Get ready for an exciting school year! Icebreakers set the tone and build connections. Read this post to to help you choose the best icebreaker for your classes!
It’s that time of the year again when teachers flip through their notes or browse through the Internet in search of the best icebreakers to kick off the new school year. Icebreakers can be an effective way to get to know each other in a new group and they are often used on the first day of a new course. When they are used in moderation, they can create a sense of community and establish a more relaxed and positive atmosphere in the classroom.
What I find particularly useful when it comes to icebreakers is that they can set the tone and the nature of the course. It becomes clear from the very first day that the students will learn/practise the new language through engaging activities and group work and that’s something that all students do appreciate.
Young learners respond positively to almost any icebreaker that involves moving around, playing, drawing or singing. They love talking about themselves and their families and they are very enthusiastic and curious about their classmates and their teacher. Even when there is a language barrier, this doesn’t seem to be a problem. Kids come up with many different ways, such as miming or drawing, in order to find out if their classmates like the same PC games, sports and celebs as they do. By the end of the first lesson, young learners will have found the students with whom they have most in common and they will have formed new friendships. The only thing that teachers need to make sure is that there aren’t any students who have been marginalized from their peers. These students might be the silent ones who possibly need more time to bond or the ones who have been dominated by the more lively students. In such cases, the teacher needs to act fast and give equal opportunities to all students. It’s also a good idea to pair those students with someone who seems to have the same interests just like them. This needs to happen in a subtle and discreet way, such as regrouping all students or introducing a new game. Changing the group dynamics is something that young learners enjoy anyway.
Competitive games might also be a bad idea on the first day depending on the group. You don’t want anyone to leave the classroom feeling like a winner or a loser. As a teacher you want to create a classroom environment where everyone feels comfortable and everyone leaves the room with a positive attitude.