Just a Minute is a very popular British radio quiz game which is ideal for the ELT classroom. It's very simple to prepare and great fun to play. Best for small groups but it can be played with larger groups if you prepare it well. It works best, perhaps, with Intermediate and above level students.
The principle of the game is very simple. A student has to speak for 60 seconds on a specific subject. However, they have to speak without hesitation, repetition or deviation. By repetition we mean that the student has used the same word more than once; this doesn't include prepositions and suchlike but really only applies to content words or phrases. Deviation means that the student has strayed off topic; however it can also mean that the student is talking rubbish or making huge errors with their statements.
While the student is speaking they can be challenged by another student who thinks they have hesitated, repeated a word or phrase or deviated. If the challenge is successful (i.e. the teacher agrees) then the challenger is given a point and must continue speaking on the same subject for the remainder of the 60 seconds.
A typical game might go as follows:
The topics can be very simple. It is not a matter of thinking about complex sentences and doing research before speaking, it's merely about learning to speak fluently.
Typical topics might include:
The topic can be written up on the board and you can then give the class a few moments to think about what to say before choosing a random student to begin speaking.
In the classroom a stopwatch is useful for timing.
QVC - a speaking activity in the style of the QVC channel.Image © purplemattfish