This is just a quick twist you can add to any telephone practice. After the learners have been introduced to the particular telephone skill and practiced it in pairs, I give them more “realistic” practice.
- Hand out slips of paper to the learners. Have them write their cell phone number on the slip with NO NAME.
- Collect the slips and mix them.
- Explain you are going to leave the room and call a few of the numbers you now have. The learner whose phone rings should answer the call on loud speaker.
- While the learner is speaking, the others should take notes (What is the call about, was it successful etc).
- Then I go outside and make the calls. Usually I start with: Hello this is XX from YY. You called and left a message I should call you back? What can I do for you?” at which point the learner should respond in a similar way to the practice they had in the earlier stages of the lesson. I make notes on good language and areas of improvement. I usually call about 25% of the class, depending on how many are in the group.
- Return to the class. Have a feedback session. Important: to build confidence, don’t over correct at this stage since it is a fluency exercise. Focus on how they handled the call and if it was ultimately successful.
For lower levels: Have them answer the call in pairs.
1-1: This can work well for 1-1. However, if possible, I sometimes get a colleague or friend to make the call so it is a bit more realistic.