Teachers Pay Teachers ESL Resources
About Taboo- ESL SPEAKING GAME
It’s a lively and enjoyable game, perfect for reviewing and reactivating vocabulary. It improves students’ speaking skills, forcing them to speak freely without over-analysing their output.
When to play Taboo
At the end of a unit or level or before a test. It’s also a perfect lesson filler or at the end of lesson activity. Taboo is a great way to recycle vocabulary and get students producing full sentences.
How do you play taboo?
Taboo card include the target word which is a secret word known only by one student or on team. Also it includes a list of related words which you cannot use.
Students go in turns, picking one card from the deck. The aim of the activity is to describe the target word without using the related words from the list on the card.
As a teacher you can award points for guessing the words correctly. You can check if students are not using the words from the list. You might give penalty points for students who sneak secret words in.
Another variation of the game is to force students to make particular number of sentences, e.g. 6 sentences to describe the word 'house’. It’s important to make sure students don’t guess the word until particular amount of sentences is produced.
Benefits of playing ESL Taboo Game
- students practise using synonyms, antonyms and develop explanation skills
- it’s very simple
- it helps build vocabulary
- students learn using the words in context
- students come up with stories to illustrate the words
- improves communication and speaking skills
- boosts students’ confidence in communicating in English
- pupils learn how to build the words in a sentence
- you can practise different grammar points, you can encourage your students to use different grammar structures they have learnt during past lessons
- learners have a lot of fun doing this activity
- students retain more information