The Expert Game

This lesson is a great way to get to know your students, and for them to get to know each other. It brings out some really interesting facets of their lives you may not otherwise see. It also makes students want to talk because they are talking about their favorite topic: themselves!


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To start with, I list all the things I know how to do, or like to do. For advanced students or older students, I say something like, “You know I am an English teacher, but did you know that I also have a website? I know how to write html code. I also like to write-I have a blog where I tell my friends about my adventures here and I used to work as a journalist. I also love to cook and I like to draw even though I’m not very good. I also play guitar.” Then I ask students to think of and write down 3-5 things they are good at or like to do.

For younger students, I might say, ‘Well you know I am an English teacher, but I hope I become famous for playing guitar. Or maybe cooking because I love to cook. Or maybe for writing–I used to work as a journalist.’ Then ask students to write down 3-5 things they think they will become famous for.

I always tell them it can be anything from football to liking Russian literature to programming cellphones to playing CounterStrike online. Students should feel encouraged that any talent or interest they have is valuable and interesting.

Now tell students to pick one thing that they want to talk about or even teach the class about. Or you may want to choose which thing on their list they will talk about. Otherwise you are in danger of hearing about football or video games 10 times. Each student gets 3-5 minutes to talk about their interest. If they can’t say much at first, ask them questions and encourage the class to ask them questions. It gets very interesting–in one senior high school class, I had an award-winning artist, a professional ballroom dancer, a guitarist in a band, and a junior military officer! For shy students you may have to drag things out of them, almost interviewing them but many students will start going and students will even start talking to each other. Make sure they stay in English though.

This is a great lesson to teach them relevant vocabulary as students want to talk about their hobby but don’t have all the words so they are eager to learn the vocab.

Thanks to ESL Partyland for this idea which I just adapted slightly in a way that I found works better in my experience.

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