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A Great Way to Start Off Your Classes: The Liar Game

April is just around the corner and you know what that means…back to teaching! You probably already have your “Ready to Go” self-introduction lesson that works every time, but here’s a way to spice it up, which will keep it interesting for you and make it much more memorable for the students. It’s called The Liar Game.


For many self-introductions, the students ask a variety of questions and the teacher answers, giving a lot of information about himself/herself. In The Liar Game, some of those answers should be FALSE. Students certainly won’t expect their teacher to lie to them, especially on the first day, but some very good teaching points arise from this situation.


Some of the lies could be great exaggerations, e.g. “How many children do you have?” “Oh, I have seven children” when in fact, you only have two kids. Other lies can be slight, e.g. “How old are you?” “I’m 35 years old” when in fact you are 38. I would suggest telling only a few lies, while the rest of the information remains true.


The teacher should write the answers on the board and the students should also take notes. After the question and answer time has finished, the teacher should confess that he or she, is in fact, a liar. But not a liar all the time, just sometimes. The teacher should then tell the students the number of items that are false. Then, in pairs or small groups, students should discuss and try to guess which bits of information are not true.


Now, the teacher can call on students and ask, “What do you think was not true?” You may want to write a few useful sentence patterns on the board:

“I think you don’t…”

“I think you aren’t…”

“I think you haven’t…”


Now the students will know that you have only two children and that you are slightly older than you appear. This type of lesson seems to leave a lasting impression on students. So, rather than just sharing information about yourself, you’ve given the students something surprising and humorous, which will make it more memorable.


Happy teaching!



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By the way, if you are teaching at a university and would like to download the Getting to Know You unit, which works really well with The Liar Game, please click on the link to our homepage and select Sample Unit 1. There are full-color PDFs, Communication Crosswords, online audio, and much more to accompany the lesson.


Below is an excerpt from the teachers’ section of The English Gym, page 16, 17 with detailed notes on using The Liar Game specifically with Unit 1 Getting to Know You from The English Gym:

 Liar Game”

(Variation for the Interview)

In the first lesson, the students will want to find out things about their teacher, so why not use the interview questions and have the students ask you? After the students have completed the first page of the unit, have them work in pairs and write two questions that they would like to ask the teacher. These can be written in the My Questions section.

Have the students ask you the ten original interview questions plus as many original questions as you like. Usually, I stop at around 15 total questions. As you answer the questions, you should write brief notes of your answers on the board. The students should also copy down these notes. There is some space below each question on the 1st page of the unit to do so.

As you are answering the questions, give three answers that are NOT TRUE. Of course, keep a straight face while doing this, and don’t tell the students that you are lying!

You may want to ask the students the same question that they asked you. This makes the activity more conversational. You can also make comments, have reactions, and ask follow-up questions. This will serve as a good model for the students when they interview each other later.

After the interview is finished, you should apologize and  confess to your students that you are, in fact, a liar. Make sure all the students understand the meaning of “liar”. In Japanese, a liar is called “usotsuki”. Usually you’ll get a very, big reaction from the class.

Now, you should tell the students that you are not always a liar, just sometimes. To be exact, you have lied three times. Have the students work in pairs to discuss and then decide which three answers are not true. Have them write three “X’s” next to their guesses.

Now, ask your students, “What do you think was not true?” or “What do you think was a lie?”  You might want to write a few sentence patterns on the board that may be of use to the students:

I think you are a liar!”        I think you don’t…”           “I think you aren’t…”

I think there aren’t…”        “I think you haven’t…”

Continue until all the lies are revealed!





Looking for a great textbook for low to intermediate, non-English majors in Japan?

Check out The English Gym, by Jon Charles.

More information can be found at:

ETJ (English Teachers Japan) Website, The English Gym

  • Four Skills, Focus on Speaking
  • Designed for Japanese Students
  • Excellent Support Website
  • Oral, Paper and Online Testing
  • Highly Motivating Activities

Teachers can also register and view the textbook online.

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