This post was written by Rachel Spillane

Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? A good game in the EFL classroom can get even the most inattentive, “I’m so over this” students engaged and enthused. And don’t write games off as just for kids! You’ll be shocked when your older students revert back to kinder-aged antics in order to compete. While this list is certainly not definitive and it is most definitely subjective – I found these games very effective in the classroom and hope you will too.

1.    ENGLISH ONLY!!!  Turn it into a competition to speak only English during the whole period. A tally on the whiteboard for each time one of my Ticos spoke in Spanish kept them focusing on English and fellow students even turned into English police. To turn it into a reward/punishment scheme that everyone can enjoy, make the loser (the one with the most tallies) bring a treat for the whole class next time. Cookies for everyone!

2. Around the World – Have one student stand; they must make it around the world (around the class) by correctly beating each of the other seated students to the answer. An example of a question is the correct past tense ending of an infinitive verb – the more irregular the better. Change the verb with each turn.  If the standing student can answer correctly enough times to make it around the class, they have won! If a standing student is beat by the seated student, they switch places and it’s the new student’s turn to try to make it around the world.

3. Hot Potato – Pass a ball or other object around the room and when the music stops, the student with the ball has to answer a question/make a question or draw a prompt out of the bag – you decide, though its best to stick to one for the duration of the game.

4. Roll the Dice, Make a Question – Write 1-6 on the board, and a different question word next to each (who, what, why, where, when, how). When a student rolls the dice, they need to make a question with the corresponding question word and another student must answer it.

5. Race!  Any kind of race will get students competing. I like the games “Stop”, Alphabet Race (teams compete to get one word for each letter of the alphabet) and Bamboozle.These are just some of my favorites, what games do you like to use in your EFL classroom???