Ice Breakers​

Morteza Bakhshaie  ۱۳۹۹/۰۵/۰۸
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Ice Breakers​








My Contribution

Coordinator: Jafar Dorri
Guidelines for Publishing in My Contribution

The column titled My Contribution is a recent initiative which is intended to be a forum for sharing lesson plans and procedures for classroom activities. Our assumption is that all teachers have original ideas for running their lessons which work for them. We welcome a contribution which reflects an original idea. Ideas taken from teachers’ guides can be of no help unless they are sufficiently modified. The sign of an original idea is that it is a source of excitement and pride to the originator to the extent that he/she would like to tell others how it works. You can imagine yourself telling your colleague in a very simple clear language how you carry out the activity in your class in a stepwise manner. As your account is procedural, it follows a certain structure which is different from the structure of a research article. The column includes instructions which tell the reader how to carry out the teaching activities like the ones one can find in a recipe. In some cases, especially in the conclusion part, you might want to provide a rationale for the activity by referring to the literature but this needs to be kept at a minimum.

It should be noted that a lesson plan is the blueprint of those teaching activities that are to be done in the classroom to teach the textbook content with the aim of achieving its objectives. Every teacher tries to plan the content in his/her own style so that he/she can teach systematically and effectively. You can see the detailed guidelines for writing My Contribution in in the box below.

Your “My Contribution” should include:

- A title, your name, affiliation, and email address;

- A “Quick guide” to the activity or teaching technique;

- No more than 700 words excluding the appendixes;

- An introduction (i.e. overview) followed by preparation and procedure steps and a conclusion.

It should be:

- In Microsoft Word format;

- Double-spaced with an extra space between sections.

Ice Breakers
Morteza Bakhshaie, Affiliation: Binesh High School - District 5

Quick guide

Key Words: GTKY (Getting to Know You), building rapport

Proficiency level: all levels

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Activity time: 30 minutes

Materials: whiteboard or projector, marker, handout

It is necessary to build a positive and enjoyable ambiance in the classroom, especially at the beginning of the new educational year in Mehr.  Teacher and students can get familiar with each other in terms of their names, likes and dislikes, needs, and attitudes. This relationship that the teacher has with his/her students is called rapport (Harmer, 2008). Rapport can help the teacher to have a better idea from the classroom and consequently plan more precisely. Also, students want to know their teacher and understand who he is and what he wants. This can be done by a range of GTKY tasks. Below, I explain what I do to build an efficient rapport with my students.

Step 1: I write my name in the middle of a circle along with some names and numbers about my life. Each name and number represents an event, someone, or an achievement related to me (Appendix 1). For example, 22 is my teaching experience, Mohsen is the first name of my favorite singer, Red is my favorite color,  Help is the name of the organization we have to help poor students. I have 1 child, and I have 2 university degrees: one in Language Teaching and another one in Psychology. Students should guess how these names and numbers are related to me.

step 2: When their guesses are all over and the secrets are revealed, I invite each student to do the same thing. He writes his name in the centre of a piece of paper around which he writes some names and numbers. In groups, they should guess how they are related to the owner of the circle.

Step 3: Finally, I ask them to share with the class what they learned about each other. For instance, student A says that Mohsen, his classmate, likes spaghetti. Morteza is a fan of Barcelona. Amin is into music, etc.

An alternative to this procedure might be mingling. When students draw their circles, the teacher can invite them to stand up, mingle, and talk to at least 5 people whom they don’t know well. So instead of talking to their neighbor students (their elbow partners), they talk to the classmates whom they don’t know well or with whom they want to build a relationship.

Building rapport in general and using ice-breakers for this purpose in particular can help the classroom teacher and students to know each other well and start building a friendly atmosphere. Also the students’ language barriers will be lowered and they can communicate better.

Harmer, J. (2008). How to teach English. ELT journal, 62(3), 313-316.






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