Adults Speaking Game - The Alibi

Teens and Adults Speaking Game: The Alibi

This speaking activity is a surefire winner if you teach older students. You can run this ESL speaking game for adults if your students are upper elementary or above. Best of all, this speaking game for teens and adults requires no special preparation at all - but you will need two separate areas or two classrooms.

The Basic Idea of the Game

There was a crime committed in the area last night and you think that TWO of your students did it! The idea is for your two students to try to get away with it! The rest of your class are the police and they must try to prove that the two students did the crime! This famous ESL activity for adults encourages lots of speaking, listening and your students will also be writing notes. There aren’t many speaking activities as easy to set up as this one!

Watch our YouTube video on how to use The Alibi in your adults speaking class

What to Do

The Suspects: Choose two strong students to be the suspects and ask them to head out into the corridor or the second classroom. Once away from the rest of the class, tell them that they committed the crime, but that they want to get away with it. The need to think up of a fake alibi (an untrue story of where they were at the time of the crime). Their alibi needs to include going to three different places and how they got from A to B. For example: They had dinner together, then took a bus to the cinema to watch a film, then walked to the pub. Encourage your students to try to plan their alibi using English. The two suspects were together at all times.

The Police: In class, tell the rest of your students that they are the police. The two students outside are concocting a fake alibi of what they were doing last night and that the police need to ask questions to catch them out!

The students playing the police won’t know what the alibi is, but explain to them that the suspects are making an alibi with three different places and that they were always together. Ask them to try to guess the places the suspects might use in their alibi! Also, get your students to think of questions they can ask the students about their evening which can catch them out.

The Alibi Speaking Game

After 10-15 minutes, divide your class into two groups: Police Team A and Police Team B. Have one of the police teams stay in the classroom they are in now and send the other police team to the other classroom. One suspect will be in each room and from now on they can’t talk to each other!

Have each police team ask questions to the suspect about their alibi. This is perfect practice for past tenses! As each suspect in different rooms answer, the police teams can be carefully listening and making notes. You, the teacher, will need to be moving between classrooms frequently to help. Suspects are NOT allowed to say ‘they don’t know’ to any question; they must answer!

After 10 or so minutes, ask the suspects to switch rooms. Make sure they don’t speak to each other as they pass each other! (They’ll want to double check their story!!)

The police now ask the same questions to their new suspect (this is hilarious, as suspects always get questions they haven’t prepared for!)

Will the suspects get away with it?

If the police find less than five differences in the alibi, then they have insufficient evidence and the suspects walk free! However, if they can find five differences in the suspects’ story, then the police have enough evidence to convict and win the speaking game!

At the end of the questioning, get all students back into one classroom and go through any differences together. This is a fantastic speaking activity for English students, which is fun and will improve fluency and accuracy in using past tenses. Your students will be talking about this TEFL speaking game for a long time to come!

Stuart Allen

by Stuart Allen

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