Rumor Has It...

No, this post won't be about Adele's song, but about an activity that can not only make your students practice listening and speaking, but also learn a lot about communication. This is an activity for the whole class and it's great to use if you have some behavioral problems within your students. If they are in their teenage years, there will certainly be many ups and downs between them, especially if you take into account that rumors can sometimes make a person's life unbearable. When doing this activity you can show them how a rumor starts, while they practice their speaking and listening skills.

You should ask at least 4-5 of your students to volunteer for the activity and tell them to step outside the classroom for a few minutes. They should wait in front of the door until you call them in, one by one. Tell them not to eavesdrop on what is going on in the classroom, as that will ruin the purpose of the activity. 

When they are out of the classroom, you should read a story to the rest of the class, or make another student do it. The story should be short, have at least 4-5 characters and be pretty detailed. I found one here, so take a look, but I think that this one should be alternated a bit (e.g. change the person to 3rd person singular, so that it sounds like you are talking about someone else, not like someone is talking about their own experience; and add as many details as you want). Your students should listen carefully because they will have to retell the story as accurate as possible to the students who are now outside of the classroom.

When the story is read out loud, one student from the outside, should enter the classroom and the rest of the class should retell the story to him/her. When they are done, another student enters the classroom, and now the student who entered the first should retell the story, again as accurate as possible. Then another student enters and you do this until everyone is in. The last student who enters, should hear the story and then retell it on the spot to the rest of the class. It will probably be hilarious because most of the facts will be thrown out, some of them will be changed, and some of them completely misunderstood.

You should then read the story again, so that everyone sees how the original went and then tell them that this is how a rumor starts and that they should always be aware of communication gaps and wrong interpretations.

What do you think about this activity? Do you have any good short stories that can be used for it?


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