May 19 2017

NCSALL: Interactive Classroom Activities #interactive #learning #games #for #adults

#interactive learning games for adults


Interactive Classroom Activities

The number of rows can vary depending on how many interviews you want students to conduct. A conversation may ensue, such as: Ana: What s your first name? Marta: Marta Ana: Spell, please Marta: M-A-R-T-A Ana: M-A (student writes the letter E) Marta: M-A A no E

Ordering and sorting activities include classification, ranking, and sequencing (Willis, 1996). For example, in a discussion about talking to children about drugs and alcohol, parents are given cards with statements such as, Beer is not alcohol or The legal drinking age is 21 . Learners work in pairs and must put the cards in either the True , False , or I m not sure pile. To complete the task, learners have to discuss their choices, provide explanations for them, and achieve consensus (Siteki, 2004).

Problem-solving activities work at all levels. Learners work in pairs and discuss issues relevant to their lives, such as finding ways to use English outside the class, or how to plan a budget for a family of five. Problem-solving pairs work well when each person has a specific role and the tasks are clearly set out for them. Learners use language to communicate for real reasons: to explain their ideas, make suggestions, and eventually reach a consensus.

For beginning-level learners, problem-solving activities can be created using picture prompts or picture stories that deal with everyday problems adults commonly confront. Using the language experience approach, learners tell the teacher what is happening in each picture and the teacher writes what they say (Singleton, 2002). After the story is established, learners can make suggestions about how characters in the story can solve their problems. (See examples of problem-solving picture stories related to health issues.)

Discussions. which are an obvious way to promote interactions, can be about almost anything, from cultural issues, education, learning English, to current events and hot topics. Discussions seem deceptively easy to set up, but they require preparation and thought so that they run smoothly and learners get the most out of the exchange of ideas. The purpose of the discussion should be made very clear to the learners. The benefits of pair discussions to language development should also be articulated: they are an opportunity to practice listening for main ideas and details, build vocabulary, use English to explain and elaborate, and use strategies to keep the conversation from breaking down. It is helpful to set time limits, assign roles and responsibilities, and debrief all participants after the discussion.


Ellis, R. (1999). Learning a Second Language Through Interaction. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins. Singleton, K. (2002). ESOL teachers: Helpers in health care. Focus on Basics, 5C, 26-30. Siteki, M. (2004). Talking to Kids about Drugs and Alcohol. Retrieved December 6, 2004, from ctae/adult_ed/REEP/family.htm

About the Author

Donna Moss is the family literacy specialist at the Arlington Refugee Education and Employment Program (REEP) in Arlington, Virginia. She has been in adult ESOL education for more than 20 years as a teacher, curriculum developer, teacher trainer, and researcher. She was a contributing author of the Collaborations: English in Our Lives series from Heinle and Heinle.

Reprinted with permission of the author from Focus on Basics 7C .

Updated 7/27/07. Copyright 2005 NCSALL

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