3 USES FOR A BOX IN THE EFL CLASSROOM

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You might think that a box is a box but then you’d be mistaken. The humble box has the potential to be so much more than a piece of cardboard – if you know how to use it. Being an EFL teacher often means we need to be creative with whatever resources we have at our disposal, so here are a few ideas to use a box in your EFL classroom.

The mystery box in the EFL classroom

Students love a good mystery. A box is the perfect item to use for activities which involve an element of mystery. You will need to make one adjustment to the box by making a hole in the side of the box for the students to put their hands through. When you have done this, there are a few possibilities:

  • Introduce a topic by putting items related to it in the box. Students take turns feeling the items and trying to identify them. You can give them clues to help. This can start a conversation on the topic.
  • Teach related vocabulary items by placing them in the box. For example, if you are teaching fruit you could put an apple, an orange and a banana in the box.
  • Your students can bring an object from home and put it in the box. They can then lead the activity by describing the function of the object to help the other students guess what it is.
  • You can tell a story which includes the objects in the box. Once the students have identified the items, they can try to guess how they are related before you tell them the story.
  • You can play 20 Questions to help the students guess what the items in the box are.
  • You can practise modals of deductionIt could be, it might be, it must be – or any other appropriate language structure.

The dramatic box in the EFL classroom

For the dramatic box, students are encouraged to use the box as a prop. Individually or in pairs or teams, students must act out a scene using the box as a prop. Their classmates must then try to guess what the box is. If your students are very creative, there is no end to the possibilities of what the box could be. Alternatively, you can assign uses to students so the activity can act as a vocabulary revision exercise.

A story box in the EFL classroom

For this you will need a number of boxes, which should be square, like dice. On each box, you can decorate each face with a number, a word or a picture. Divide the students into groups and give each group a set of dice. The students must throw the dice and create a story based on what they throw. This can be done as a collaborative activity or individually. Another idea is to use these dice as a way of practising a certain language function.

Whether you are teaching in an EFL classroom with few resources or if you are just looking to make the most of what you have, you need look no further than a simple box to accomplish all your language needs.

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