Group Therapy | A Fun Icebreaker for ESL Students

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ESL Icebreaker Activity for Adults

Are you looking for a fun ESL icebreaker or warmer for your adults students? Then you’ll need to keep on reading for more details about this group therapy icebreaker activity.

Check out Group Therapy: A Fun ESL Icebreaker for Adults

Skills: Speaking/listening
Materials Required: None
Time: 5-15 minutes (depends on class size, but if too large, put students into groups of 5-6 people)

Group therapy is a fun icebreaker for ESL students. It’s not kid-friendly though! In the style of an AA meeting, students sit in a circle if possible and introduce themselves, “My name is _____, and I’m _____.” Instead of finishing with “. . . and I’m an alcoholic,” finish with a problem they have learning English, such as using articles correctly or conjugating verbs. They should then solicit tips and tricks from their classmates.

The teacher should begin by modelling and could give an actual problem they have as a language student. For example, “My name is Jennifer, and I’m never sure how formal or polite to be when speaking Korean to someone I don’t know well. Does anyone have any advice for me?”

Teaching Tip for Group Therapy:

This is a great first day activity, because it is a not-very-sneaky way to get an idea of what areas of language the students perceive to be more difficult, which you can use to inform your lesson planning for the semester.

You may be tempted to try this out with kids. However, it’s not really ideal for them because they often don’t really have an idea of what “group therapy” looks like. In addition, they may not have the insight to really explain what their weaknesses in learning a language are. It’s certainly an adult-only kind of activity.

Procedure for Group Therapy:

1. Before class, arrange the desks in a circle, if possible. If the class is very large, divide students into several large groups.

2. Begin by telling your students that everyone has trouble learning languages, and even those who speak several languages fluently have difficulty with some aspect of any language they learn.

3. Introduce the lesson as “therapy” for them to get counselling for their troubles.

4. Begin with your own example of a problem you have with a foreign language you speak. For example, “My name is Jennifer, and I’m never sure how formal or polite to be when speaking Korean to someone I don’t know well. Does anyone have any advice for me?”

5. Go around the circle and give each student a turn to introduce themselves, “My name is _____, and I’m _____.” Instead of finishing with “. . . and I’m an alcoholic,” finish with a problem they have learning English, such as using articles correctly or conjugating verbs. They should then solicit tips and tricks from their classmates.

Want to Make your Life Easier with Some ESL Icebreakers?

ESL icebreakers

I know that I sure do. I try to plan my lessons as quickly as possible so I can have more time to go surfing and hiking and the other stuff that I really love! This icebreaker for ESL students is from the book, 39 ESL Icebreakers: For Teenagers and Adults.

My co-author and I have over 20 years of experience in ESL/EFL classrooms and all the activities have been personally tested and approved as awesome! Click the link below to get the book now on Amazon. It’ll be lesson planning made easy, guaranteed.

SEE TEFL in Chiang Mai, Thailand

The book is available in both digital and print formats. Keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office as a handy reference guide for lesson planning before the beginning of the semester. Or, take a copy with you on your phone or tablet for lesson planning at your favourite coffee shop. Yes, it really is that easy!

39 ESL Icebreakers: For Teenagers and Adults
3 Reviews
39 ESL Icebreakers: For Teenagers and Adults
  • Jackie Bolen, Jennifer Booker Smith
  • Kindle Edition
  • English

How is the Book Organized? 

The activities are well-designed to make it very easy for you. They start out with a brief overview of the activity so you can see at a glance whether or not it’ll be right for your students. Then, it moves into the detailed step-by-step instructions that start with what you need to do for prep before class, how to explain the activity to your students, and then what the students actually have to do. Finally, don’t forget about the handy teaching tips that’ll make the activity go even better, and you can also avoid some of the most common problems.

Where Can I Get these ESL Icebreakers?

Does it sound like this book is exactly what you need? If you liked this group therapy ice breaker activity, you’ll probably love it. Click the link below to learn more about it on Amazon:

39 ESL Icebreakers: For Teenagers and Adults

Have your Say about this Icebreaker for ESL Students

What are some of your go-to icebreakers for the ESL classroom? And, have you tried out this group counselling icebreaker for ESL/EFL classes? Leave a comment below and share your tips and experiences with us please.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful resource.

group-counselling-icebreaker-esl
Group therapy ice breaker activity for ESL/EFL students

Last update on 2019-07-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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4 Comments

  1. Very nice idea having the teacher give an example about her/himself! I live in China, so I it’s quite easy for me to think of personal examples of difficulties with Chinese. I like how this icebreakers shows students that they’re not alone with their language learning problems, and the advice helps the students support each other. I’ll try this idea today. Thanks!

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