Class Activities: Spot the Difference

“OK guys, we’re going to describe this picture…” you say to your eager students. Silence is their response.

We’ve all experienced the silent response and will continue to experience it for as long as we teach a foreign language. But what are some ways to alleviate it?

One activity that I’ve been trying of late with both younger learners and adult learners utilises spot the difference pictures. Most people love a good puzzle, so to give them something they may enjoy in their L1 and transfer it to something that makes use of the language patterns they are currently learning can give some light-hearted relief and much-needed spontaneous speaking practice.

How to use the spot the difference pictures? Well, your imagination is your limit as with any teaching scenario.

I’ve used them to cover:

  • prepositions of place
  • descriptions with progressive continuous
  • descriptions of people (appearance)
  • descriptions of the scene
  • differences in thoughts and emotions (via body language and facial expressions)

As for how to use them? Well, again… imagination is the key. I’ve used them in pair work, group work and whole class work, and have also made a team game out of them. The game being that the students work in teams to communicate with one another and write down the differences as quickly as possible. This is most effective with the younger learners since they like the competitive side of things, but I’m sure it can be adapted to suit all ages.

I’m sure there are other ideas of what they can cover as well… and I’d love to hear about them!


Author: Andrew

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