I’ve just come back from one of the most hilarious classes I’ve ever done in my life. Inspired by my Dad’s insistence we play something called charades at Christmas (apparently it was all the rage in the 1970s) I decided to try it in the ESL classroom.
In case you don’t know what charades is – it’s basically a game where a person has to mime the name of a film, book, TV or song and everyone else has to guess what it is (in the ESL context – talking in English of course). Sometimes, though, if it’s a bit tricky… the word is split into syllables. A good example is ‘Titanic’ which one of the teams was doing in my advanced class.
At first the player was miming something floating and then miming that it sunk. His team didn’t get that so he made the sign for three syllables – 3 fingers on the arm. The fist syllable was ‘ti’ so he pretended to put a tie on. The syudents got that. Then, for the second syllable, he mimed being under the sun and getting a ‘tan’; but it was the third one that was so funny ‘ick’. This guy did the sound like sign and then proceeded to mime ‘lick’ by pretending to lick a lolipop…. Naturally the students soon understood.
Clearly, you have to play this game in the right ESL environment. A bunch of stiff executives might not be up for it, but a big class of students who like to have a laugh are sure to be enthusiastic. The major probpem, as can be seen in this video below is that many people are self concious. But, as far as I’m concerned… it’s just bad luck… as soon as they start playing they get into it.
Also, it’s very important to remember the following: don’t split the class into two teams – give each student their film, song, book and then give them ten minutes to research and think about the best way to mime it – looking for syllables in the dictionary, meanings etc… They then mime it to the whole class.
If you need further information about the rules, some charades boffin posted this… probably my dad.
So, yes… if you’re looking for some serious ESL fun … get going on the charades front.