Four activities I wish I knew when I started teaching

I suppose that should be “Four activities I wish I’d known when I started teaching” but since I wrote the abstract in about 20 minutes it will have to do. “Which abstract?” you might wonder. I am presenting at CAMTESOL next weekend (Saturday the 28th in the morning) on this very topic. I think I mainly have my activities decided (and my Powerpoint almost done, it’s almost like I don’t even know who I am anymore). I really wanted to include something jigsawy but in the end decided there could be a bit of confusion and moving parts. I also had no real idea how to gauge the size of the audience and I didn’t want to mess around too much with paper and printing.
(Spoiler alert: I am not going to mention the activities in this post! My apologies for the misleading title.) 

Here is the abstract: 
In this interactive session the presenter would like to share four of his favorite activities, learned in his 15 years in the field. All the activities to be shared can be modified for different language points, contexts, learners and situations. The activities are relatively light on materials and preparation while high on interaction, fun, and learning.  The activities range from those that are widely known to those that are not so well-known. The presenter will also share some tips and strategies for setting up the activities. The hope is that by actually experiencing the activities and reflecting on the experience teachers will be able to decide if they want to add these activities to their tool kits and maybe even use in their next class.

Close readers of the blog and cynics might recall that I have been known to be something of “an activity snob” in the past. “Why simply present activities, Mike” you might wonder. When I attended CAMTESOL in 2013 I got the sense that many of the attendees were starved for activity ideas and were excited to hear about ways their students could use English in classes. I also thought materials light and flexible is the way to go. My experience thinking and talking about the glorious Flashmob ELT movement also (hopefully) gave me some insights on how workshops can feature and focus on activities in thoughtful way.

As I was procrastinating preparing for my presentation I thought this was a nice opportunity for some crowdsourcing.
So, here are my offers and requests.
a) If you’d like to mention an activity (or a few) you wish you’d known when you started teaching please feel free to add it in the comments. I will share this post with those attend my workshop. I will also break my recent tradition of not responding well to blog comments and give a hearty thank you.
b) If you’d like to write a blog post about activities (or an activity) you wish you’d know when you started teaching I will link to it (in this or a future blog post) and share it with conference attendees.

Any other manner of sharing an activity that I can pass along easily is also something I’d gladly consider. I’d especially be interested in activities that fit the description in the abstract. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance to those that share their ideas and activities.


Karina Thorne shares her favorite teaching activity here. 

Sandy Millin shares “How to set up an information gap.”

A classroom in a teacher training college in Cambodia.


  1. Pingback: My Favourite Teaching Activity – Dictation Relay Race | LEARN > EXPERIENCE > TEACH
  2. mikecorea

    Hey wow, thanks so much. I appreciate the share. It is also a great activity idea. I don’t think I can be so bold as to steal it for my upcoming workshop though! 🙂
    (I have 3/4 and I am mostly decided on the 4th.)

    Thanks very much for commenting and sharing. I am eager to check out your blog in general as well! 🙂

    • mikecorea

      Hi Sandy!
      Thanks for the comment and link! I have just added the link above as well.
      I’ll be very pleased to hear the results of you borrowing this or any idea. 🙂

      I will also be thinking about your comment about activities being your fav thing from conferences as they are not mine…BUT here I am presenting on them.

  3. Pingback: Thoughts on “Four activities I wish I knew when I started teaching” at CAMTESOL | ELT Rants, Reviews, and Reflections

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