What are ice breakers?
Ice breakers are activities or exercises that are designed and implemented specifically to break the “ice” that typically blocks interaction and communication with a group of people.
During a presentation in your classroom, you may want to overcome that situation of reluctance, lack of trust or poor eye contact from your students …etc. You and your learners need to feel comfortable to effectively engage in learning and teaching.
To be successful at breaking the “ice”, you need to use certain activities. These activities should be: 1) fun and amusing – 2) non-threatening – 3) interactive and engaging – 4) simple and easy. Remember that these features are so important to the success of your ice-breaking activities.
How to choose or create great ice breakers
An effective and successful ice breaker is an activity that can help you prepare your learners or audience for what is coming. Prior to the implementation of ice breakers, you will always have to:
- Make sure that your classroom or sitting is appropriately arranged.
- Make sure that students or the audience are all engaged in the activity.
- Be familiarized with how to put the activity into practice.
- Use clear, simple, and short instructions.
- Check to understand
20 fun questions you can use as an ice breaker
- What do you wish your computer could do?
- What fun facts do you know?
- What kind of physical exercises do you like doing?
- What’s the shortest trip you’ve been on?
- What, in your opinion, is the cutest animal?
- What was your worst experience with a dentist?
- What is the last goal you achieved?
- Do you prefer bananas or apple juice? Why?
- What was your best TV show when you were a child?
- What’s your idea of a great day?
- How would you describe a great friend?
- What’s the sweetest food you’ve ever eaten?
- What card games do you like to play?
- What’s the weirdest food you’ve eaten?
- What is the best game you like to play?
- What movie never gets old no matter how many times you’ve seen it?.
- What sport do you wish you knew more about?
- What are three of your favorite snacks?
- what would like to pursue as a major after high school?
- How was your first day at school?
- If I visited your hometown, what local spots would you suggest I see?
- What is your favorite midnight snack?
- What is your best study tip?
- What is the strangest habit you have?
- What is the most amazing story about your family?
- What movie do you think everyone should watch?
- What is the last TV show that you binge-watched?
- What is one thing we would never guess about you?
- Name an imaginary college class you wish this school offered.
- What current fact about your life would most impress your five year old self?
- Besides graduating, what is your number one goal for your remaining time at college?
- Describe the best teacher you have had so far.
- Who is the most gifted person you know?
- What are some films that would make it on to your top 50 list of movies?
- What do you want to do when you retire?
- What public spaces do you feel most comfortable in? (Library, bar, park, mall, stadium, etc.)
- at’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
- When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?
- What is your favorite item you’ve bought this year?
- What would be the most surprising scientific discovery imaginable?
- What is your absolute dream job?
- What would your talent be if you were Miss or Mister World?
- What would the title of your autobiography be?
- Say you’re independently wealthy and don’t have to work, what would you do with your time?
- If you had to delete all but 3 apps from your smartphone, which ones would you keep?
- What is your favorite magical or mythological animal?
- Would you rather live in the ocean or on the moon?
- Would you rather meet your travel back in time to meet your ancestors or to the future to meet your descendants?
- Do you play any sports?
- Do you play any instruments?
- If you could donate a million dollars to any charity, what cause would you choose?
- Do you have any hidden talents?
- What school subject is your favorite?
- What school subject is your least favorite?
- What are you most excited about this year?
- What song or album could you listen to on repeat?
- If you could live in one fictional universe, which one would you choose?
- Name one cool feature you would add to your dream house.
- Describe a time you laughed so hard you thought you would cry, or when you did cry. What was so funny?
- If you could have your own TV show, what would it be about?
- What is one thing you want older generations to know about teenagers today?
- What is your favorite memory with your best friend? (Your best friend can be an animal!)
- What is the best dish you can cook?
- Would you rather lose all of your money or all of your pictures?
- Would you rather have invisibility or flight?
- Would you rather live where it only snows or the temperature never falls below 100 degrees?
- Would you rather always be slightly late or super early?
- Would you rather give up your smartphone or your computer?
- Would you rather live without heat and AC or live without social media?
- Would you rather be the funniest or smartest person in the room?
- Would you rather be able to run at 100 miles per hour or fly at 10 miles per hour?
As a practicing EFL teacher, I have come to recognize the importance of ice breakers day after day. They play a remarkable role in my classroom and boost my learners’ confidence.
At the beginning of the academic year, when learners don’t know each other, I usually employ activities that reduce the distance between learners. Such activities help learners break the barrier and talk to one another.
This is very important in my classroom. I have to make sure that learners do this because there will be pair and group work activities, and I don’t want my learners to work individually when I assign work that involves peers or groups.
Some of the icebreaking activities I use help me warm my students up and prepare them for coming lesson discussions. It all depends on the goal for which you use ice breakers. If your lesson is speaking, you may bring an ice-breaking speaking activity to help your learners stretches their muscles and get ready.
If your aim is to motivate and engage your learners, you may use a funny ice breaker. If you are teaching a class in the early morning or the late afternoon, and you feel that your students are sleepy or tired, you may use an ice breaker that requires some physical movements such as standing, moving around, dancing….etc.
It is always up to you to choose ice breakers that really suit your purpose. You can design your own, adapt, or just search and use them. But, the most important thing you will have to consider before every class is how to engage your learners. In thinking about this, try out some ice breakers and tell the results yourself.
What ice breakers do you use? Please let us know about you.
I hope you like this short reflective article. If you think it deserves, please share it with your friends and colleagues. There must be someone who needs to know this.