If you teach advanced students who are fluent, or close to it, then you’ll need very different ESL activities than if you were teaching beginner or intermediate students. Keep on reading for my top options for advanced ESL activities to try out in some of your classes
ESL activities for advanced students need to:
- Be challenging. Too easy or simple and the students will feel like they’re being treated like babies.
- Reflect real life. If someone is an advanced level English student, then they are up for the challenge of authentic materials.
- Be new. By the time a student has reached an advanced level, they’ve seen every single ESL activity out there. ESL activities for advanced students need to be creative and fun.
Keep on reading for the best advanced ESL games and activities, including ESL speaking activities for adults advanced to use in your classes today. And if for some reason you need help with academic papers, just go to LegitimateEssayWriting.com and pick the right service for you.
ESL Advanced Activities and Games
Here are my top ESL Activities for Advanced Students. Enjoy and I hope that they make your lesson planning go more smoothly! And please leave a comment below to tell me your favourite one.
#1: Podcasts for ESL Students
I love listening to podcasts. They’re always on at my house when I’m cooking or cleaning and then also when I’m hiking or going for a walk. In only makes sense for me to bring them into the classroom!
I think the best ESL activities for advanced students are related to what the teacher is passionate (and students too) about. Of course, you can introduce the students to something new and hope that they like it as much as you do. In my experience, most students in Korea don’t really listen to podcasts and are fascinated that there is this whole world out there that they didn’t know about!
Check out: Serial Podcast for ESL Students. I talk about how I used this in a private teaching class with advanced level students. It’s the perfect listening activity for higher-level ESL/EFL students. Try out one of the best ideas for advanced ESL lesssons.
#2: News and Current Events: ESL Activities for Advanced Students
Nothing says real life more than news and current events. If your students are fluent, just head straight to somewhere like BBC.com and get your material from there. Not quite fluent, but still advanced? Then you’ll need to check out this article I did about ESL News Articles, with links to my favourite sources.
You can use these for a variety of situations. As the heart of a reading lesson, or introduction to a listening or speaking one. You may wish to use them for a quick warm-up, homework or an exam. Whatever the case, get creative as there is a multitude of things you can do with a news article!
#3 Advanced ESL Games: Board Games for Learning English
If I have small groups of advanced level students, I’ll often bring in a few of my board games. In Korea, I found that students have often never played “serious” (not Monopoly!) board games before and they really enjoyed them. It can be quite challenging to explain the rules to them, but they mostly caught on pretty quickly. My advanced level ESL students were introduced to a whole new set of English vocabulary that they’d never really used before. Pass the dice. It’s your turn. I’ll give you a ____ for a _____. Interesting.
Find out more about using board games for ESL advanced classes here:
#4: Infographic Presentations
Presentations are one of my favourite ESL activities for high-level students. They introduce them to a new set of very formal vocabulary (opening, transitions, closing) as well as challenge them to use English in a way they probably haven’t before. You can also teach them a solid life skill that they can take with them to just about any context.
Plus, it’s fun to see what your students are passionate about and see their sense of humour. That’s what makes this idea one of my favourites for an advanced ESL speaking activity for teenagers or adults.
#5: Current Events Presentation
For another presentation idea, check out my Current Events Presentations that I had my very advanced level students do. I give lots of practical tips for how to set yourself (and your students) up for some awesome.
This is probably one of my favourite advanced ESL activities for adults, and I really enjoy this class!
#6: ESL Listening Lessons
Just because your students are high level doesn’t mean that you need to throw formal lesson planning out the window. You can still use a lesson plan, but you can use very high-level readings or listenings to challenge your students.
Do you want to know more about listening activities for advanced ESL students? Then you’ll need to see my ESL Listening Lesson Plan Template.
#7: ESL Conversation Lessons for Advanced ESL Lessons
Same as the above point, just substitute “conversation” or “speaking!”
Check out my post, “How to Teach English Conversation” and scroll down to lesson plans for English conversation for examples of how I would plan for a 2-4 hour ESL lesson plan for advanced students.
#8: Cosmo Quiz ESL Icebreaker
If you teach very advanced level, adult students, it might be time to break out Cosmo! These quizzes always lead to some very interesting conversations and are one of my favourite ESL activities for advanced students.
Check out: Cosmo Quiz for ESL Students.
#9: Videos in the ESL Classroom
I’m all about a little video in my classroom. However, I much prefer a short one as opposed to an entire TV show or movie. The key is to plan some activities to use them effectively, but this is often hard to do with an entire movie.
#10: Role Plays
Although Role plays are often used for beginner ESL students, you can also use them for advanced level students. The key is to just give students a scenario instead of fill in the blank sentences. You should focus on problems that they might encounter in real life, such as an immigration interview, job interview in English, etc.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 85 Pages - 02/02/2020 (Publication Date)
#11: Just a Minute
Okay, a quick bonus activity for you that’s perfect as a warmer for your advanced ESL lessons. You can choose any topic so it’s the perfect lead-in to many different types of English lessons. Learn more about Just a Minute here in this short video:
#12: Time ESL Lesson Plan
If you’re a teacher, then you’ll know what a time-saver a ready-made lesson plan can be. Something that you can just print off and take to class is some serious ESL teaching gold. One of my favourite ones is this one on time. It’s perfect for intermediate or advanced level students in classes of 1-2 hours. Check it out here:
#13: Conversation Starters and Free-Talking
If you ask your more advanced level English students what they want to work on in your class, they’ll often say something like, “conversational English,” or “free-talking.” However, one big problem with this is if you tell your students to talk with a partner for 10 minutes about XYZ, the class might get pretty quiet after a minute or two.
So one thing I like to do to combat this is to give my advanced ESL conversation students some conversation starters. Of course, they can feel free to go where the conversations leads them, but if they get stuck they can refer back to these questions and keep talking! Try out this simple idea and I’m sure you’ll notice a big difference as well.
#14: Advanced English Listening Comprehension
If your students are preparing for a proficiency test of some kind, you may want to consider something like this advanced listening comprehension practice:
#15: Picture Prompt
A nice writing activity for advanced students is this picture prompt one. The way it works is that you can find an interesting picture with lots of things going on. Or, something that implies an interesting thing that will happen in the future.
Then, students can write about what they see, make a prediction for the future, make up a story based on the picture, etc. The possibilities are endless so get creative and get those advanced students of yours writing!
#16: Travel Conversation Lesson Plan
Since you’re a teacher, I’m sure you already know how much time a ready-made lesson plan can save you. Ideally, it’s something you can just print off and take to class with minimal preparation. The good news is that this is one of those lessons and it’s ideal for higher-level English learners.
Have a look at this ESL teaching gold right here: Travel ESL Speaking Lesson.
#17: Re-Tell the Story 1-2-3
A challenging advanced ESL speaking activity is this one where students have to tell a story 3 times. The challenge is that they have shorter and shorter amounts of time but still have to include all of the same information in it.
The topic can vary depending on what you’re teaching and the amount of time for each round can vary as well. However, a nice option is an interesting story from the past and then 2 minutes, 90 seconds and 1 minute for each story round.
I have students tell their story to a partner who must ask 2-3 follow-up questions using W or H. Then they switch roles. After that, they switch partners and do it again in a shorter amount of time. Finally, they do it one more time.
#18: English Phrases and Idioms
If you want to help students sound more like native English speakers, it can be helpful to work on phrases, idioms and expressions. There are lots of great lesson plans out there, but here’s one reading-focused lesson to check out:
#19: ESL Easter Activities
With my more advanced classes, I love to have some holiday-themed lessons. They’re a nice change of pace from the usual textbook stuff and it’s possible to do some fun and creative activities. Here are some of my best ideas for Easter:
#20: Talk Show ESL Introduction Activity
Try out this fun icebreaker activity with higher-level students. It’s a twist on the usual self-introduction activities and makes it a bit more fun and interesting. However, it’s much better in a smaller class of less than 10 or 15 students than in bigger classes.
Find out more about one of the best advanced ESL speaking activities here:
#21: ESL Two Truths and One Lie Game
This is one of my favourite advanced ESL activities. I’m sure you’ve played it before. Each person has to come up with three statements about themselves, one of which is false. The other people have to ask some questions to try to uncover which one it is.
Try it out with your students. Check out this advanced ESL game here:
Advanced ESL Lesson Plans
If you’re looking for some ESL lesson plans for your more advanced level students, there’s some good news for you. There are a ton of excellent resources online that you can just print off and take to class with you. It’s really that easy to have advanced ESL classes and not spend a ton of time on lesson planning. Here are the top resources:
Did you Like these ESL Activities for High-Level Students?
I hope you enjoyed my ESL activities for advanced students! If you need even more ESL activities, then you’ll need to check out my book, 101 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults. A ton of ESL teaching awesome found here!
Available in a Variety of Formats
The book is available in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office and use it as a handy reference guide for lesson planning.
Or, take the e-version with you to your favourite coffee shop on your phone or tablet for a serious lesson plan session.
Easy to Find What you’re Looking For
The activities are well-organized into various sections: speaking, writing, listening, reading, 4-skills, warmers, review, etc. You’ll be able to find what you’re looking for in seconds.
Then, each activity starts with a brief overview so that you can tell, at a glance whether or not it will work for your class. Then, it gets into the detailed, step-by-step instructions for how to prepare for it, what to do during class with the students, and then any sort of follow-up you can do.
Lots of Advanced ESL Activities
There are a ton of activities and games in this book for higher-level English learners. The key to happy, engaged students who are having fun learning English is a wide variety of interesting activities and this book will help you get here in style!
Lots of Useful Teaching Tips
Also, don’t forget to review the teaching tips for each activity. You can avoid some of the most common mistakes for that activity and have as good of class as possible.
Pick up your Copy Today
Does it sound like exactly what you need to have better English classes? Click the link below to check the book out on Amazon:
Advanced ESL Activities FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about teaching advanced English learners. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What can you do with advanced ESL students?
With advanced ESL students, consider some of the following things in your classes:
- Use authentic materials (not designed for ESL/EFL students).
- Have a debate.
- Have students conduct surveys, compile the results and then share them with the class.
- Focus on pronunciation.
- Use lots of activities that focus on 3-4 skills at a time.
- Consider task-based teaching.
How do you challenge advanced students?
To challenge advanced students, consider some of the following ideas:
- Challenge them with difficult problems, and allow them to skip over the easy stuff.
- Ask for volunteers to help you with classroom tasks.
- Offer varying levels of homework assignments and in-class activities.
- Allow the more advanced learners to work together sometimes.
- Tailor lessons to students’ interests.
What are the levels of ESL?
The levels of ESL are as follow:
- Lower intermediate.
- Native speaker.
How can I learn English fluently in 10 days?
The bad news is that it’s impossible to learn English fluently in 10 days, even if study for 10 hours a day or more. Instead, consider taking 6 months to a year of consistent study to become nearly-fluent in English. Of course, this depends on your starting point too.
Have your say about these Advanced ESL Lessons
What are your thoughts about these advanced ESL activities for adults? Have you tried out one of the advanced ESL activities on this list, or do you have another one that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself, find this useful teaching resource.
Last update on 2021-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API