The Internet TESL Journal

Communicative Grammar -- It's Time to Talk.

Noriko Nishiguchi
Noriko24gucci [at]
Nara YMCA and Doshisha Women's University (Japan)


Level / Class Size

Time Necessary for the Activity


(Sample 1) Grammar focus: reviewing WH questions and responses about travel

LET'S FIND OUT! -- Travel
My interviewee:
was your worst trip?
do you want to do most when you travel?
was the last time you went on a trip?
do you usually travel with?
do you want to travel to next?
do you like to /don't like to travel?
was your best trip?

Let's match and make four or five questions. (Write an original question for number five.)

  1. ________________________________?
  2. ________________________________?
  3. ________________________________?
  4. ________________________________?
  5. ________________________________?

(Sample 2) Grammar focus: How questions

LET'S FIND OUT! -- Summer Vacation
My interviewee:
How many
did you go traveling?
books/movies did you read/see?
did you cook your meals?
days did you do part-time work?
did you go out with your friends?
times did you go swimming?
were you up until every night?
money did you save?

Let's complete the questions and choose four. (Write an original question for number five.)

  1. ________________________________?
  2. ________________________________?
  3. ________________________________?
  4. ________________________________?
  5. ________________________________?



Final Thoughts

Students have commented that this activity helped them get to know and talk to members in the class they usually don't talk to. (This was a college class of 55 first year students.) They were also able to get new information, hear different thoughts and opinions from various members. Setting their goals as to how much English they were going to use in the activity helped them take more responsibility in their learning. Many said they realized that they had to play a more positive role in their language studies: to ask questions when they didn't understand, to set their own goals and work towards them and to make efforts to use the language and not just sit and listen to the teacher. Some were simply happy when they were able to have a successful interview with their partners.

As a teacher I felt, at first, this activity required more work on the teacher's side. However, seeing students trying to use the language to communicate with one another and asking me questions when they got stuck, encouraged me to continue this activity at the beginning of each class as a warm-up activity. Progress could be seen in the students' reports as well. By responding to their writings, I was able to communicate with them and at the same time, students were able to see that writing was another way they could communicate in English.

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IX, No. 4, April 2003 Communicative.html