free resources and more…

TEFL Warm Ups and Activities for Adults


Error Correction Races

The teacher puts students in two teams and gives each team a list of sentences containing mistakes. Students race to see which team can correct the entire page first.

More difficult version: The teacher Includes some correct sentences as well as sentences with multiple mistakes.

For ideas, see these error correction exercises:
exercise 1 (beginner)
exercise 2A (intermediate)
exercise 2B (intermediate)
exercise 2C (intermediate)
exercise 3A (advanced)
error correction for Spanish speakers
common mistakes in emails
common mistakes in emails 2
common mistakes in emails 3: collocation errors



A “one-upper” is slang for someone who listens to someone talk about an accomplishment or experience and then says something better or more interesting. For example, if someone says “I met the CEO,” a one-upper might say “I had the CEO over to my house for dinner.”

For this warm up, one student starts with a statement, and the next student has to “one-up” that statement. Students continue in a sequence with each person one-upping the previous person.

More difficult version: Students have to use only one particular grammatical structure.


Synonyms/Antonyms/More Intense Words

Students work in pairs. The teacher gives students a word (good, for example). Students have to think of synonyms, antonyms, and more intense words (terrific, great, wonderful, horrible, awful, etc.). The pair of students that thinks of the most words wins. This warm up helps students avoid using the same bland words over and over again (good, nice, bad, interesting, etc.).


Ranking Activity

Students are put in groups and have to rank the items on a list. All members of the group must agree on the order.

With your group, rank the following jobs in terms of difficulty:
1) financial accountant  2) human resources representative  3) salesperson  4) congressman  5) professional athlete


Can’t Say Yes or No

The object of this warm up is to not say “yes,” or “no.” Students ask each other questions to try to get the other members of their group to say “yes,” or “no.” The other members must answer the questions, but without saying “yes,” or “no.” It’s a fun activity that requires students to think on their feet.


Fact or Fiction – Storytelling

Students are placed in small groups. Each person tells two stories, one true and one completely made up. The other members of the group try to guess which story is true.


Here’s the Answer, what’s the Question?

The teacher writes the answers to a few questions about his life on the board. Students have to guess what the corresponding questions are.

1. 2
2. sushi
3. sales

For number one, guesses might include “How many brothers and sisters do you have?,” “How many jobs have you had?” “How many years have you lived in this country?” etc.

More difficult version: Students are limited to certain types of questions (past perfect, future conditional, etc.).


Conversation Starters

Intriguing conversation questions can also serve as a warm up for business English classes. See these business English conversation starters for ideas.

Back to top…


If you have any additional TEFL warm ups or activities that work well with adult learners, let me know in the comments section below.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5