Ideas for teaching English clubs, conversation and adults. Some ALTs are asked to teach adults by the local community, or it may be a requirement in your contract. Usually, a conversation class lasts between 1-2 hours, and you will be the only 'teacher'.

What to do?
  • Ask your group members what they want to study, what they don't want to study and if they want to do activities.
  • Some adults don't want writing activities, or games and prefer just conversation.
  • If they don't know what they want to learn at first, bring up your own ideas like, shopping, business, travel conversation and so on.

  • You can simply ask everyone to just talk about their week and general conversation.
  • You can raise certain topics, news articles or things into the class to talk about.
  • You can ask members to bring something to talk about occasionally.
  • Depending on where you're teaching, it's possible to arrange to occasionally do cooking/making things to add variety.

They may be adults, but that doesn't mean that you can't use games to help teach or review grammar points and language they may have learnt over the years. Game usage can also help the group relax with each other, bring out language usage that may not be used in regular conversations and involve people of different levels. They can be used as warmups, or cooldowns, or even as a major part of the lesson.

Some game ideas...
  • Pictionary - Have one person at a time draw a word or phrase while the others guess the answer.
  • Taboo - Have one person describe a word or phrase for others to guess without saying it or other 'taboo' words.
  • Charades- Have one person use gestures that will lead others to guess the answer
    • Describe It! - A Microsoft Excel designed system to use with the above games. It randomly selects a word (skippable up to 3 times per 30 second round) taken from the New Horizon text books.
  • Apples to Apples (Unofficial printable version 1 version 2) - A good warmup game that can turn into more. Instead of having one person choose the best card, have everyone vote which is the best. Alternatively, have everyone explain why they chose theirs and why it is better/the best.
  • Murder Mystery- Write a scenario where a person was murdered under certain circumstances and each player must interview the others to find out who is the murderer.
    • Simplified example of what I used as a final lesson/farewell party game for a 'beginner' adult class after Who/What/When/Where/Why/How/Which themed lessons:
      • A man was killed at 11:15pm, the weapon was a baseball bat, and witnesses heard an American accent.
      • Players are given a character card with a name, country, sport and bed time.
      • Each player will ask a Who (are you?), What (sport do you like?), Where (are you from?), When (did you go to bed?) questions.
      • When the players find a person which matches all the criteria, they have found the murderer.
        • Having people of different ability levels meant some could ask and answer questions in different ways, from the basic form to more natural. Some even made up extra information about themselves and their actions.
        • To stop problems with a person knowing they are the murderer, I hid clues around the room, stuck on walls, under chairs, scrunched up as rubbish on the floor, in a bag along with individually wrapped chocolates... This also meant the lower level speakers could do something if they were overwhelmed with talking.
    • Come up with your own variations. Use famous characters and have people act as them. Have them make their own characters. Use abstract or false clues...