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Teaching private English classes in Spain for extra money is very common for people teaching English in Spain, especially for those going through the Auxiliares de Conversación Program or other similar programs. However, most auxiliares and language assistants don’t have a background in teaching English, so here are 10 activities for private English classes!
Before we begin with these fun things you can do for private English classes, if you are just beginning to look at teaching private English classes, check out our post on How to Teach Private English Classes in Spain.
Most people working as an auxiliar de conversación or language assistant in Spain are making between 700€ and 1000€ per month, which is enough to live on. However, if you want extra money to go out and eat, travel, party, or save, you will want to teach private English classes in Spain.
Now, let’s get to the 10 fun activities you can use in any of your private English classes!
1. Playing Cards
Yes, it’s as simple as that. Playing cards is a fantastic activity for private English lessons because it will get reluctant students talking.
Bringing out a deck of cards and teaching your student how to play a simple card game will help them improve their listening skills as well as force them to speak in English while playing the game. This is an especially good activity when teaching children because they are more easily distracted by games and will think of your private class as less of a class.
You can also buy Uno and play that. While playing a relatively mindless card game, just ask your student questions and get them talking! Typically, they will be more responsive because they are less focused on the fear of speaking and more on the game.
If you really want to challenge them, have them teach you how to play a card game in English. As playing cards is pretty universal, chances are they have a card game they can teach you. Go along with it and ask clarification questions during their instructions.
If your student is really looking for conversation and speaking practice in their private English classes with you, you can always just talk. Easy as that!
Simply having conversations during private classes typically works better when teaching adults English because they don’t need as many games to keep them motivated. However, you will need to have some conversation topics in mind when you begin teaching. Otherwise, it might drag, and you don’t want to be in a position of awkward silence when someone is paying you for a class.
One of the best resources for ESL conversation classes is ITESLJ.org. They have a huge range of conversation topics with deeper questions to continue the conversation, no matter what level your student is at.
3. Practice Speaking Exams on Different Topics
Along with simply having a conversation, it’s a good idea to try some practice speaking exams when teaching private English classes. The exams might not be as fun for you or the student, but they will help them get ready for when they actually take their English exams.
Practicing speaking about a variety of subjects that your student might not normally talk about is good for vocabulary development and real-work situations too!
Many students will just have the response that they don’t know a lot about the topic or don’t know what to say because it’s not something they feel strongly about. Mike always tells his students who say this that they just need to pick one side of the topic and pretend to feel strongly about it, even if they don’t. When doing a speaking exam, the examiners don’t know the examinees actual opinion. They are just looking for their English level, so it’s okay if what is said is all made up, as long as the grammar is correct.
4. Drawing and Descriptions
Now, moving back to a game to play with kids for private English classes. In this game, you and the student will switch roles during the game. The two roles are artist and describer.
One person describes an image, either made up or found on the internet, and tells the artist what to draw. The artist then uses that description to try to draw the image being described. They can also ask clarifying questions about the image to try to draw it better.
This is a fantastic game for private English classes because it gets your students speaking and using specific prepositions, like next to, in front of, in, on, etc. English learners often struggle with these words, so it’s wonderful practice without being too methodical with them. Chances are you’ll come across other words also if they find images on Google too!
Bananagrams is a somewhat advanced game for English learners. However, you don’t have to play it by the rules to use as one of your activities in your private English classes. You can easily play Bananagrams and change up the rules or create new rules.
With more advanced students, you can have them play the actual game without a timer to practice vocabulary and spelling—something very challenging in English.
With lower level students, you can have them put the letters in order (ABCs), think of one word per letter, or try to spell 5 words. Sometimes actually being able to see the letters and move them around really helps the students learn and remember the words. It’s also a great way to start or end class as a break from whatever else you have been working on.
Uno is a classic card game that is easy to explain, play, and allows your students to practice simple directions, colors, and numbers.
Playing Uno is a private English class is probably going to be something you do for a lower level student because a more advanced student might not get a lot out of it. It’s also a great trick to distract a reluctant speaker by immersing them in a game. They might speak more when playing because they are more focused on the game itself instead of the fear of speaking in English.
7. Guess Who
Another game that is a phenomenal activity for private English classes in Spain, especially with children, is Guess Who. Playing Guess Who is so great because it really forces the student to practice asking and answering questions.
Forming questions in English is oftentimes very difficult for English learners, so the more practice the better! Given that the goal of the game is to ask questions to guess who the other player has, your students will definitely be practicing asking questions in a less intimidating setting.
Again, this game is best for children. However, it could be used in the right private class with an adult willing to play.
8. What am I? (20 questions)
In line with the last activity for private English classes and practicing asking questions, you can always play the simple game of What am I? It’s also known as 20 questions.
Basically, one person thinks of something and the other gets to ask 20 yes or no questions. The goal is to guess what the other person is thinking of before the 20 questions are up. If you guess what the other person is thinking of before the 20 questions are up, you win!
This activity is very simple and can be played without any materials. It’s a fun game to just throw in a class to mix things up. It can be played with all ages, but typically children enjoy it more than adults.
For more advanced students who are really looking to treat their vocabulary and on-the-spot thinking, Taboo is the perfect game for an English class. Students have to describe a word without using the most common words associated with it. This will really test their vocabulary and force them to use words or phrases that they might not normally use.
Advanced students, including adults, really like this game as it really is a challenge. Avoid using the timer if students are struggling with it, and make sure to discuss some of the words if they don’t know what they mean as it’s a great way to further develop their vocabulary.
The last of the 10 activities of private English classes in Spain is a classic matching game. This is a wonderful game for younger students to practice saying vocabulary words and associating the word with a picture.
Unfortunately, this game does take a lot more prep work of preparing the matching cards, but it can take up almost an entire class, if not more.
Once the student knows all the words and is able to match them, have your student use each one in a sentence, either speaking or writing to get extra practice using the vocabulary words. You can continue this in future classes too by making new cards and reusing old ones in future classes with other students.
There are countless activities for private English classes in Spain that you can use, and these are just 10 of them!
The goal is to get the students speaking, listening, writing, and reading in English, with an emphasis on speaking and listening because those are the most difficult to do in a large class setting.
Read our posts about How to Teach Private English Classes in Spain, Teaching English in Spain, and the Auxiliares de Conversación Program in Spain to learn all about how to teach English in Spain.