This icebreaker uses "fear" and empathy to help break the ice. This is interesting as we don't normally talk about what we fear. But sharing your fears with others in this situation can really help everyone feel closer to each other which is the point of an icebreaker.

This activity can really open people up, while at the same time keeping a level of anonymity in the classroom. It really works best with larger classes. If the class is small than there is less privacy and it's easier for the students to guess who wrote it.


  1. Hand out a small piece of paper to each student
  2. Have them write down something that they fear on the paper and fold it
  3. Collect the papers and put them into a bag
  4. Mix them up and pass the bag around the room and have each student take one piece out
  5. Pick one student and have them read the fear out loud
  6. Ask that student to imagine what it would feel like to have that fear
  7. Continue passing around the bag so that each student gets a turn

In this class I was using this more like an activity as the lesson was about "fear and phobias". So it can be used as an activity or as an icebreaker.

One of the students fears was sharks, which is pretty normal, but here's a little trivia:

  • For every human eaten by a shark, 20 million sharks are eaten by humans
  • In the last ten years there have been an average of less than five fatalities caused by sharks a year, worldwide

From "How it Works"

About the video

These adult students were parents of the classes that I normally taught in an elementary school in Changwon, Korea.

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#2 RebeccaWashington 2013-03-26 04:37
Very useful stuff. Thank you. The questions can change, but the structures lend themselves to speaking and listening.
#1 andrew 2013-03-14 18:40
hey thanks a lot for posting these icebreakers I'm also an english teacher and they're very useful..

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