In the Presidential Speech ESL activity, students compose a speech, saying what they will do if their classmates vote for them.
This activity can be used as an extension to the Presidential Campaign activity, or as a stand-alone activity. If you are using it on its own, introduce the topic by asking the students what problems there are in their school/city/country/the world.
Divide the class into groups of three or four students. If you have just done the Presidential Campaign activity, the students will need their notebooks with their policy ideas.
- In their groups, the students discuss what they think are the biggest problems and their ideas for what to do.
- They choose their five favourite/best policies. They form a new ‘political party’ and think of a name for that party.
- Next, they choose one person from the group to be the presidential candidate. This person will deliver a speech to the class, presenting the chosen policies.
- The group works together to write the speech. You have a choice at this point whether to direct the students to use the first conditional (because in a speech situation being elected is a realistic possibility – e.g. If you vote for me, I will…) or the second conditional (e.g. If I were elected president, I would… . Either way, instruct the students to write a full speech, highlighting problems before introducing policies.
- The groups take turns introducing their party/candidate and giving their speech. If possible, project a background, and play ‘inspirational’ music during the introduction. Encourage students to cheer for their candidates as well as policies they like.
- At the end, the students vote for their favourite candidate (not including their own candidate).
The Presidential Speech ESL activity can be used to practise either the first conditional or the second conditional, with intermediate or advanced students. With advanced students, you could do this activity as part of a topic on politics. In this case, they should incorporate learned vocabulary into the speeches.
If you are using this activity as an extension of the Presidential Campaign activity, switching to first conditional can be a good way for students to practise changing sentences from one conditional structure to another. It’s also a great opportunity to review the difference in use of the two conditionals.
The exact ‘presidential position’ will probably depend on the nature of your school. If you are teaching EFL in a foreign country, students will have a good knowledge of the country and its issues, so you could elect a ‘country President’. Whereas if you are teaching ESL in an English-speaking country, the mayor/president of their adopted city or a ‘President of the World’ will probably work better. Kids will love talking about the problems in their school and running for ‘School President’ – just make sure it doesn’t turn into a popularity contest!
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