Doing some grammar exercises such as fill in the gaps or multiple-choice questions is much easier than using these structures in speech. The same refers to Future Tenses. It is sometimes really time-consuming to find proper activities for practising these tenses, and therefore we have prepared a list of tasks that you can have at your disposal and apply in your classes.
A guessing game with “Going to”
Students work in pairs. One of them uses “Going to” to say what small things he/she is planning to do as part of a bigger plan. The partner listens and tries to guess the bigger plan. For example, the person speaking says: “I’m going to buy some new clothes,” “I’m going to visit a hairdresser,” “I’m going to apply make-up this evening,” etc. until the partner guesses that she is going to a party or a wedding.
“Going to” vs “Will”
If you want your students to have more practice with these two Future forms and understand their differences, you can get the learners to contrast these two tenses, with one student saying what they are planning to do and the other students in their group coming up with ways to help them.
- I’m going to have a picnic on Saturday morning.
- Oh, that’s a great idea. I will bake some cookies then.
The winner is either the person who has the best idea or the last person to come up with an acceptable idea when everyone else has run out.
Picture Prompts with “Going to” and “Will”
Another way to get your students to speak using “going to” and “will” is with the help of pictures and corresponding questions.
- What places do you think the boy and the dragon are going to visit?
- What will the weather be like there, in your opinion?
- How are they going to spend their time there?
- Will you join them? Why (not)?
One of the most helpful ways of practising will and be going to is using videos. It is quite simple: pause the video and ask the students to predict what happens next. You can use this for a mix of both “going to for predictions with future evidence” and “will for predictions” by picking moments where the present evidence is clear and the consequences are also possible to predict. You can choose any video you want or pick the ones designed especially for practising will and be going to, such as Future Predictions (will / be going to) – Family Guy.
- Pause at 00:35.
- Continue playing till 01:05.
- Continue playing till 01:40.
- Continue playing till 02:23.
- Continue playing till 02:30.
The activity is suitable for revising Present continuous, be going to, and Will. Put three chairs in the front of your classroom, and label each one either Present continuous, be going to, or Will. Each student chooses one chair. They sit in the chair and then use that construction to make up a sentence about the future. If they make mistakes, the teacher points them to the correct chairs. The same can be applied with adults using just labels with Present continuous, be going to, and Will.
What the Future Holds
Our world is constantly changing, and people can make predictions about it. Talking about what the future holds may be beneficial in terms of practising Future Simple, Future Continuous, and Future Perfect. Start with talking about one year from now. What will be different? What will be the same? Then move on to five years, ten years, and fifty years. You can also provide students with some future predictions and ask them to express their opinion on them. Do they agree or not? What are the alternatives?
In 20 years…
- we’ll all be using solar power to heat our houses.
- low-cost airlines will have disappeared and tickets will be extremely expensive.
- private swimming pools and golf courses will have been banned.
- everyone will be using public transport to get to work.
- we’ll have stopped using petrol and we will be using electric cars.
- people won’t be going on skiing holidays anymore.
This was the list of the activities that I use in my classes. You are free to elaborate and adapt them to your lessons.
Let me know in the comments below what activities your students enjoy most!
Speaking activities are, obviously, essential for English language speaking classes. A lot of students join classes particularly to develop their communicative competence, become more fluent, versatile, adaptable, and confident communicators in English. However, designing speaking activities might be time-consuming and nerve-wracking for any teacher. We have prepared a memo with superb ready-made speaking tasks that will make your student talking. Download it here.