Published 16th October 2017

Games, games, games! Even grown ups love to play a game every now and again, so our learners are sure to love games, especially in the classroom – anything but work!

The advantages of using games are many and varied: from practicing communication, learning vocabulary and practicing language structures to adding fun to your lessons, maintaining learner motivation and encouraging collaboration and interactivity. In short, the only reason you shouldn’t be playing games in your EFL classroom is because you don’t know any games!

Which is why we thought we’d share with you those EFL games which have stood the test of time. The games that every TEFL teacher who has spent more than a week in the classroom probably knows and knows they are guaranteed to bring some energy into your classroom.

Bingo

Though the basic concept of Bingo remains the same, it can be tweaked in a variety of ways to suit your purposes. For those who don’t know, in Bingo each learner gets a (different) board. On the board is a grid with different numbers on. The teacher chooses random numbers and reads them out and whoever has those numbers on their board crosses them out until they have a complete row (horizontal, vertical or diagonal). In the EFL classroom, instead of numbers you can also use vocabulary words or pictures, commonly confused words, functions or minimal pairs.

Back To The Board

In a nutshell, one learner sits with their back to the board. The teacher writes a word on the board which the learner cannot see. The other learners must explain the word to the learner without using the word. The game continues until they guess the correct word and then another learner takes their place. Common variations on this game: running the game as a group activity rather than as a whole class, timing the rounds and, for a bit more of a challenge, writing sentences instead of words.

Taboo

The class is divided into groups. Each group has a stack of cards which each have a number of items written on them: a celebrity, a place, a colour, an adjective – anything you decide. (The learners can spend some time making the cards themselves and the cards can be reused in later lessons). Each learner takes a turn to pick up a card. They must explain ALL the items to their group without saying the words. The rounds can also be timed to make it more difficult and more competitive.

Two Truths and a Lie

This game is great for getting to know your classes or if your learners don’t really know each other. The teacher writes down three sentences – two of them are true but one of them is a lie. The learners must ask questions to try to find out which is the lie. The key to this game is to make sure the three sentences are quite similar and none of them are completely outrageous and obviously untrue.