Forfeits Routine

I am currently going through literature about the use of target language in the classroom in preparation for what I think I would like to study further for my MA. I have started with a PGCE favourite, written partly by one of my course tutors, James Burch, called Something to Say: Promoting Spontaneous Classroom Talk. This book makes so much sense after having finished my teacher training, and 6 years later it is reminding me about why I do the things that I do in the classroom, such as the register routine and I have just been reading a bit about the forfeits routine which can be great fun for the pupils.

All you need is some pre-prepared materials such as the powerpoint I have embedded below and as soon as someone steps out of line and talks in English you can pull out this routine and get the whole class involved in telling them off and making them do a forfeit. The 6 boxes are trigger controlled in powerpoint, so you can get the pupil in question to pick a number rather than showing all the options.

I had a great experience of this in my last school where a pupil spoke in French by mistake (in a Spanish lesson) and consequently had to rap the alphabet in Spanish. Her friend next to her began to beatbox a background beat for her and the whole class was in fits of laughter (including me!) as this comedy duo rapped and gave the beat for the Spanish alphabet. Classic!


  1. Hi Sam, I have been looking at all your resources for encouraging students to use TL, e.g. your register powerpoint – I wonder if you have ay ideas as to how to set up these routines initially? E.g. do you do the whole thing with them each time? Start with the beginning and then build up? Do you “teach” it to them or is it on the board each time? When I have tried similar things before I wonder if I have expected too much of the kids, and then given up when it hasn’t all fallen into place, so any words of advice gratefully accepted!

    • When I first start out with the register routine I do build it in chunks. Here’s what I’d do to build on it:
      1. Volunteer is picked to time it and I take the register, I look at how long it took and either get the class to guess in TL (with the prompts ‘more’/’less’) or give them 3 options to chose from and then I make a big deal of noting down how long it took.
      2. 2 volunteers this time, one to take the register, one to time it. Same as before. Can build on this by getting pupils to ask to be a volunteer and the. (eventually) giving a reason why and letting the class decide if they should or shouldn’t be allowed.
      3. Now comes more time for developing the routine a bit! You could do this in so many ways: ask how long it took last time, predict how long it will take this time, get pupils to vote on how good the register was and give reasons, if someone was absent from the list give a reason to say way (you could even include a randomer in the list so that you are engineering a situation where someone is absent and you can structure the ‘spontaneous’ responses of why someone is absent).

      Does that help for now? 🙂

  2. Gracias! Some of our groups are changing slightly after the hols so loking upon it at the chance to make a new start with TL 🙂 Like the idea of including a made-up member of the group to talk about absence!!

  3. Pingback: Speaking more in lessons « The LanguagesResources Blog

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