A task in which each learner lacks all the information to complete it by themselves. Learners must work with their classmates and share information to do this, making the activity highly communicative. 

Mingle: A type of task in which students move about the room and speak to other students at random.