Games Aren’t Just for Kids!-Interactive Activities for Adults
–Written by Devan Ogburn
Learning a new language can be difficult and isn’t always fun for everyone. That is why we work so hard to incorporate interactive activities into our sessions, for all age groups. Adult learners are somewhat at a disadvantage learning another language later into their lives and can often feel nervous or uncertain. Interactive activities allow adults to have more in-class experience with speaking English which eases some of those nerves. A reason for differentiating between activities for adults versus those used for younger students is some activities can make adults feel a little childish, such as chants. Adults have a higher level of critical thinking than many younger students and thus, they’d like to be challenged even when learning the most basics of languages. The main thing we consider when determining which activities to use is its purpose. Is it meant to practice vocabulary, check for understanding, or ask an opinion? Each category calls for different activities.
While the initial thought may be that adults will take on new vocabulary easily, they still need repetition and practice to be able to recall and integrate it into their memory. Some beneficial activities for this are:
- Crosswords: Crosswords challenge learners to not only find learned vocabulary, but consultants can also take it a step further and ask questions about definitions or for a student to use the word in a sentence. It takes a bit more critical thinking than its Scavenger hunt counterpart.
- Categories: This asks students to list examples of given vocabulary and is used in foundational vocabulary.
- Password: Consultants can provide students with a word or phrase that connects to a vocabulary word. The learners must guess what word the teacher is referring too. It can be used through all proficiencies, earlier levels requiring phrases while higher levels may be able to connect a single word to the vocabulary.
Targeted interactive activities are necessary for checking comprehension with adult learners as we don’t want them to feel talked down to or like a child. These activities allow to check for comprehension:
- Five W’s: This activity can be used in a lesson where a large amount of reading has been presented. It asks the questions of who, what, when, where, why about the topic covered.
- Picture Prompts: Consultants can provide pictures that relate and then, the learner will be responsible for describing what is taking place or what they interpret. This can also be used to practice vocabulary.
Practice makes perfect. The following activities can be used to give adults the space to speak in guided conversation or express their opinion:
- Sentence Starters: This prompt activity aids learners in beginning the conversation without telling them what to say. A consultant can present starters such as, “I hope that…., I believe…” It allows the learner to give their opinion or make predictions about the world.
- Old School/New School: In this activity, learners can reflect on the differences between things happening now versus what they used to be like, such as school, their hometown, or attire.
- Storytelling: The consultant can provide a character or problem, a picture, or several words that the learner must use in practicing their speaking. It can even be used in writing form if a learner is shy and doesn’t like to speak a lot.
**Jeopardy includes various questions, but in this case can cover various activities to challenge the learner in recalling information. It can include vocabulary, grammar or pronunciation, and even speaking questions. It takes preparation from the consultant, however it can be very rewarding practice for adult learners.