The aim of this speaking activity is to come up with solutions to various school problems affecting teachers and students. Some school problems are analysed from the point of view of students or teachers. This allows our learners to change their perspective and think outside of the box. It is very engaging for teenage students and compliments nicely coursebook chapters about school life.
In this speaking activity, students need to look at the problems from both their own as well as their teachers’ perspective. Start by answering two questions: What kind of teachers do students like? What kind of students do teachers like? Why? It introduces the topic and is a great vocabulary revision (adjectives!).
Next, divide your class into groups/pairs. If you feel there are too many school problems to solve, you might ask your students to choose 4; or ask some groups to focus on the teacher’s perspective/student’s perspective only. Make sure all school problems get covered. Once groups/pairs are ready, have a class discussion and choose the most appropriate solutions for each problem.
This task offers the opportunity to use a wide range of grammar structures (2nd conditional, modal verbs, reported speech) and language for agreeing and disagreeing.
I always use this activity with my teenage FCE students. The topic of school problems is relevant enough to get them interested and engaged, and the discussion flows more naturally. It is a good way to make them more aware of using various expressions to share their opinion/agree/disagree which really comes in handy during the exam.