I just came out of a lesson where idioms were the game. What kind of game, you ask? A story-telling game! I wrote the idioms on the board, and asked the two students to try and explain what they meant. They guessed a couple, I explained the rest, and then the game was on. All kinds of stories were told – from friends “cleaning up their act” to the “catch 22” of the expensive options available in repairing a new car. A great opportunity for the students to head into new territory – topics they don’t normally discuss and are therefore weaker in. Idioms are all well and fun on their own, but essentially it’s stretching the students capacity as they’re talking for extended periods of time, and drawing out their weaknesses. It’s really important, especially for our higher level more confident students, to have both really structured activity and a chance for more open exchange. The structured exercises help to finely polish their spoken English and sound more fluent, but the open-ended items give a chance to dive into subject areas apart from the old tired ones they’ve got down pat and are really comfortable with. I think this English school does a good job of balancing this task, actually, in challenging the student AND buff up their existing knowledge.