ESL Games: What Is My Occupation?

The Game: Games encourage authentic learning situations, develop enthusiasm, and allow students to envision mastering the content (Barab, Gresalif & Arici, 2009; Gee, 2005). This game, What Is My Occupation? helps students to learn a variety of skills from questioning and listening skills, to higher level thinking and problem solving skills. Along the way, students learn vocabulary while exploring the concept of occupations.

Materials NeededUntitled3

  • Sticky notes, note cards, or paper
  • Tape or pins (if needed)
  • Markers

How to Play:

  1. The teacher lists various occupations (one on each sticky note, note card, or paper).
  2. These are turned over.
  3. The students randomly select one of these and fasten to another student’s back without this student seeing what is written.
  4. The students walk around the room and ask “yes” or “no” questions about their own occupation (the one on their back), trying to guess what it is.
  5. They can only ask one question per person.
  6. At the conclusion of the game, the class discusses the variety of questions asked, the occupations, etc.

How to Make It

The teacher writes one occupation on each sticky note, note card, or paper (minimum one per student) to attach to the students’ backs.

Suggested occupations: bank teller, secretary, tailor, fitness instructor, accountant, librarian, stock broker, small business owner, journalist, movie director, author, mayor, salesman, grocery store clerk, flight attendant, pilot, stunt man/woman, jockey, model, construction worker, architect, museum director, dentist, physician, teacher, newspaper reporter, professional sports player (name the sport), ballerina, jazz artist.


  • Vary the level of difficulty of occupations based on age and ability of students.
  • Use this game as a review of a unit on occupations, etc.
  • Substitute the topic of the game for other concepts: famous people in history, authors, movie stars, title of books, diseases, etc. depending on the level and interest of the students, as well as recent study in the class.
  • Limit the number of questions the students are able to ask.
  • Allow students only so much time to ask questions about what is written on their backs, but not to guess what is written on their backs. Call students to sit down and the students go around the room stating what they think is written on their backs. Each student gets one chance of saying what it is and why they think so.



About Marc Anderson

Marc Anderson
Marc Anderson is the CEO of online English training company that teaches English online to students around the world. During his free time he likes to read, travel and enjoy life.
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