These are all ideas for using phrase cards to practice key phrases in a Meetings role-play. The ideas could all be used for other communication skills such as Telephoning.
For all the activities, you need to first prepare sets of cards with one phrase per card, and then possibly laminate them for long life and re-use. You will find key phrases in most coursebooks, boxed off in the communication skills units, and grouped according to function.
Distribute a whole set of cards to each student before the Meeting RP, and the students put them on the table in front of them, face-up. Before doing the RP, the students can ‘self-drill’, ie read each card in turn and quietly say the phrase to themselves a few times – just to bring the phrases into awareness.
Now set up and run the role-play in the normal way, but at the start say to the students that you’d like them to use some of the phrases during the activity (of course at appropriate moments). They can turn over the card face-down once they’ve spoken the phrase. I know teachers who introduce a competitive element – who can use all their cards first – but I don’t like that as I find it spoils the content of the RP.
Put a set of phrase cards (or a couple of sets, mixed up) into a pot in the middle of the table. Just before the RP begins, students draw three cards randomly. They have to speak those particular phrases at an appropriate moment in the RP. Once spoken, they put the card back into the pot in a random position and draw another so that they always have three in front of them.
The students can write their own phrase cards instead of using cards prepared by you . They can copy the phrases from a language box in a coursebook onto slips of paper. This gives you zero preparation and is quite a nice noticing activity for the students anyway.