Musings about Japan and life as a human, a cosplayer, a minority, a music lover, an English teacher.

Playing mind tricks on my students, otherwise known as the A/B game.

I love tricking my students.

So this week was my first batch of classes with the students at one of my schools. The first lesson is always the easiest; it’s a self-introduction lesson and I pretty much can do whatever I want. So I told them a little about myself, and then we played a game.

This game doesn’t really have a name–I just call it the “A/B game.” I made a PowerPoint with a series of questions about myself and my family, and gave two answers on each side of the slide, one designated by ‘A’ and the other by ‘B’.

After asking the question (and making sure the students understand it), I give them a few seconds to decide which side they think is the correct answer, and then they get up and move to that side. If they’re correct, they’re safe. If they’re wrong, then they do a simple self-introduction. They only have to do the intro once though; if they get the next question wrong they don’t have to do it again.

So the first few questions were pretty simple, and everyone got those right. But today I decided to play a trick on my students. I came to school wearing a bright pink shirt and black pants, and one of the questions that came up was “My favorite color is…” Answer A was black, and Answer B was pink.

The kids were so thrown off by my pink shirt that nearly all but two or three of them rushed to the “pink” side. Then when I told them the answer was black, they ALL had to do their self-introductions!!! It was absolutely great. Eventually I was able to fool the remaining few students with the other questions, such as whether I had a PSP or a DS. Most kids tend to think I have a PSP for some reason, most likely because they think it’s more aimed towards adults. But a few kids recalled me saying earlier that I used to play Pokemon, so they went to the DS side.

The best thing about this game is that it helps the kids’ listening skills, and it also lets them run around a bit. It’s always good to get the kids active during your first class, to encourage them to have a positive first impression of you as their new teacher. It also gives them a chance to speak English, as they have to use it to introduce themselves if they get a question wrong. Of course, if there’s that one kid that’s REALLY good and gets all of them right, you can just make them do their introduction at the end of the game. If you manage to get all of the kids to do it before you use up your questions, then you can just enjoy the rest of the game and let them continue their listening to you recite the questions and answers.


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