The first day of any ESL / EFL class is always a little bit hectic. Students always have a lot of curiosity about who their new teacher is. As a new teacher, the first class of the year often turned into an hour-long monologue about who I was and where I was from.
It was an introduction but there was no lesson. The students weren’t engaged or participating.
While attending an English Teachers in Japan conference last year I attended a presentation given by the ETJ founder David Paul. For his introduction, he had the class completely engaged in a guessing game as we pieced together scattered bits of information about him until we had figured out who he was.
How do you do it? It’s simple!
- Write 10 – 15 random words and numbers about yourself on the board.
- Ask the class what the words mean.
- Work with the class as they guess the meaning of each word and number.
That’s it. This introduction ESL / EFL activity is so simple it can’t fail. If a student guesses correctly, expand on their answer and tell them an extra little tidbit about yourself. It’s more than likely they’ll ask you follow up questions as well. If the class guesses incorrectly there’s still plenty of extra conversation and engagement opportunities after their incorrect responses.
If you like this EFL game, David Paul has written numerous teaching materials including textbooks and resources for teachers that outline his ideas and philosophies on teaching. Also, included in these materials are hundreds of games you can use in your ESL / EFL classroom. All of David Paul’s materials are available here.