Using Scratch My Back In the
Playing Scratch My Back is a great way to get
students talking, challenge their perspectives and broaden
their understanding of English. It's also a good lead in to
other persuasive topics such as debating, expressing a point of
view, critical thinking, or presenting an argument.
Scratch My Back takes a fair amount of skill to teach well,
but if taught well leads to spectacular results. This guide is
designed to give teachers the necessary background, skills and
insight to achieve this.
Incorporating Scratch My Back card game
into the curriculum:
There are a number of ways to incorporate
Scratch My Back into a curriculum beyond just playing the game.
The language on the cards covers a number of English functions
that are staples of many intermediate and above ESL course
books such as making requests, asking favors, saying no,
excuses, cooperating, paying compliments, dealing with problems
or difficult situations, negotiating and story telling.
At the simplest level Scratch My Back cards can
be used as flash cards, or conversational prompts to assist
with roleplays. At the other end of the spectrum,
they become ellaborate story telling tools.
Whatever way you choose, the general objective
is to present a fun and enjoyable lesson for your students, and
eventually have players using the language on the cards
naturally and fluently. You’ll be surprised how quickly this
can be achieved.
To give students a positive experience and insight into
using direct language.
To teach a number of useful English phrases
within this topic.
To get the students using the topic
language confidently, creatively and naturally.
A few things to consider before playing Scratch My
How much lesson time will students have to practice, and
For best results, spread Scratch My back out
over several lessons, and have students complete a
few warm up activities to learn the key vocabulary before
playing the game. Bear in mind that there is a lot of material
on the cards, and though much of the grammar will be
familiar to Intermediate students, the language and skills
practiced often reveal ‘blind spots’ in many students’
If you can't wait to jump straight into a game,
perhaps try one of the ‘simple’ games first. They fit into a
lesson easily and of course you can play the full
game another time.
Why take your time?
- Approaching Scratch My Back step by step - where
playing the game is essentially a giant role play tying
everything together, allows students to concentrate on the
finer aspects of the game such as having fun, being
creative and winning.
- It gives students time to digest new vocabulary,
language functions and structures.
- It makes playing easier and more enjoyable for the
- So that players understand how to improvise and
experiment with language on the cards.
- To ensure that players are not overburdened by learning
rules and new language at the same time.
- So that players are comfortable with the direct and
combatant nature of some aspects of the game.