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Anybody know of a game to encourage kids to speak the target language?

I am trying to keep my Chinese students from speaking Chinese in class. They are between the ages of 5 and 9 and have had previous English experience in school or privately. I'm thinking of clipping clothespins on their shirts and when they forget and speak English, the other student can claim their clothespin. I can't decide whether to give just one clothespin to each student or several. If I give just one, then as students amass clothespins from others, they risk losing all of their clothespins. If I give them several, they would lose just one for each use of Chinese.

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I don't  think this is a good idea, Stephen! Five to nine year olds with a bunch of clothespins they grab off each other.... maybe you have better classroom management skills than I did!

I"d relax about it.... bug em to speak English (that might be a better way to put it than no speaking Chinese) but don't let it bug you : )

I'd be more likely to use a pure reward system... if everyone speaks only English today, we can....fill in the blank. Then I would have a bit of selective hearing... if they did a really good but not perfect job, we'd still get the reward.

I could also be all  wet. I haven't taught English/ esol in another country, just ESL and elementary ed here in the states.

* I'd probably leave out the 'only' part, and find something I really could stick to.... but  if every child participated and spoke English, I'd be pretty happy. You might not be pushing the gregarious ones as hard as you could, but you'd be picking up the shy ones.... how many kids do you have in class at a time?

When a class has loved me, I've been able to manipulate behavior ( D !) with guilt... I know I know, but it works great for me. I would show how left out I feel when people don't speak English, make them try to translate what they said into English so I can understand/ have fun too.... these are the gentle teacher's bag of tricks ; )

I can pull off  'tellme  tellme tellme I want to know too!!!'


I'd suggest trying some of the resources here - conversation prompts.  or simple conversations.

Also, seems like Pass the paper would work wonderfully.  Game i invented and now which has all kinds of different versions around the world.  

Make sure to see Andrew Finch's book - Tell me more  or the free textbook I wrote that is focused on communication for students and available to all members -Teach | Learn.

But don't push students too much. Note that they should all go at their own pace. Many students will only speak once they have enough comprehensible input and time working in English. They need gas in the tank. Speaking is a result of listening/reading.  Be patient but keep the focus on communication.  

Hope this helps!

We're still a team, David! :D

I still have the easy part : )

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