Getting to know you activities for teens

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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Getting to know you activities for teens

Unread postby Edaco » 20 Mar 2007, 18:50

Hi Lucy

I'm about to begin my first assignment teaching English to 15/16 year old Russian teenagers at an Easter camp. Classes will be every morning for one hour for approximately two weeks. The emphasis is on fun and although I do have a course book, I believe we are free to do our own stuff as well. It's some time since I did my CELTA and I've had no experience teaching teens. Can you offer any tips or hints? Also, I need to come up with some "getting to know you" activities. Can you recommend some good ones? I believe they are pre-intermediate to intermediate.

Many thanks

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Getting to know you activities for teens

Unread postby Lucy » 23 Mar 2007, 19:50

Dear Edaco,

I think it is great that you are planning your lessons already. I’m sure this will help you succeed.

For tips and hints on teaching teenagers, you can look at some of my answers here:

As for “getting to know you” activities, these work best if you don’t get too personal. Teens are not very comfortable talking about themselves and are very prone to peer pressure. I think you’ll have more chance of success if you steer away from personal information.

Ask students to write down their favourite TV programme, video game, music, animal, film, etc. You can change the topics but aim for 5 or 6 categories. You can then put students into small groups (3 or 4 to a group) and ask them to persuade each other that their favourite animal, film, etc. is more important, better, fun, etc. After about ten minutes, you can ask students to change groups. I suggest this for two reasons: they will speak to more people and if they repeat the description they gave of their favourite film (etc) they will get better and more confident at describing and persuading. At the end of the activity, talk to the class about people’s favourite music, etc and ask them who is good at persuading others. Did they manage to convince others of their opinion?

For the following day, you could prepare a crossword puzzle that contains the name of every student in the class. The clues you prepare should be connected to what the students learnt about each other on the first day. For example: this person’s favourite film is Superman; answer: Dimitri. In class, students can work in pairs or threes to solve the puzzle.

Good luck,


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