Published 4th September 2017

Learning a foreign language can be hard work and spending all day in a classroom can be boring – for both the students and the teacher! EFL teachers are fortunate in that in most cases when working abroad, we are expected to be a bit more fun and entertaining than the other teachers. In other words, we are usually given free rein to be as creative as we like to maintain the motivation in our classes.

How to make learning English as a foreign language fun

Making learning English fun does not necessarily mean throwing away the textbook. If you did an internationally recognised TEFL course you will have been given a range of ideas of how to make the textbook work for you and how to add elements of fun to your lessons.

The most obvious way to do this is by making time for games during your English as a foreign language lessons. Games, however, still need to be educational and need to be utilised for a specific purpose rather than just for the sake of playing a game or killing time. Luckily, there are many games that you are probably already familiar with that can be used effectively in the EFL classroom.

  • Trivial Pursuit

Lots of people love a good quiz and there is no reason why it wouldn’t work in your EFL classroom. EFL students love to compete with each other and using general knowledge will make them utilise their English without even realising. At the same time, this activity requires team work and communication.

  • Bingo

An all-time classic, Bingo can be used for a number of different topics. You can play Bingo to revise spelling, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. Though you may think Bingo is more suited to Young Learner you will find that learners of all ages enjoy the game, as you can make it easier or more difficult depending on their level.

  • Board Race

This is a great interactive game because it involves team work and physical activity – you will find your EFL students love getting out of their seats! Divide the class into teams and line them up facing the board. One member from each team is given a pen. Hold up an item or a picture and the students must race to write the word on the board, while their teammates can help them from afar.

  • Hot Seat

This is a game that can be played as a class or in smaller groups. One person sits with their back to the board. Write a word on the board. The rest of the class or team must describe and explain the word to this person without using the word. The round is complete when the person in the hot seat has guessed the word correctly. If this game sounds a bit easy, try using sentences!

  • Charades (best with Young Learners)

Fill a bag with pieces of paper with grammar items on them – action verbs work best. Divide the class into two teams. Have one person from each team come to the front of the class and take out a piece of paper. They must act out their grammar item for their team to guess.

Fun and games go a long way to making your English as a Foreign Language classroom an interesting and exciting place to be, both for you and your students.