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Top Five Icebreakers for the EFL Classroom

By on Thursday Feb 10, 2011

The first few minutes of English class are crucial for setting the tone for the whole period, so it’s important to start with a bang. EFL students might be coming to class tired after a long day or groggy and sleepy-eyed, so we want to get them engaged and energetic. Here are some ideas:

1. Would You Rather…? - Students can make their own questions e.g. “Would you rather eat worms or cockroaches?” They ask each other and why?

2. Two Truths and a Lie - This can be good for the very first class but also as a warm-up. English students tell three statements to the class. Two are true and one is a lie. Other students must guess which statement is a lie and if they can, explain why they think so.

3. Positive, Negative, Crazy - Write a discussion topic on the board (e.g. Facebook) and then pass a ball or hot potato to a student. Tell them negative and they must make a negative statement about the topic e.g. Facebook decreases productivity at work! And, crazy can be anything – My sister spends 6 hours a day on Facebook!

4. Finish the Sentence - Write half a sentence or statement on a piece of paper (repeat to make a few different ones). Students take a sentence, read it out loud and then finish the sentence. To really get them going, time them for 30 seconds and make them talk the whole time.

5. The Hot Seat - Put a chair with its back facing the board; this is the Hot Seat and a volunteer must sit here. Then write a word on the board (for beginners, tell them the category or theme of words – this might be vocabulary they are already studying). Then students try to prompt the hot seater into guessing what the word is by describing it (fun with famous people too!).

Need more activities? Check out some more EFL icebreakers or these great English speaking activities!

About the AuthorRachel Spillane

Rachel graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s in economics. After finishing college, she joined AmeriCorps and worked as a volunteer coordinator for a nonprofit organization in Denver. Looking for a change of scenery, she moved to Costa Rica in 2008, where she taught English for two years. Rachel has traveled extensively in Central America and recently returned from a journey through Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Peru. She speaks Spanish and is passionate about teaching, travel and volunteerism.


One Response to “Top Five Icebreakers for the EFL Classroom”

  1. These are some great ideas of which two of them I have tried and tested in Belgium and they both worked very well. The two truths and a lie is a particularly effective classroom ice breaker too. From my 2 years experience I have put together 4 which I think worked really well for me. You can read them on my blog here –

    Sam December 4th, 2012


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