An ELT Glossary : Find someone who... activities

Find someone who... activities are speaking tasks,  where learners have to circulate (or mingle), talking to all the other people in the class. They have a list which might be something like :

Find someone who...
  • has been to Disneyland
  • has climbed a mountain
  • has eaten snails
  • has met someone famous
  • etc
and talk to all the other learners, initially asking questions like Have you ever been to Disneyland? and then, if the person says yes, possibly asking follow up questions as necessary.

Find someone who... is an information gap activity which can be adapted to fit into lessons with a number of different aims :

1) It can be used as a semi-controlled practice activity for any language area. 

a) The example above shows how all the items on the list might involve a specific   grammatical structure. In the example this is the present perfect but it could easily be eg:

  • the present simple : ...who likes horses / who lives outside town /  who plays the     piano etc 
  • the past continuous : ... who was working at 5.30 yesterday afternoon / who was watching the news at 9pm last night / who was reading a book at 10.30 last night 
  • the second conditional : ... who would go to the moon if they had the chance /         who would stop working if they won the lottery etc
  • the superlative: who lives furthest from the school / who has the youngest child / who has the 
  • or any other structure

b) Lexical areas can also be practised - eg free time activities (...who goes swimming     regularly / who can play chess / who likes watching football) or multiword verbs (... who is looking for a new house / who looks after an older person / who looked something up on Google yesterday)

c) Phonological areas can be practised by inserting the phonological feature to be practised into each item - eg for the pronunciation of  /p/ and /b/  (...who can explain the meaning of bin /who can draw a pear / who can spell pier) Notice that the answer that they get to these questions would show whether or not the words had been pronounced and perceived correctly, as each is a minimal pair with a word beginning with the other phoneme

d) In the first lesson of the course, the activity could be used as an icebreaker to allow the learners to get to know each other and, at the same time, by building in a range of structures, to allow the teacher to diagnose which structures etc the learners do and don't have problems with.

e) It could also be used as a consolidation/recycling activity, building in a variety of structural and lexical items that learners have met in the previous four or five lessons.