ESL Roleplays: A fantastic way to practice telephone skills
October 3rd, 2016 / Materials
The ESL telephone lesson, ‘The Amazon Telephone roleplay,’ is a pairs’ activity to practice telephone skills. It is especially useful for business classes as students are keen to practice taking down information on the phone. This free English teaching material takes up to 40 minutes to complete. Enjoy!
Download the full roleplay here.
Step 1: First explain to your students what to say when they first pick up the phone .i.e. ‘hello’, ‘Good morning’, ‘ [Name of company], how can I help you?’ Don’t neglect this part or assume that they already know what to say as every culture has different telephone habits. In Spain for example they say ‘tell me’ to start a phone conversation or even sometimes ‘speak’ which is obviously doesn’t translate if you’re dealing with an English speaking client.
Step 2: Drill that when referring to yourself, the person you’re speaking to or someone else, always say ‘is’. For example, when the phone rings and you don’t know who it is you may pick up the phone and say ‘Hello, this is Anna, who is this please?’ You wouldn’t say ‘Hello, I am Anna, who are you please?’ as this would sound strange and rude.
Step 3: Now your students understand phone etiquette tell them that they are going to practice their phone skills. Put your class into pairs and seat each pair with their backs together.
Step 4: Hand Student A part A of the telephone roleplay and explain that they work for Amazon in the dispatch department. It’s Christmas and they have a lot of packages to send from their Madrid headquarters. They must verbally explain the information on the sheet to Student B at DHL who will send the packages to the clients.
Student B will write down all the information that is given to them. Student B cannot see the sheet as they are facing away from Student A. All information must be given verbally. If Student B doesn’t understand something they must ask questions.
Step 5: Once all information has been passed from Amazon to DHL your students will conclude the call. Now student A and B can compare the information sheet with Student B’s notes to check if they got anything wrong.
Step 6: Next give Student B part B of the roleplay and start the process again with Student B now being the employee of Amazon.
All information must be verbally passed from one partner to another including the correct spellings of addresses and names.
Difficult words must be spell out giving students the opportunity to practice their alphabet skills.
The students cannot look at each other or show the paper to their partner.
Telephone etiquette must be observed at all times.
Once the conversation is concluded students must give an appropriate goodbye.
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