Curiosity Ideas

Curiosity Ideas

 The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds…
No one can deny the importance of curiosity in learning. But as teachers how do we integrate curiosity into the ESL classroom? This post is going to offer some suggestions as to how you can create curiosity in the classroom. 1. Riddles: Riddles are one way in which you can create curiosity. I have used these in the ESL classroom and have had some great interest in them. I usually have one riddle written on the board before class starts. This is a great way to get students who arrive early something to think about before we start. I have used these with teens but they could be used with adults too. Examples: (Answers can be found at the bottom of the post!) How many people are buried in cemeteries? What gets wetter and wetter the more it dries? What can you catch but you can’t throw? Click here for a printable list. 2. Ciphers  Ciphers are great for young learners, especially those who are mathematically minded. They are easy to set up and a great way to revise the alphabet and spelling and vocabulary. You assign a number to a letter so A=1, B=2, C=3 etc and write coded messages on the board or get the kids to write their own in English and get their friends to crack the code! Our Cipher making tool can be a handy way to write messages quickly on your computer for printing 3. Word Squares Another way to break up your class or an activity to keep early finishers occupied while they wait is with word squares.
This is a quick activity to put together, simply write 9 letter in a square, like above. Your class then have to create as many words as they can in a given number of time. This can be done in pairs or individually. Riddle answers: 1. All of them! 2. A towel 3. A cold Activities based on a workshop given by Nina Lauder at the TEFL conference, Seville, Spain 2011.


  1. Thank you very much for all your useful materials.

  2. Thanks for the kinds words Gloria. I hope you have found some helpful ideas. I have plenty more on the way!

  3. Great ideas, my classes really enjoyed them

  4. Eezapropageeza

    Thank you for the easy access and clarity of your suggestions. Got me out a mindblock and I didn’t have time to click through all the other crowded sites. Good suggestions on a pleasant site.

  5. Awesome and useful.they are great ????

  6. this is amazing. Thanks so much. Will be using these tomorrow in Vietnam! Thanks! (From a Brit teaching abroad)

    • Excellent! I hope they go well for you. If it is your first time teaching have a backup unless you know your students level. Best of luck.

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