EFL / ESL Teaching Tip: Four Quadrants

This is Autumn sharing a fun improvisational game that you can use with your students.


Autumn: Hi! My name is Autumn and I have a fun game to share with you today. It’s called 4 Quadrants. Basically, you need a little bit of space in order to play this game. If you have a table, you can use the 4 corners of the room. Basically, the idea is to give each of the four corners of the room an assigned emotion or maybe it’s a movie genre or maybe it’s a music genre—this is a really common improv game. So, you give the class a scene. Maybe you have 2 people who star the scene and then you just keep adding people in so that you have a little party going on. The key is that as they are doing this scene, you tell them when to move and once they move to the other part of the room the whole scene stays the same except they have to change it based on something else. So, maybe if you are doing movie genres, you have a horror movie, you have an action movie, you have a romantic comedy and you have a tragedy. So, they’re starting out and maybe they’re in the supermarket and they’re all shopping and talking with each other and you have maybe 5 people and you keep adding people in and then you say “go” and they have to do it like an action movie. And then you say “go” and they have to move to this corner and suddenly it becomes a horror movie; and then you say “go” and then suddenly it becomes a romance. So, it’s kind of a fun take on a traditional role play. Maybe you have a fun context and they’re doing a role play, but just to spice it up a little bit and make it more challenging they have to switch genres within that role play. It’s also a great way to practice movie genres—to see how the students understand what important elements of the genres are. After you do this activity then you can expand it into even writing a movie script of a horror movie that they acted out or from the ideas from the action movie that they got from this game. You can also use this game to practice emotions. You can use this game to practice places with Beginners, like the scene is in a supermarket…”what can you find there?” and they have to use supermarket vocabulary and you say “go” and they move to another corner and suddenly the scene is in a doctor’s office, suddenly the scene is at the airport, suddenly the scene is at an office…So, there are many ways to use this game. I hope you have a lot of fun with it. The only problem is that you need a lot of space and you want to make sure that your students feel comfortable role playing and making mistakes and putting themselves out there. I often do this game once I am sure I have a really strong group dynamic with my class. So, I hope you enjoy this and have fun!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I love this – I’m going to try it out today!

    1. Autumn says:

      Great! Let us know how it goes :).

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