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Telephone Doctor

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This is a variation of an old idea and is useful for large, loud classes that are hard to please. It is meant for intermediate levels and works well with a group that is familiar with common ailments and medicine.

First, you can introduce the theme of health with a game of Simon Says to review body parts. Then, you can review the bodyparts affected during common ailments (and the medicine they require) by listing these on the chalkboard:

Cough – cough syrup
Earache – ear drops
Cold – cold medicine
Sore Throat – throat lozenge
Stomachache – tablet
Backache – pain pill
Headache – aspirin

Next, classes will be divided into teams (existing columns of seats in class). The student seated at the back of each column will act as the ‘doctor’. Group names will be noted on a scoreboard at the front of the class (e.g. Dr. Tom, Dr. Jordan, Dr. Kitty). All students, except for the ‘doctors’, must clear their desks of writing materials. Teacher will pretend to make a phone call acting as a client with an ailment. Doctors must give direction by relaying correct ‘remedy’ down through the chain of students in their team (from back to front). Only the doctor can write down the remedy (listed on the chalkboard at the back of the class in small print). The first group to accurately provide the remedy gets a point. The team with the most points wins!

Following is the list of remedies in the form of a command:

Take 1 pain pill with food every 2 hours.
Take 1 tablespoon of cold medicine.
Take some cough syrup.
Take 2 ear drops.
Take 1 throat lozenge every 2 hours.
Take 1 tablet each 1/2 hour.
Take 2 aspirin with water every 4 hours.

Please note: most of these remedies require specific quantities and timings. This will enforce the players to practice good listening skills during the game as accuracy is crucial (i.e. Four aspirins in 1 hour can make you very sick!).

Finally, success of this activity will depend upon a great amount of energy and enthusiam. Good acting and voice impressions will really engage the students. Also, be prepared for some cheating (e.g. students throwing notes across the room). If this activity works for you, you can play it again but with a different theme such as clothing, apartments, food catering, etc.


Canadian in Xi'an, China

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