It amazes me when I meet a teacher who has never come across that TEFL classic “Back 2 the Board” (example here if you’re one of the unlucky ones). It’s just fail safe. Completely adaptable to level, language, situation, no prep, and I’ve never met a group of students yet, young or old, who don’t just love it. When a colleague explained Pronunciation Mountain to me the other day, I found myself similarly asking “Why have I never done this before???”
It came out of a discussion we had about getting stuck in a bit of a ‘correction rut’, particularly when it comes to pronunciation.
- Split the class into 2 (3 would be ok for really big classes)
- Board 6-10 words collected in class which Ls have difficulty pronouncing, increasing in difficulty bottom to top
- Optional: Draw a mountain around it, a stickman climber for each team, with a flag at the top (see above)
- The first team attempt to say each word chorally and correctly to “climb” to the top of the mountain. Allow them to quietly discuss and rehearse before giving their answer.
- Resist correction! If the team get one wrong (even just one team member) they “fall” back to the bottom and the other team have a crack
- The winning team is the one which completes all the words correctly, in order, chorally, to reach the flag
It’s supremely simple but effective! Teams become quickly very good at monitoring their own team mates and the other teams, noticing and discussing sound and stress, and it turns what is essentially a drill into something much more fun.
This activity can be used for any type of correction really, although I think it lends itself particularly to pronunciation. I’d like to try using it not only for isolated items but to focus on connected speech. Can you think of any more? Do you have any tried and tested ways to review pron? Please let me know.
**** Disclaimer**** I do not claim to be the originator of this activity and will do my best to credit teachers where possible. Sources suggest a certain Richard Mayne may be the genius behind this gem.