Languages Magazine

Are Ice Breakers and Intros Worth It?

By Naturegirl321 @SharonTEFLTips

Are Ice Breakers and Intros Worth It?

From matthewrae.com

Doing Intros
Most teachers spend the first day or two of class doing ice breakers and introductions. I've done this too. I've gone around the room and had students introduce themselves and then I've introduced myself and asked them if they had any questions. I usually got questions like:
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have kids?
  • How long have you been in this country?
  • Do you speak the language?
  • What do you think of this country?

And I willingly answered all their questions. Then I got to thinking. When had my teachers ever allowed me such as insight into their lives? Or when had we actually gone around the room and introduced ourselves? The answer to both questions is never. Even in language classes I've never introduced myself.
But this could be because:
  • it's unrealistic and contrived
  • it's a waste of time

Some people disagree and say:
  • we're supposed to be all friendly with our students
  • it allows teachers to gauge students' level
I know that I've stopped doing introductions. I found that everyone basically says the same thing. It goes like this, "My name is ABC, I'm from Korea, I'm studying Engineering."

Doing Ice Breakers
I've found ice breakers or warmers to be a bit more useful. After talking about the syllabus I move on to ice breakers. You know the classic "Find someone who" game or writing about goals for the class. I really like writing goals. It's less stressful since students are expected to speak and it's useful.
Summary
This is just what I do. What have you found works in your classes?

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