Published 17th November 2015

Let’s be honest: learning English can be boring sometimes, which means that at times our TEFL lessons may become boring. Though there definitely is a difference between concentration and boredom, sometimes even TEFL teachers with the best intentions can lapse into a boring lesson. So, to make sure you are not remembered as the boring English teacher and to ensure that your students don’t fall asleep in your classroom, here are three fun games which can be used in various different ways in the EFL classroom.

1. 30 Seconds

Based on a popular board game, this is a fun guessing game which works well because it is challenging and competitive. To prepare for this game, let the students write five words on one side of a piece of paper. You need to specify what kinds of words these are. Usually, we use a famous person, a place, a colour, an occupation and an adjective – but you could choose any categories to suit your class. Once your students have each made a few cards, put them in groups and hand out a set of cards to each group. One student will then turn over a card and try to explain the words to their partners without using the words. They only have 30 seconds to explain as many of the words as possible. When the 30 seconds is up, each group gets a point for each word on the card correctly guessed by the group.

2. Famous Names

Again, this is usually done with celebrities but can be adapted to suit whatever English your class is focussing on – occupations, for example. Firstly, write a word (name or occupation) on one side of a piece of paper. Hand out a piece of paper to each student, but they mustn’t look at the word. At a specified time, let the students turn over their papers onto their foreheads, so that their classmates can see their words but they cannot. Students can now ask each other Yes/No questions in order to find out who they are. In the case of celebrities, for example, students could ask Am I alive? Am I a woman? Do I have blonde hair?. They continue asking questions until they figure out who they are.

3. Two Truths and a Lie

This game can work for a number of different language structures. Let each student come up with three facts – two of which are true and one which is not. Other students must then ask questions to find out which are the truths and which is the lie. For example, if you are teaching used to, you could say: I used to live in Australia; I used to have short hair; I used to have a motorbike.

Games are a great way to lighten the mood in the classroom, while also allowing the students to practise language without concentrating on the form or function as they usually do. In this way, games let students practise and produce language in a free context. These three games are very flexible and can be used in a number of different situations in the EFL classroom to achieve your specific aim while your students can relax and be creative with language.