This is a simply a way of organising discussions so that students speak to a variety of different classmates.
The teacher gives students something to talk about. This could be one of the following:
• a dialogue/role play (e.g. asking for directions, making a complaint, etc.)
• a topic for discussion (e.g. tell your partner about where you go shopping, compare ideas for making London greener, etc.)
• a ‘longer turn’ type activity (e.g. Describe your best friend, what are your ambitions for your future, etc.)
The teacher with students’ help then clears a space in the room and arranges the chairs in 2 concentric circles, one facing out and one facing in (see below). The students sit down and do the speaking task with the person in front of them. When instructed to do so, the ones on the outside (or the inside!) move one space along and the task is repeated. In this way students are encouraged to repeat, improve and extend their speaking, making it a little different and more interesting each time.
As with all speaking tasks of this kind, the teacher needs to listen and make notes of interesting content, good bits of language use and errors for analysis by the group and possible future language focus.