I know grammar is a dirty word, but in the Swiss secondary school system it’s difficult to avoid, so after the bare minimum I encourage my students to talk to each other as much as possible.
It seems that most conversations involve questions so I try to get them asking each other questions, and then answering them (I hope!).
I have noticed however, that no matter how good at gap filling they are, instructions such as…
” write five questions about life experiences”
” Write as many questions using ‘would’ as you can”
…tend to lead to a verbal bunfight.
So today I put some guiders on the board:
Complete these questions:
What would you do if…..?
Where would you go if….?
What would you…(verb).. if….?
……. would you…..(verb)..if….?
As you can see they gradually leave more freedom to the students.
Result- questions that actually made sense and developed into some great conversations, but even better – even the weaker students had enough material to participate fully in the activity.
On a totally different note, I don’t know if you are familiar with Jim Scrivener’s demand high approach, I saw him present it at Harrogate, here‘s the video of that talk if you have a moment. It’s the polar opposite of my question leaders, but as you well know, there’s room for a lot of stuff in the EFL classroom.