Written by Stuart Allen

When you start an English class, many of your students may not have uttered a single word of English all week….well, basically since your last class. They will be out of practice and will also be tired from their journey through the traffic to get to the school. If you want to get the most out of your class and get them in the mood to learn English, then it is important to get their energy levels up and tune their ear to English. Here is a great warmer activity for teens and adults to get your ESL students into the swing of things.


What to do
1. Ask examples from your class of things they have NEVER done. For example:
“I have never been to Shanghai”
“I have never eaten snails”
“I have never flown a helicopter”
“I have never ridden a horse”
“I have never played golf”
2. Write your students’ suggestions on the whiteboard.
3. After you have gotten ten or so ideas on the board, ask your students to move their chairs so that they are sitting in a large circle.
4. You, the teacher, should now stand in the middle and say something that you haven’t done (whether you have done it or not is irrelevant). For example, you might say:
“I have never drank water.”
Now tell your students that if they HAVE drank water, then they should move up out of their chairs and swap places with another student. Naturally, everyone will get up and move places.
Give two more ‘I have never….’ examples and have students get up and move around, for example, “I have never ridden a bicycle”. Again, any students who HAVE ridden a bicycle should move to a new seat.
5. On the third time, you yourself should quickly take one of the seats seat. This will leave one student in the middle standing. Your students will find this very funny! Your student will immediately realize that they must now give the example and have people move places.
Switch Time!
Now it is the student in the middle’s turn to say “I have never…”. Again, your students must get up and switch around if they HAVE done it. This is a fast paced activity which your students will love!
Keep it going for five minutes or so, and when it’s time to wind down, you can simply make sure that you are the one left standing in the middle, stop the activity to move on with the next stage of your lesson.
This activity will energise your students for the class and they will be more productive with language for your main activity.
Want to teach in a university in China in 2015/16? Scan our code and join the University Placement Program by sending your CV to:stuart@rayenglish.com