Instructors Stretch ToD Gameplay

Stretching the Truth English teachers are a creative lot, ever molding, shaping, adapting canned content to their unique teaching situations. Of course, it’s always great to hear back from teachers about their experiences using Truth or Dare for English Language Learners whether via e-mail or in-person at conferences and other PD events. Usually we hear how much their students enjoy gameplay but sometimes educators also share a tweak or two. Below are a few of the “off-label” adaptations that customers have shared. If you have a unique take on ToD do let us know by leaving a comment below or sending us an e-mail via the contact form.

Fantasy ToD: While ToD is designed as a platform for adult learners to share anecdote, a number of teachers have adapted it for use with children by simply having their kids, who as you might expect can be short on life’s experiences, concoct a complete fantasy derived from the prompt cards. Such an approach of course is eminently usable for adult learners as well and in fact could be quite effective as a technique for encouraging imaginative stretching as well as exploring vocabulary realms somewhat beyond their own experiences. To prod students to think in a certain direction, the mini-whiteboard could be used to establish a context for the fantasy to occur in. For example, you could write “space” or “business” or “travel,” something like that on the mini-whiteboard so student responses would be narrowed and directed towards those contextual goals and the need for appropriate vocabulary [rocket, planet, alien, etc.] would bubble up spontaneously. Need, afterall, is the mother of retention.

The Brutal Truth: This one came to me from a customer in the Middle East. The premise is simple, based on the prompt the student who is “it” must come up with 3 to 5 facts, one of which must be a lie. The idea is for the other players to use questions to uncover that falsehood.

Do or Die: the customer who sent me this variation noted that it “makes it more interesting and closer in spirit to the original game.” This one revolves around questions as well. Starting out like the classic version in which the person in the spotlight shares an anecdote, other players are tasked to be more probing, to continue to ask follow-up questions until the person who is “it” finally opts out by choosing a Dare Card and performing it. Try timing the output and awarding points accordingly to provide an incentive for extensive output.

Word Associations: I’m not too crazy about this personally since it doesn’t really encourage extensive speaking but I can see the utility, especially for groups that are struggling with the apparent lack of structure and direction of the classic mode. In this little variation the student who is “it” simply chooses the first two cards from the deck and attempts to link the prompts in a few sentences. Once comfortable with this scenario the ante can be upped by adding a third, then a fourth card and so on depending on the skills of the group. This can be a little mechanical but I’ve found it to be effective as a warm-up to get reticent, lower-level students to stretch into full-blown gameplay.

Comment: #1 PeterW 2013-01-14 11:08

Some good ideas there. I had an interesting spin off. When we went to play the game the first time most students were already familiar with it from childhood. The class is multi-lingual so there were many subtle differences between cultures. We were able to exploit those diffs by by comparing and contrasting. What I liked about it is the precision required in the language. It was a good little side activity if you have a number of different cultures represented in class.

Leave a Reply

Speekeezy Publication Workshop