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Teaching Speaking - Interrupting

Teaching Speaking - Interrupting

This lesson includes lots of speaking practice for your students.The language focus is on the phrases you need to interrupt politely.

If you are a learner of English you can find lots of learning activities that will help you on the podcast page related to this lesson.

This lesson is based on the Premier Skills English podcast - Speaking Skills - Interrupting


B1 / B2 (Intermediate / Upper-intermediate)


Teenagers and adults


40-60 mins



Read this plan, and familiarise yourself with the topic.

Make copies of worksheets.

Download the podcast to play on a phone/tablet (see the downloads section on the right) or listen to it at the top of this page.

1. Joke

Listen to the beginning of the podcast. Rich tells Jack a joke about a cow. Play the podcast from 0:00 to 0:41. Give out the comic strip without the text (worksheet 1) and ask learners to complete the joke.

Ask them if they think it is funny or silly or both.

2. Introduction

Tell your students that the topic of the lesson is interrupting. Write the word interrupt on the board. Draw two circles and write who and why in the middle of the circles.

Ask learners to brainstorm ideas about who they might interrupt (e.g. a teacher, someone in the street) and why they might interrupt (they are in a rush, something is very important) and why.

3. Interrupting 1 

Play the next part of the podcast - 02:00 > 05:04.

In this section, Jack interrupts Rich a lot. Ask learners to listen and ask them to tell a partner which topic Rich was talking about and why Jack was interrupting him.  

4. Language

Write on the board the following sentences.

Sorry for interrupting but why didn't you invite me to the match?

Not far from Madrid, yes. Anywayas I was saying, they're Real Madrid fans so didn't ...

Explain to learners that the first phrase in the first sentence is used to interrupt and the phrases in the second sentence are used to get back to the topic.

4. Worksheet 2

Give your listeners the worksheet. 

Play the same section again  - 02:00 > 05:04. Tell learners to look at the phrases to interrupt and phrases to return to a previous topic on the worksheet. Students listen and tick the phrases that they hear. Then ask learners to complete the phrases in the exercise.

5. Listening

Ask your learners to listen to a game about interrupting. Learners need to listen and when the section finishes they have to tell each other how to play the game.

Play the podcast from 07:15 > 09:48.

6. Play the interrupting game

Tell the learners it's their turn to play the game. Tell them to look at worksheet 2 again. Tell them to look at the list of topics. Decide who will speak about the topic and who is going to interrupt. The speaker needs to look at the phrases to return to a previous topic and the interrupter needs to look at the phrases to interrupt.

Remember to give the speaker 30 seconds to think about the topic before he/she speaks.

Partners change roles when they finish.

Continue until learners have spoken about most or all of the topics. 

Topics to speak about
Favourite football team Something in the news Favourite musician or band
Favourite food Favourite football Player The last party you went to
A place you've visited recently Someone in your family The best football match you've ever seen

7. Extension

You could choose different topics before the class or you could get learners to choose the topics for themselves. You could look back at the brainstorm the learners did at the beginning of the class and get learners to roleplay different situations when they need to interrupt.

8. Follow up / Homework

There are discussion questions on the Premier Skills English podcast page. Your students are welcome to join in the discussion and leave any comments about the lesson. Teachers are welcome to add any opinions about this lesson at eh bottom of this page. 

We hope you enjoy the lesson!

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elghoul's picture

Football phrase : A tie or a play off.

elghoul's picture
14/11/2017 17:47
Manchester City

Football phrase : A tie or a play off.


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To practise speaking.

To learn and use words and phrases to interrupt people in a polite way.

To learn and use words and phrases to return to the previous topic.