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The journalist vs. the famous person

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For intermediate level students or above. I have used this with adults and teenagers. The teenagers really get into the characters, even cheering for their favourite singer. Students have to activate all tenses: present, past and present perfect, even future, in a more real life situation (i.e. they have to resond on the spot). They make lots of mistakes, but appreciate the practice and really enjoy themselves.

Divide the class in two - famous people and television interviewers. If there is an odd number, then one extra famous person. The famous people have to choose and state who they will be. For the odd number, two people are a famous couple. I write their names on the board with their chosen personality beside it. Then I assign one journalist to each personality, and note this also on the board. The journalists work together in one group to prepare questions for their famous person, helping each other with ideas. I explain that they are responsible for the running of the interview. They have to introduce their person, keep the questioning going, encourage the person to expand, and end it when they realise it is over. I go around and check that their questions are correct grammatically and offer ideas. I insist on not just boring questions, but more juicy ones based on their knowledge of this personality.

The other group is the famous people who have to dredge up all the information they know or the others in the group know of their personality. They can ad lib information if needed, but must keep in character. They must discuss this in English to prepare themselves for the questioning. They do not know what the questions will be, so are the ones with the hardest task. Usually it is the students who are most outgoing or strongest in the class.

Then the next stage is one pair after the other of interviewer and famous person sitting in front of the class and talking to us, the TV audience.

It takes from one to one and a half hours in total. I take notes but do not interrupt the interview. At the end of each interview we applaud. At the very end I ask for feedback and offer general comments on their performances and groups of gramatical or vocabulary errors. It's a very popular game.

Karina Lotz, Canadian
Strasbourg, France

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