Need a good question to break the ice? I got you covered.
I’m sure you have experienced it. First day of ESL class, you plan an icebreaker activity, launch the question and you get the dreaded silent stares. What do you do, let them stew with the question and stand your ground, or come up with a follow-up question? Do you let them see you sweat, or pretend that that is what you wanted because you want them to think? “Please, please kind extroverted student somewhere out there in the crowd, get me out of this.”
Icebreaker activities always make me nervous. It’s often the first class, you don’t know your group, the chemistry is not established, you may not know their level and they are usually a bit shy. However, they are in an English second language class to develop their language skills, so it’s my job to warm them up and find some interesting questions that can inspire conversation.
I collect icebreakers like some people collect jewelry or stamps. I am always looking for creative, thought-provoking, not too deep, not too personal questions that people enjoy answering.
To me, it’s reminiscent of a high school dance where everyone is waiting for that great song that gets people on the dance floor. You can let loose and get lost in the crowd. Thus in my ESL class, I am a DJ of questions. When one doesn’t get the party going, I have plenty of others.
For your party…I mean class…needs, here are my best sources.