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How well do you "know" the teacher?

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I've read many Ice Breakers at this site, most of which are quite good, but I've yet to find one that works better than this one.

Start the first class by telling the students your name only. No other information about the teacher should be shared. Then ask them to write down 5 questions they would like to ask you, the teacher, about whatever they may be interested in knowing about you.

As they are doing this, write down each student's name on the board. Once they've written down their questions, ask one student to come to the front of the class and explain that this student will now play the role of you, the teacher, and will answer 5 of the students' questions, to the best of their guessing abilities. It is important to divulge the way the ice breaker works only after the students have finished writing their questions so as not to have any impact on the type of questions they will write down.Give a "point" to the student role-playing the teacher for each correct answer (or "close enough" answer) and an 'x' for an incorrect one.

Each student takes turns guessing the answers to the students' questions until each student has answered 5 questions. Encourage the students to re-ask questions which were previously answered incorrectly to gain more information about you, the teacher. Once every student has had a chance to role-play the role of the teacher, volunteer or answer the questions about you which were left answered incorrectly.

At the end of this activity, the students have accomplished many things. Firstly, they have learned a lot of info about you. Secondly, they have asked a multitude of different questions, learning new question-expressions from each other as they go along. Thirdly, they have been both asking AND answering questions, the key to any conversation class. Fourthly, it makes them more comfortable, since they aren't saying anything about themselves, which some students may be reluctant to do during the first class. Also, they are learning each other's names.

This is also beneficial to the teacher, as it puts the students at ease and makes them feel better about talking about themselves in later classes. Secondly, the students get used to doing most of the talking, some of which aren't used to this type of class dynamics.

This can also set up another activity where the students learn aout each other.

Every time I've used this activity, the students have enjoyed it very much, laughing and sometimes providing funny answers. One time, one student's question was "how old are you", to which the student role-playing answered "47". I'm actually 28 yrs old. The students laughed, and I pretended to be surprised and angry (for a fleeting moment of course - all in good fun), before putting a HUGE 'x' on the board next to her name.

Enjoy, I always do!

Paul Surette
Seoul, South Korea

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