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5 ESL Icebreakers: How to Break the Ice

esl icebreakers

5 ESL Icebreakers for Your English Class

How do you break the ice in your ESL class? It’s not easy getting a class of shy students to open up and start speaking English.

So gently, you can introduce them to English communication with these 5 ESL icebreakers. And then soon enough, they’ll be out of their shell.

From quiet to craziness, (with the right classroom rules) you will be the ESL teacher that you truly want to be.

Like all our worksheets on All ESL, these are 100% free to use in education situations.

1. Let Me Introduce Myself

Student Business Card

How many times have you introduced yourself in your lifetime? For example, you introduce yourself to friends, in business meetings, and during round tables.

Using the business card template, ask your students to fill these out. In the next class, they can practice self-introduction by walking around the classroom and greeting fellow students.

Not only does this help students, but you get to put a name on each student’s face. And if they don’t have a photo, just have them draw a picture of themselves.

2. Teacher Quiz: Self-Introduction

Teacher Quiz - Do you know your teacher?

If you’re teaching abroad in another country, your students may not have spoken to a lot of foreigners. So this means they they are curious about you.

For example, do you have any pets? Did you grow up in a house? What are your hobbies? If you bring any pictures to class, this will open a world of curiosity. In addition, it makes your class more personable.

In the teacher quiz, you test how much your students have been listening to you. Before class, you hide clues around the class. Next, put students into groups of 4. Finally, they have to match answers with the clues.

3. Like or Dislike

Like or Dislike - Mystery Person Guessing

Can someone identify you by what you completely love or despise? That’s why this activity sheet is called like or dislike.

Each student writes down their likes and dislikes. Next, the teacher collects everyone’s answers. After reading everyone’s answer aloud, can you identify who it is?

It’s a fun interactive guessing game that gets personal. There’s an element of intrigue in it. Best of all, it gets the whole class involved, you can learn about each other and usually gets some laughs.

4. Why Learn English?

Why Learn English Free Worksheet

There are tons of benefits to learning English. As the true language of globalization, how can English help them in the future?

First, put the students into pairs with one worksheet per group. Without giving too much away, describe some of the benefits of learning English.

For example, if you want to become a pilot, English is the language of communication with the ground at airports around the world. In this case, the benefits of learning English help you become a pilot.

5. Classroom Language

Teacher Talk Student Talk - Common Classroom Phrases in English

As an ESL teacher, you should repeat phrases like “let’s begin”, “do you understand?” and “repeat after me”. Your students can use phrases such as “please say that again”, “I don’t understand” and “please speak more slowly”. We call this “Teacher Talk, Student Talk”.

Simply, these are a word bank of useful and common language in English. This is why you should stick to common phrases in your ESL lessons or any time beginner lesson. In order to do this, you will need to build the teacher talk and student talk dialogue from the first class.

In the “Teacher Talk, Student Talk” activity sheet, we have built a list of useful classroom phrases. It’s a good idea to practice them in the first class so students know what you’re talking about. Afterward, you should stick to this classroom language.

ESL Icebreakers that Opens Up Students

So there you have it.

These 5 proven ESL icebreakers will open your classroom to a whole new dimension.

How do you break the ice in your ESL communication class?

Please let us know with a comment below.

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