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. 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 to use in your classes today.
ESL Advanced Activities and Games: Top 15
Here are my top 15 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.
#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 are 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.
#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
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 difference types of English lessons. Learn more about Just a Minute here in this short video:
#12: 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 the shorter amount of time. Finally, they do it one more time.
#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 got those advanced students of yours writing!
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:
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.
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Last update on 2020-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API