Teachers' activities

Mingle: swap the question

Teachers' activities Mingle Swap the question

Teachers’ activities Mingle Swap the question

Every year at the beginning of the year when we start a new class with a get to know you activity or icebreaker and usually we always do the same things. Sometimes it’s nice to do something different. This was one activity I did many years back at a teacher seminar I was attending and it simply blew my mind and it was just so simple.


Swap the question is a mingle, where you get the students moving around the room and talk to each other, it just has some small twist.

Who for?

Since this activity is a bit more structured than your classic mingle you should be able to do it with any class or any level that can write. They will end up making questions that are at their level anyway.

What do you need?

  • Some space in the classroom
  • Small strips of paper (1 for each student)
  • A pen (1 for each student)


Like the classic mingle, you get the students to move around and talk to each other, but first they need to write 1 question on a small piece of paper. So, you tell the students to think of a question and write it down on a small strip of paper. Next, you get them up and make them mingle around the room. They ask one another the question on the piece of paper and after talking they swap their piece of paper. Now they go to a different partner and ask them the new question they got from their previous partner. This way they get to ask different questions and not always the same question to a different person.

How long?

Like your classic mingle this activity can take as long as you want it to take, but usually at least 15 minutes.

Watch out for!

  • You need some space to move, as it is a mingle activity.
  • You will need a small strip of paper for each student to write a question on. 
  • Get them to think of some creative questions, not the basic ‘What is your name?’.
  • It’s easier if they write it down, if you ask them to memorise the question, they will just forget.

How to scaffold?

  • You can give them a set of questions to choose from.
  • They can brainstorm different questions in small groups or on the board.

I do a lot of speaking activities during my seminars/ workshops where you get to practice the different activities first had and reflect on how you could use them in your classroom, as well as share your experience with other teachers.

For example:

Spread the word

Kristof Abrath
Teacher, Trainer, Course Designer
Teaching in English on 4 different continents since 2006.

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