Chumingo point is a game in which our lessons are based. Searching for different ways of improving students speaking skills, I found a strategy called Chungopoint method which, in my opinion, is a really interesting and useful tool for teachers. Unfortunately, it was originally thought for speaking activities only and I needed something to use in every lesson. As a result, I made my own version of it, changing some of the rules to make it more suitable for my students and me. And this is what we called Chumingo points.
This game consists in two different types of cards; one is called Take a Chumingo, and the other, Joker. Each time a student speaks in Spanish receives a Chumingo point, as a kind of punishment but always having the possibility of getting rid of it at any time; either if other student speaks Spanish or making use of a Joker.
Students have a Joker card each six Chumingo cards and they can make use of a Joker card by answering correctly a question the teacher chooses, depending on the student´s level and weaknesses. Joker cards, therefore, help students when they have many Chumingo cards. Questions can be made some minutes before the end of the lesson and before Chumingo and Joker cards are recorded on a chart. If the student who has a Joker card answers correctly, one Chumingo card is dicounted.
Students have improved greatly at speaking English during lessons and I have no worries about who speaks Spanish or not, because students do it by themselves. It is also very useful to have a card with a British and Spanish flag, so when is completely necessary to speak Spanish, everyone is allowed to do it while the Spanish flag is being shown. As a matter of order, only the teacher can change from one flag to the other, and this flag card has to be visible to everybody all the time.
Maybe at the beginning, it could be a little time-consuming when preparing the cards, and also distracting the first lessons, because most children´s attention is focus on the Chumingos. However, after students get used to them and learn the rules, Chumingo points will just be part of the lesson and speaking English in every single class will become completely natural. Learners realised there is no need to speak their first language and even very young students or the ones who lack of vocabulary use miming to convey meaning.
Besides giving students plenty of speaking practice, this game avoids unwanted conversations and misbehaviour. In some occasions when they do not accept they have spoken Spanish (or they might not realise about it), someone else may confirm. Generally, they do accept but if not, both students receive a Chumingo point, because this is part of the Chumingo rules.