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Blindfold Activities in the TEFL classroom

from: William Sullivan

One method of creating a genuine information gap is through the use of blindfold activities. Blindfolds can be employed in a variety of ways in the TEFL/foreign language classroom to foster a truly communicative and student-centered approach to learning. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

This first activity is a great way of reinforcing the language of giving directions. After having one student to leave the classroom, the teacher instructs the remaining students rearrange classroom furniture. The student who has left the classroom is then blindfolded and brought back in. Students then use the target language to lead the one blindfolded through the maze of rearranged classroom desks and chairs to some goal—this could be a special treat, a piece of candy, a valuable item (that had previously been taken from the student), or some other reward.

Another activity—and this one is played in groups of three—is called Artist, Model, Clay. As soon as the first student (the Clay) is blindfolded, the second student (the Model) strikes a pose. The goal is for the remaining student (the Artist) to use the target language, describing the pose to the blindfolded student. Ideally, by the end of the activity the blindfolded student should be positioned similar to the pose originally struck by the Model. It is excellent for practicing imperatives (“Put you right leg out a bit more!” or “Bend your knee slightly!”) or for reinforcing parts of the body.

When it comes to asking and answering simple questions in the target language, multiple blindfolds can be used on groups of students. Once blindfolded, the students are assigned a task that requires them to ascertain a piece of information by asking each other a certain question. For example, a group of 10 are blindfolded and then instructed to arrange themselves from shortest to tallest. In this way, a simple mingle activity suddenly becomes both more challenging and more exciting as blindfolded students bump into each other asking, “How tall are you?”

Other activities involving smaller groups may involve tasks such as conducting a taste test, constructing a structure with wooden blocks, or arranging items according to a pattern. There are a variety of blindfold activities, many of which can be borrowed or adapted from any introduction to parlor games or team-building exercises. As is the case with most classroom activities, the possibilities for those involving blindfolds are limited only by the creativity and inventiveness of the teacher. Enjoy!

William Sullivan

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