Top 10 ESL Activities for University Students and Adults

ESL Activities for Adults

Top 10 ESL Activities for University Students and Adults

If you’re looking for some ideas for your conversation classes with university students or adults, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my top 10 ESL activities for adults that will make your lesson planning easy and your classes as interesting, engaging and fun as possible.

Running Dictation- This is one of my favourite ESL activities for adults because it’s challenging and fun, uses teamwork and incorporates all 4-skills into a single activity (listening, speaking, writing, reading). Try it out and I’m sure your students will really enjoy it. Don’t forget to implement the rule “whispers only,” or your co-workers will likely hate you when there is continuous loud yelling coming from your classroom and you’re interrupting other classes.

Just a Minute– This ESL activity for adults makes an excellent warm-up at the beginning of class. Students have to talk about a certain topic, chosen at random for an entire minute, without stopping. You can turn this into a conversation activity as well by putting the students into groups and requiring the other people to listen carefully and ask some follow-up questions.

Small Talk– This is a very important skill that our students must practice, but it can be quite difficult to design an activity that is authentic. Try out this small talk activity that is challenging, but really fun. I guarantee your students will enjoy it!

Surveys– I love to do ESL surveys in my classes because I think they’re one of the best ways for students to practice listening carefully to what their partner says and then asking follow-up questions. Surveys also work well for sleepy classes because they get students up out of their seats and moving around.

Dictogloss– This is one of those activities that I use at least once every semester because I think it’s just an excellent ESL activity. It practices a few different skills at once, it’s challenging and it also forces students to paraphrase what they’ve heard.

Disappearing Text- If you’re looking for a quick filler activity at the end up class, try this one. It can take as little as a couple of minutes and it’s an excellent way to review what you’ve studied that day. It’s only for lower-level students.

Group Therapy– This is a fun ESL activity for adults that is the perfect icebreaker for the first day of class. It’s a interesting way for adults to share what they’re nervous about with regards to studying English.

Apples to Apples– If you’re looking for a “party” game or something to review vocabulary, Apples to Apples for ESL students is your activity. You can buy the cards on Amazon, or make your own.

Board Games for ESL Students-I love to play board games in my real life, so I make my students play them as well! I usually design my own based around whatever I’ve been teaching that class. Don’t forget to give a little prize to the winner of each group to make it a bit more interesting.

(If you’re looking for a “real” board game to play with your students, check out King of Tokyo. I play it all the time with my university students and they love it).

20 Questions– ESL students are often very good at answering questions because a normal mode of class operation is that the teacher asks a question and the student answers it. They’re often quite weak at asking questions and this ESL activity can help them with that.

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