Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert

Ask the “Expert” is a delightful, high-engagement game designed for higher-level ESL students, allowing them to tap into their quick-thinking and imaginative skills. With each round spanning a minute or two, it's advised to play around 5 to 10 rounds, making up a session of roughly 20 to 25 minutes. The game is particularly accommodating for larger classes, where breaking down into smaller groups ensures everyone gets a good share of talking time. The setup is simple, requiring just a timer, a die, some self-proclaimed “Experts”, and an audience ready to dissect the facts from fabrications. A strict rule against using the internet to check facts maintains the game's spirit and challenge.

The core aim of the game is for the “Experts” to sail through a full two minutes without being caught in a lie. They have one cardinal rule to adhere to; they cannot utter the phrase “I don’t know”. They are to uphold their “expertise” on a chosen topic until the 2-minute timer ticks off.

Kick-starting the game involves brainstorming and jotting down a variety of random topics, which are then cut out and tossed into a hat. The class is then divided into teams, and the first round commences with a team selecting their “Expert”. Ideally, a stronger student should take on the expert role first, setting a vibrant precedent for others. The expert then randomly picks a topic from the hat, and with the timer set, they introduce themselves and their expertise. Now the fun begins, as the audience dives in with a barrage of questions related to the topic, trying to trip the “Expert” into a lie.

Advanced students can elevate the game by framing more complex or binding questions. An audience member calling out an “Expert” on a false lie retires from questioning for that round. However, if an “Expert” is caught in a lie, the timer halts, and the remaining time is noted. The game toggles between teams, keeping the enthusiasm alive but capped just before it nears the border of monotony. At the culmination, the remaining time totals are summed up, and ironically, the team with the least total time emerges as the victor. Ask the “Expert” not only serves as a lively interactive session but also nurtures students' spontaneous thinking and articulation skills in a fun, low-pressure setting.

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