Jobs and Work - ESL Activities, Games and Worksheets

Jobs

ESL Jobs Game - Matching, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 45 minutes

In this fun three-part occupations activity, students practice jobs vocabulary and describing jobs with 'has to'. To begin, students play a pelmanism game where they match pictures to jobs. The students are divided into pairs and each pair is given a set of picture cards and a set of word cards. The students shuffle the cards separately and spread them out face down on the desk in two sets. The students then take it in turns to turn over a picture card and a word card. If the picture and job written on the word card match, the student keeps the cards and has another turn. If not, the cards are turned back over and it's the other students turn to play. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. Next, each student is given a word card and a jobs worksheet. The students are then told to imagine that they have the job on the word card and that the jobs on the worksheet are done by people in the class. The aim of the activity is to find out which student does which job. To do this, the students go around the class asking each other the question: What do you do? Students reply, 'I am a/an...' After a student has spoken to a classmate, they write their classmate's name next to the appropriate picture on the worksheet. When the students have finished, the answers are checked with the class. Next, the students are divided into groups of four and given a set of picture cards, which they shuffle and deal out evenly. Students then take it in turns to choose a picture card and make sentences about the job on the card with 'has to', e.g. 'The person doing this job has to work long hours'. The other students in the group listen and try to guess the job being described. The first student to guess correctly wins and keeps the card. Students play until all the jobs have been described. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
 

Jobs and Duties

ESL Jobs Game - Matching, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 60 minutes

This impressive set of teaching activities consists of a matching game, miming game, quiz game and describing game to help students practice jobs and their related duties. To begin, students play a pelmanism game where they match jobs to duties and make sentences. The students are divided into groups of four and each group is given a set of picture cards and a set of activity cards. The students shuffle the cards separately and spread them out face down on the desk in two sets. The students then take it in turns to turn over a picture card and an activity card. If the picture and duty match, the student makes a sentence, e.g. 'A chef cooks meals'. If the sentence is grammatically correct, the student keeps the cards and has another turn. If not, the cards are turned back over and it's the next student's turn to play. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. Next, the students shuffle the activity cards and place them face down in a pile on the desk. Students then take it in turns to pick up a card and mime the activity on the card. The first student to guess the activity being mimed wins and keeps the card. The student with the most cards at the end wins. Staying in their groups of four, students then play a quiz game. One student takes on the role of quizmaster. That student takes the activity cards, shuffles them and places them face down in a pile. The other students deal out a set of picture cards evenly amongst themselves. The quizmaster picks up the top card from the pile (e.g. cut hair) and asks a question with 'Who...?', e.g. 'Who cuts hair?' The first student to answer the question correctly (a hairdresser) wins. The student with the corresponding picture card then hands it to the winning student. The student with the most cards at the end is the winner. The students then move on to play a describing game using the cards. Each group places a set of picture cards face down in a pile on the desk. The students take it in turns to pick up a card and describe the job on the card, pretending that it is their job. The student describes the job by talking about what they do, e.g. 'I work in a kitchen and cook meals'. The other students listen and try to guess the name of the job. The first student to guess correctly wins and keeps the card. This continues until all the jobs have been guessed. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
 

Scrambled Jobs

ESL Jobs Worksheet - Writing and Spelling Activity - Elementary - 20 minutes

This useful professions activity helps students to practice jobs and their spelling. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, the students unscramble the words on the worksheet to form the names of jobs. When a 10-minute time limit has been reached, the answers are elicited from the class. Students score one point for each correct job and spelling. The student with the most points wins.
 

What do I do?

ESL Jobs Game - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 30 minutes

In this engaging occupations activity, students play a guessing game where they ask 20 yes/no questions in order to find out someone's job. The students are divided into groups of four and each group is given a worksheet. The students begin by writing down as many yes/no questions as they can think of using the suggestions on the worksheet and their own ideas. When the students have finished, the questions are checked with the class. After that, each group is given a set of job picture cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. The students then take it in turns to pick up a picture card. The other students in the group ask 20 yes/no questions in order to guess the job on the card. The first student to guess the job correctly wins and keeps the card. The game continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.
 

What do they do?

ESL Jobs Game - Reading and Matching Activity - Elementary - 25 minutes

In this entertaining occupations activity, students play a card game where they match cards together to make sentences about jobs. The students are divided into pairs. Each pair is given a set of cards, which they shuffle and spread out face down on the table. Students then take it in turns to turn over a card. If a student turns over a job picture card, they place the card face up on the table in front of them. If not, the card is turned back over, keeping it in the same place. When a student has a picture card, they can start to make a sentence about the job in the picture on their next turn by looking for word cards. All the sentences are four word cards long and start with an article 'A' or 'An'. When a student finds a suitable article card, they place the card next to the picture and then move on to find the next word in the sentence. This continues until the sentence is complete, e.g. 'A postman delivers mail'. If a student turns over another picture card, they can start a new sentence to describe that job, so a student maybe working on many sentences at the same time. If a student turns over a word card that cannot go next in one of their sentences, they turn the card back over in its original place and it's the next student's turn. The student with the most sentences at the end of the game wins.
 

Before they were famous

ESL Jobs Activity - Reading, Matching, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 20 minutes

In this intriguing occupations activity, students guess what jobs celebrities did before they were famous and check their answers by asking past simple yes/no questions with the verb to be. The students are divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. The students look at the celebrities on the worksheet and match them to jobs they think they did before they were famous by writing the corresponding number next to the job. Students then take it in turns to check their answers by asking their partner past simple yes/no questions with the verb to be, e.g. 'Was Hugh Jackman an aerobics instructor?' If the student asking the question gets the answer wrong, they keep asking questions until they get it right. The student with the most correct first-time guesses is the winner.
 

Likes and Dislikes at Work

ESL Professions Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this compelling professions activity, students express their likes and dislikes for different work activities and choose a job for a partner based on their preferences. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students think about the work activities in the questionnaire on the worksheet and number each one, according to how much they like or dislike doing the activity. The students write their answers in the column marked 'You'. When the students have finished, they are divided into pairs. The students then ask their partner the questions on the worksheet and complete the questionnaire with their answers. Next, students think of a job for their partner based on the work activities he or she likes doing. The students then take it in turns to tell the class about the job they chose for their partner and the reasons for their choice. After each student has presented, their partner says whether they agree with the choice or not and feedback is given.
 

The Right Person for the Job

ESL Jobs Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 35 minutes

In this insightful occupations activity, students ask and answer questions about their likes and dislikes for work-related activities and choose a job for a partner based on their preferences. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Students answer a set of 'Do you like...?' questions about work-related activities by completing the column marked 'You' on the worksheet. When the students have finished, they are divided into pairs. The students then ask their partner the questions from the worksheet to find out their likes and dislikes and note down the answers on the worksheet. Students must also ask for reasons why and write the explanations on the sheet. Afterwards, students look at their partner's answers and think of a job for them based on their preferences. Finally, the students report back to the class on the job they chose for their partner, explaining the reasons for their choice.
 

This job...

ESL Jobs Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this enjoyable occupations activity, students match jobs to statements. The students then discuss the statements in groups and collectively agree on one job for each statement. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, the students think of a job that describes each statement and write the job in the 'My Answers' column on the worksheet. When the students have finished, they are divided into groups of three or four. The students' task is to find a job they all agree on for each of the statements. Students discuss each statement in turn and give their answers. The students also give their opinions on other students' ideas and come up with a job they all agree on. Students write their agreed-upon job in the column marked 'Our Answers'. Afterwards, there is a class feedback session where groups explain their choices to the class.
 

What's my job?

ESL Jobs Game - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 35 minutes

In this entertaining professions activity, students play a game where they describe and guess jobs. The students are divided into groups of four. Each group is given a set of job cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. Each student takes a card. The students then have one minute to prepare five present simple clues about the job on the card. The students then take it in turns to give their clues. The other students listen and try to guess the job. The first student to correctly guess the job wins and keeps the card. If no one guesses correctly, the student with the card wins and keeps the card. The game continues until all the cards have been used. The student with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner. This game can also be played in two teams with students coming to the front of the class to give their clues. For lower-level students, you can have them mime the jobs for other students to guess.
 

Work Skills and Preferences

ESL Professions Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate - 40 minutes

Here is a rewarding professions activity to help students practice talking about work skills and preferences. The students are divided into pairs and each student is given a work skills and preferences questionnaire. The students take it in turns to interview their partner about work skills and preferences and write down their classmate's answers on the worksheet. Students then summarize their partner's skills and preferences and advise them on what type of job or career would be suitable for them based on their results. After that, each pair joins with another pair to make a group of four. In their groups, the students discuss the jobs available on a 'Jobs Board' and say which skills are needed for each job. When the students have finished, they look at their completed questionnaire and propose a job for their partner from the 'Jobs board' by completing a gap-fill with their partner's work skills and preferences. Finally, each student reports back to the class on the job they chose for their partner by reading the gap-fill. Their partner then says whether they agree or not with their classmate’s decision.
 
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