The Just a Minute Jam: A Fun and Engaging English Language Activity


Learning a new language can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to improving speaking skills. Many language learners struggle to find opportunities to practice speaking in a natural and spontaneous way. However, there is a simple yet effective activity called “Just a Minute Jam” that can help learners enhance their English language skills while having fun. In this article, we will explore the concept of the “Just a Minute Jam,” its benefits, and how it can be implemented in various settings.

What is the Just a Minute Jam?

The “Just a Minute Jam” is an interactive speaking activity that encourages participants to speak on a given topic for one minute without hesitation, repetition, or deviation. It is inspired by the popular BBC Radio 4 show called “Just a Minute,” where participants are challenged to speak on a given topic without breaking the rules. The activity aims to improve fluency, coherence, and confidence in speaking English.

The Benefits of the Just a Minute Jam

The “Just a Minute Jam” offers several benefits for language learners:

  • Improves fluency: By speaking on a given topic for one minute, learners can practice expressing their thoughts and ideas more fluently.
  • Enhances vocabulary: Participants can expand their vocabulary by using a wide range of words and phrases related to the given topic.
  • Boosts confidence: Regular participation in the “Just a Minute Jam” can help learners build confidence in their speaking abilities and overcome the fear of making mistakes.
  • Develops critical thinking skills: The activity requires participants to think quickly and organize their thoughts effectively within a limited time frame.
  • Encourages active listening: Participants need to pay attention to others’ speeches to identify any hesitations, repetitions, or deviations.

Implementing the Just a Minute Jam

The “Just a Minute Jam” can be implemented in various settings, such as classrooms, language exchange groups, or even online platforms. Here are some steps to follow when organizing a “Just a Minute Jam” session:

Step 1: Set the Rules

Before starting the activity, it is essential to explain the rules to the participants:

  • Speak on the given topic for one minute without hesitation, repetition, or deviation.
  • Hesitation includes long pauses, “umms,” and “ahhs.”
  • Repetition refers to using the same word or phrase multiple times.
  • Deviation means straying from the topic or introducing irrelevant information.

Step 2: Choose Topics

Select a variety of interesting and relevant topics for the participants to speak about. These topics can be related to current events, personal experiences, or general knowledge. Ensure that the topics are suitable for the participants’ language proficiency level.

Step 3: Assign Speaking Order

Determine the speaking order to ensure that each participant gets a fair chance to speak. You can use a random selection method or rotate the order for each round.

Step 4: Timekeeping

Assign a timekeeper who will monitor each participant’s speaking time and enforce the rules. The timekeeper should use a stopwatch or timer to ensure fairness and accuracy.

Step 5: Provide Feedback

After each participant’s speech, provide constructive feedback on their fluency, coherence, and adherence to the rules. Encourage other participants to provide feedback as well, fostering a supportive and collaborative learning environment.

Examples of Just a Minute Jam Topics

Here are some examples of topics that can be used in a “Just a Minute Jam” session:

  • Tell us about your favorite book and why you recommend it.
  • Describe a memorable travel experience you had.
  • Discuss the impact of social media on society.
  • Talk about a historical figure who inspires you.
  • Share your thoughts on climate change and its consequences.

Case Study: Just a Minute Jam in a Language Exchange Group

To illustrate the effectiveness of the “Just a Minute Jam,” let’s consider a case study of a language exchange group in a university setting. The group consists of international students who want to improve their English speaking skills.

Every week, the language exchange group organizes a “Just a Minute Jam” session where participants take turns speaking on various topics. The session lasts for one hour, with each participant getting multiple opportunities to speak.

Over time, the participants notice significant improvements in their fluency, vocabulary, and confidence. They become more comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas in English, and their speaking skills become more natural and spontaneous.

Moreover, the participants develop strong bonds with each other as they actively listen to one another’s speeches and provide feedback. The “Just a Minute Jam” becomes a fun and engaging activity that not only enhances their language skills but also creates a supportive and inclusive learning environment.


1. Can the “Just a Minute Jam” be adapted for different proficiency levels?

Yes, the “Just a Minute Jam” can be adapted for different proficiency levels. For beginners, the time limit can be reduced to 30 seconds, and the rules can be slightly relaxed. As learners progress, the time limit can be gradually increased, and the rules can be enforced more strictly.

2. How can the “Just a Minute Jam” be conducted online?

The “Just a Minute Jam” can be conducted online using video conferencing platforms. Participants can take turns speaking while others listen and provide feedback through the chat feature. The timekeeper can use a stopwatch or timer visible to all participants.

3. Can the “Just a Minute Jam” be used in a professional setting?

Yes, the “Just a Minute Jam” can be a valuable activity in a professional setting. It can help employees improve their communication skills, especially in situations where they need to express their ideas concisely and confidently.

4. How can the “Just a Minute Jam” be adapted for larger groups?

In larger groups, the “Just a Minute Jam” can be organized as a competition. Participants can be divided into teams, and each team can have a representative who speaks on behalf of the team. The team with the highest number of successful speeches wins.

5. Are there any variations of the “Just a Minute Jam” activity?</h3


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