You’re Hired! 4 Activities to Prepare Students for School and Job Applications

You’re Hired! 4 Activities to Prepare Students for School and Job Applications

Susan Verner
by Susan Verner 73,460 views

Most people study English for a reason.

Many will go on to further their education in English speaking schools and countries. Others will use what they learn in your classes for business purposes. Still others may be studying but not yet sure how they plan to use their English education. When students have such different goals for their language studies, it can be hard to meet all the needs of all your students all of the time. Impossible, really. But if you target the average, some students are sure to feel as though they haven’t been properly prepared for their specific goals. The following activities are designed for students who will be applying for jobs and higher education programs, and they give students the chance to practice the skills essential to these processes. The better news is that the activities are still fun and useful for students who may not have those same goals. Thus, everyone is getting a little of what they are looking for in these activities. So what are you waiting for? Read on and see how to keep all your students engaged while helping some of your students get ready to tackle their futures.

Try These 4 English Activities to Prepare Students for School and Job Applications

  1. 1

    All About Me

    One of the first steps in an application process is telling the school or company a little bit about yourself. Have students write a paragraph about themselves giving whatever information they think a potential school or employer would want to know including their education and job history. Then, have them write a second version of their paragraph that leaves out some of the information in the first and also includes other information not in the first version. Collect your students’ papers and choose some of the best pairs to share with the class. (Be sure to get your students’ permission before sharing their paragraphs with the class.) Have students work in pairs to look at the two versions of the about me paragraph with each person in possession of one version. Without reading each other’s copies, have students talk until they can point out which information each version has that is different from their partner’s and what information each version is lacking.

  2. 2

    Interview Questions

    No matter what job your students will be applying for, many interview questions will be the same. That is also true of interviews at colleges and universities. Have your students work in groups of around four for this activity. Give each group about five questions that they might be asked at a job or school interview. (Make sure each group has a different set of questions.) Have the group work together to list four or five possible answers to each question. Once each group has their answers written down, have groups exchange their questions along with their answers with another group. The second group must read the answers to each question given by the first group and then rank them in order from best answer to worst answer. As students rank the answers, have them discuss why certain answers are better than others. After students have finished their discussions, have each group choose one question and share what they thought was the best for it along with the reasons they chose it.

  3. 3

    Interview Board Game

    Interviews may not be the most fun activity, especially when you are the one in the hot seat, but preparing for one can be. This is especially true when your preparations are in the context of a board game. To start this interview preparation game, put students in groups of three or four and give each group a blank board game template. (You can find several free pintables online.) Then give each group a list of typical interview questions which they will use to fill in the spaces on the game board. Every space on the board should have a different interview question written in it when the group is finished. Now your students are ready to play. Have each person choose a game piece and give a die to each group. To take a turn, someone rolls the die, moves and then answers the question on that space. If the answer is good, she stays there. If the group decides her answer is bad, she must return to the space she started from. Players take turns rolling and answering questions until one person reaches the finish line. You can also play a variation of this game with a set of Jenga blocks. To prepare, write one interview question on each block in the set. On a student’s turn, he pulls a block from the stack, answers the question on the block, and then carefully places the block on the top of the stack. Play until someone makes the tower fall.

  4. 4

    Fatal Flaws

    Part of acing an interview is being able to put a positive spin on a negative quality. In this activity one students will try and discover his partner’s fatal flaw while the other tries to hide it without lying. Start by putting your students into pairs and giving one person a slip of paper stating his fatal flaw (e.g. never gets to work on time, can’t work with other people, doesn’t follow directions, can’t use a computer, etc.). This person will be the interviewee. The interviewer then decides on the job she is interviewing for. The two have a conversation, the interviewer asking questions trying to discover the fatal flaw while the interviewee tells the truth but tries to put a positive spin on his answers. When you call time up, see how many interviewers were able to discover the fatal flaw of their interviewee and then have students switch roles with another fatal flaw to discover and another job to fill.

Not all of your ESL students will go on to attend universities or apply for jobs, but some will. These unique activities help students prepare for interviews and applications in their future without wasting the time of students who will choose a different path. Most of all, everyone in class will be using their English skills and having fun.

What activities do you do with your class to get students ready for job and school applications?

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