Games for Spoken English Classes for Adults


Games for adult English as a second language (ESL) classes must strike a balance between linguistic simplicity, so the students will understand the vocabulary and syntax, and thematic complexity, so they don't feel that they are being treated like children. Splitting the class into small groups for games can help with this, because each group can play independently, without the teacher babysitting them. Playing in small groups also helps ensure that all the students participate.

Vocabulary Memorization

  • Vocabulary-building games for adult ESL students often center on memorization. Here is a sample memorization game: Make a set of pairs of cards. Each pair should include a word that the students already know and a more advanced synonym, and each card should include a visual representation of the word. For example, you might make cards that read "cat" and "feline," each including a picture of a cat. Have the students play Concentration one on one with these cards. They will come to associate the new vocabulary word with the familiar one, and they'll remember the definitions because of the pictures.

More Vocabulary Games

  • Vocabulary games for ESL adults may also review words the students already know (recall games) or help them practice deducing meaning from context.

    A sample recall game would be to give students several categories and have them list words that fit those categories.

    For contextual vocabulary practice, have students read scripted dialogues together in groups of two or three, marking each word they don't know, and have them guess what the words mean. At the end of the exercise, compare the guesses from the different groups and tell them the correct definition.


  • A spoken English class relies on games and conversation to practice grammar, instead of the worksheets that would be more common in a general ESL class. Because spoken English goes by so quickly, though, catching grammatical errors without derailing the conversation can be tricky. To get around this, use a game like a circular story: In groups of three to six, the students tell a communal story, taking turns adding sentences. One person in the group writes down each sentence verbatim. At the end of the story, the students go through the transcript and correct the grammar together.


  • Many varieties of guessing games can be used to practice conversation in an adult ESL class. Twenty Questions allows the entire class to work together. Alternatively, have each student write down a fact about his culture, and then read out each fact, having the students guess which culture it describes. After each fact, ask the students to compare it to their own cultures. Another option is to have the students say three things about themselves, one of which is a lie, and have the other students guess which of the statements are true.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • How to Find Adult Education Classes

    How to Find Adult Education Classes. Whether you want to finish high school, become a certified welder or just take a few...

  • How to Learn English Speaking Courses

    For most learners of English as a second or foreign language (ESL/EFL), speaking is the most important part of their learning experience....

  • English Adult Games

    Games need not only be for children, and when adults are learning English, fun games can help reinforce their learning. Playing games...

  • English Speaking Activities for Adults

    Adult students learning to speak English are usually self-motivated immigrants who want to learn quickly and be able to survive in their...

  • Games for an English Class

    For English teachers, keeping a class engaged can sometimes be a difficult process. One of the best ways to get students interested...

  • Games for Speaking English

    Students of English often lack confidence when speaking due to the language's irregular pronunciation rules. Practicing often can help to build both...

  • ESL Classes for Adults

    ESL classes are English as a second language courses that teach English grammar and vocabulary including listening, writing and speaking skills, for...

  • Activities for Spoken English

    Spoken English is often more relaxed and informal than written English. Native English speakers take shortcuts, leave words out, run words together...

  • Pre-Beginning ESL Lessons for Adults

    The need for adult ESL, or English as a second language, classes in the United States is massive. According to the Human...

  • Fun ESL Games for Adults

    Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) can sometimes be boring and other times intimidating. An excellent way to avoid these problems...

Related Searches

Check It Out

Can You Take Advantage Of Student Loan Forgiveness?

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!