If you teach English as a foreign language and are lucky enough to have a friend from home visit you, why not use them as a class resource?

This plan is probably most interesting in an EFL situation, but may also work in an ESL one.


  • First, make sure you don't tell your students that you are expecting a visitor.
  • Take a picture of your visitor against a non-descript background, one that could be in any country. Make enough copies of the picture to give one to every pair or small group of students.
  • Tell them to look at the photo and try to guess and write down details about the person. For example you could ask them to speculate on the person's job, marital status, hobbies, talents, sports played, favourite colours, favourite fashions, .. whatever you want.
  • Give the students time to write down their answers. Here's a very important point: before the class, arrange for your friend to arrive and knock on the classroom door at an appropriate time. If you've been careful not to drop any hint that they will actually meet this person, your students will be surprised and delighted when he or she arrives.
  • Now, ask your friend to sit in front of the class, and have the students ask him or her questions to check the correctness of their guesses.

This activity provides good motivation for the students to practise their question-asking.