Back & Forth contains 32 exercises designed to help high-beginning to intermediate ESL students improve their listening and speaking skills. The exercises are short, interactive, and highly focused, requiring students to communicate with one another to complete a specific task. Students work with partners in pairs, each partner having slightly different information from that possessed by the other. The information appears on separate exercise pages, one for Partner A and one for Partner B. In each exercise, accurate listening is as important as speaking in the completion of the task.
The pair activities in Back & Forth are divided into four types or Parts. Each Part features eight exercises:
In Part One, "Pronunciation and Aural Discrimination," students produce and discriminate between single vowels, consonants, and consonant clusters in various positions.
In Part Two, "Describing a Picture," students match a picture to its description.
In Part Three, "Asking and Answering Questions About a Picture," students formulate questions and answers about a picture.
In Part Four, "Constructing Meaningful Dialogs," students select appropriate questions or statements in order to construct dialogs that make sense. The dialogs deal with such everyday topics as the weather, illnesses, appointments, and so forth.