Family Fortunes in The EFL Classroom

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Games, quizzes and competitions are a sure-fire way to introduce fun, competition and motivation into the EFL classroom. There are loads of games available which have been specifically invented for the EFL classroom but there are also many games which are not specifically designed to teach English but which can be manipulated to do just that and provide opportunities for fun at the same time.

One such game is Family Fortunes.

Many of you will be familiar with the TV show which was shown for a long time on British and American TV. 100 Members of the public are asked to answer an everyday question and their responses are recorded and ranked according to how many people gave the same answer. For example, “We asked 100 people to name something you do in the dark” could result in answers like “sleep” or “watch movies”. On the show, each team is asked to guess what the most popular answers were for each question and allocated points accordingly. The more popular the answer, the more points awarded to the team.

This can be translated into an EFL classroom game in a number of ways.

Firstly, it can be used to practise a language point. If the present perfect has just been tackled in class, the questions can be constructed so as to include the target structure – for example, “We asked 100 people: What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?”.

Alternatively, it can be used to revise any vocabulary that has been covered in class – for example, “We asked 100 people to name a fruit/ a sport/ an occupation”.

Of course, the questions will need to be created by you but you can choose how you want to collect responses. You can either ask other teachers in your school – “We asked 10 teachers in the school…” – or the students themselves – “We asked 20 students…” – though this usually works best if done in advance without the students’ knowledge of the game.

During the lesson, divide the class into teams, give them the question and ask them to write down what they think the top five answers were. Let each team reveal their answers and then show them (preferably on an IWB or projector) what the top answers were and their corresponding points.

Students seem to love this game because there is the element of competition but they are allowed to be really creative with the game. There are not many rules and there is a lot of flexibility in how they come up with the answers, and the answers could be anything – just be sure they speak in English when deciding on their answers!

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