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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 03/13/2023

Escape Room for the ESL Classroom

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

We all see the Escape Room craze, but have you ever wondered how you could use this idea in your ESL classroom? Although we found some teachers creating Escape Rooms for their students, we couldn't find any appropriate for our students learning English.  So what did we do?  Created our own! 

An escape room is a physical adventure game, inspired by "escape-the-room" video games, in which players solve a series of puzzles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objective. We've taken this idea to get our students to work through a number of puzzles using their language skills, logic, memory and teamwork.

Our Escape Room included seven separate tasks, and students received a clue after successfully completing each task.  The clues were individual letters that students had to unscramble in order to figure out where in the school the prize was hidden.  Our prize was in the hammock in the garden behind our school!

The learners participating in our activity were of varying levels and were a mix of teenagers and young adults. We created tasks that were challenging for all our students and encouraged the higher-level students to help the lower-level students. Our tasks constituted the following:

1 - Reading:  Students had to take turns reading aloud a short reading about the benefits of cycling and work together to answer multiple choice questions. The correct answers to the multiple choice questions then needed to be unscrambled in order to complete the task.  For instance, answer to question number one was B, two was E, three was I and four was K. BIKE was the final answer.

2 - Teamwork/Physical Challenge:  Students had to work together to get through the labyrinth by telling their teammates which direction to go. Such a fun activity and great for getting the students to work together!

3 - Listening:  The teacher read a short story about one character's daily routine. Students were required to take notes. After the teacher read the story a second time, students had to put sentence strips in the correct order based on what happened in the story. Just for a fun twist, we hid our sentence strips in cupcakes!

4 - Vocabulary/Word Puzzle:  Students had to work together to complete a double puzzle about farming and products of their country.

5 - Speaking/Teamwork/Physical Challenge:  The team had to work together to get themselves out of the Human Knot. To encourage the students to speak and to use only English, they were penalized by having to wait one minute before being allowed to continue if they spoke in their first language.  Side note, after the Escape Room was completed, we put all three teams together to do the Human Knot.  What a blast!

6 - Brainteaser/Riddle:  Students were given a short riddle which was actually a secret code, so students had to figure out the code in order to decipher the message.  There are tons of great ones available online!  

7 - Puzzle:  The final task was a puzzle that the students had to put together as a team. The final letter (clue) was on the back of the puzzle!  So at this point, the students had to put all 7 clues together to figure out that the prize was in the hammock.  Teachers, get out of the way as the students run for the prize!

Take our ideas and make it your own, working with your resources and meeting the needs of your learners.  These are the activities that will not only encourage your students to keep working on their English and use it in a fun way, they create memories that will last a lifetime.  Want to learn more about teaching English?  Contact us today to get more information on registering for one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL courses in Costa Rica!

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