I teach in Hong Kong, where the classes can be very quiet, and take lots of warming up. This one is great for quiet classes, and hugely versatile (no preparation!).


  • Get the members of the class to stand up and form two lines, one on either side of the classroom. They should all be facing inwards, i.e. facing someone in the line opposite.
  • They are going to have a conversation (about whatever topic you like). The only catch is that their partner is the person across the room from them (not standing next to them).
  • You can give them a list of questions, if you like, or leave it open to them, for example: 'Ask your partner about their weekend.'
  • The important thing is that they must keep their backs against the wall - they are not allowed to move forwards to speak to their partner.
  • This results in lots of shouting, and really wakes up and energizes quiet / sleepy groups.
  • Either stop after a few minutes, or ask the students to switch partners and go again.

Whenever I first try this, the group thinks I'm mad (I teach business English to adults), but they soon get used to it and seem to enjoy making lots of noise.