Searching for interactive games to be used for adults can be a challenge when most sites are comprised of long lists of ESL games that only pertain to children. This is why we have compiled a short list of games/ activities that are specific for being successful when teaching adults. Unlike children, adults need tasks that have an objective, yet support their level of ESL learning. Thus, these games are targeted towards interactions and conversation. This stimulates the students to stay focused and interacted with the group and the subject.
This is a great icebreaker to introduce to a group of any age or any level when teaching ESL. The group takes turns by creating three sentences about themselves. Two of these sentences are true and one of these sentences is false.
(easy) I have a cat, I like to read, and I have a brother
(hard) One time I travelled to Jamaica and jumped off a 20 foot cliff, I am studying finance and economics, and my favourite movie is pulp fiction because of the direction.
Then the rest of the group must guess which statement was false. This valuable tool can be used at the beginning of a lesson to introduce conversation and decrease anxiety about speaking the language. Or at the end of the lesson to ensure the group is enjoying the ESL experience.
Speed dating is a language teaching resource to instigate simple conversations into a lesson. The subjects of this activity can be tailored to the lesson and the level of the ESL students. Divide the students into two groups that are facing each other, ensuring that the sides are even and that each student has a conversational partner. Provide a subject to be discussed. For example, if the subject is food, provide the students with topics and questions that are more specific. They can discuss their favourite food, where they have travelled and the food they tried there, as well as opinions on different restaurants and cuisines. The options are endless. Then, after 30 seconds to a minute, say “switch” and have one side move a space over to a new partner and start the timer again. Each time the students who started together return to their original position, the subject can be changed or new prompts can be given.
“Kloo Race to London” is a great tool to use for adults in an ESL setting. It is a board game that involves important everyday english language. For example, creating sentences and using vocabulary while having fun doing ESL. To learn more about this board game, click here.
“I messed up” is an activity to stimulate conversation among students who relate through being new to a language, which means making mistakes! A large part of ESL learning is messing up and learning through one’s mistakes. Thus, this activity involves creating an organic conversation where the group shares stories of times they have made a mistake while teaching english and what they learned from that experience. If the student doesn’t know what the correction is, allow other students to help them or help them yourself. This is an opportunity to enforce trying a language and that it is okay to make mistakes, because the students can laugh while they learn to improve their conversation skills. Examples include messing up an order at starbucks or giving directions on the street. Anything that can give guidance to everyday phrases and grammatical mistakes.
This game can be used for more advanced students, as the content is more complicated. Divide the students into groups before explaining the scenario. Tell them that there are five people stranded on a desert island, and one day they find a boat that can take them to safety. However, the boat only has four seats and the students must decide who gets left behind. Give each character a background. For example, one person is a woman who just graduated to be a doctor, another is an 8 year old boy, another is a middle aged man who is a scientist, one person is an 80 year old woman, and so on. The possibilities are endless but it sparks a debate between students to discuss who deserves to leave the island. This can be used as a main activity in a lesson, and the storyline and vocabulary can be adjusted based upon the topic that the students are learning about. For example, this is a great tool to learn professions and descriptions. click here for source.
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