Speaking Challenge

In the Speaking Challenge ESL activity, students have to speak on a random topic for thirty or sixty seconds without stopping.

Students for Speaking Challenge ESL Activity:1+Time for Speaking Challenge ESL Activity:5-15 mins
Resources for Speaking Challenge ESL Activity:
Internet (Optional)

You will need a set of random topics for students to speak about. The quickest and easiest way to source these topics is to use our Challenge Generator (select ‘Speaking Topics’ from the dropdown menu).

Otherwise, a good way to prepare these is to ask the students to think of a few topics each. Make sure they understand that only suitable topics will be included! They write them on small pieces of paper and fold them up. It’s good to have some extra that you can use next time you do the activity. Put all of the topic papers in a hat/bag/box.

  1. One student is chosen to come to the front of class. This could be at random (try our Random Number Generator), a forfeit from another game, or based on behaviour (see below).
  2. That student picks/is given a random speaking topic.
  3. They have to speak about that topic for thirty (intermediate) or sixty (advanced) seconds, without stopping.
  4. If they pause for too long, they have to start again with another topic.
  5. Repeat with other students coming to the front.

Tip: Don’t be too strict about the pauses the first time a class does the activity, especially with intermediate students!

Target Language

As long as you create a supportive environment, the Speaking Challenge ESL activity is a great way to develop oral fluency and confidence.

You can either do this activity as a standalone warmer, or combine it with an game like Hot Potato or Musical Chairs, where the forfeit is this speaking challenge.

It is also a useful classroom management tool to have. If a student is talking when they shouldn’t be, on their phone, or not listening – call them out for a speaking challenge!

Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.