TEFL Games in the classroom

Learning another language is a difficult process. The use of games in the classroom can make the process enjoyable and less difficult. Games motivate students to participate in classroom activities. Playing games is good practice of using the English language and should be done every so often. Students get a chance to relax from studying and figure out cooperatively how to win the game. They do not think that they are learning from the game but they are. At the same time the students are being challenged mentally. ?Games can lower anxiety, thus making the acquisition of input more likely?(Richard Amato 1988:147). Shy students who do not participate on a regular basis have the opportunity and usually capitalize on it when playing games. When learning English can become quite overwhelming, a good breather can be a game. It is a good idea to have a game introduce a new lesson as an icebreaker. Playing the game would divert much attention to how hard a new lesson can be and the students will receive a general knowledge of the lesson as well. It allows students to interact with each other for a common goal and brings diversity into the classroom. Many teachers use games to fill in gaps where there is extra time or solely for the students? pleasure. They do not realize that these games are actually benefiting the students. Students have a chance to practice their language competency without the pressure they would normally feel from the teacher or other students. Younger learners especially will not be motivated to learn English the traditional way. Games will be necessary for that reason to influence participation. The teacher should ensure that the game is not too competitive and it is a friendly competition. All the students should be participating equally and should be specific for what is being taught. As students are playing the game they get to practice using English creatively and spontaneously without even knowing it. This is healthy for their vocabulary and fluency. (

There are many enjoyable games that EFL teachers can use in the classroom. A couple of good ones for introducing new vocabulary are word searches and hangman. Before giving the students new vocabulary words to study at home, these games can be played in the classroom to get the students excited about learning these vocabulary words. (Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen and Khuat Thi Thu Nga ´Asian EFL Journal´ - December 2003) Another interesting games which gets all the students in a class involved in pass the ball. I remember when I was little, I played this games in many classrooms on the first day of school as an ice breaker. First, all the students would sit in a circle so everyone can see each other. Then, the teacher would start off and introduce herself to the classroom. Then, she would pass the ball to a student, who then would introduce himself/herself to the class. They would say their full name, how many brothers or sisters they have, where they?re from, and their hobbies (something in that manner). EFL teachers can also play this game the first day of class. Later on in the course, this game can be played to practice the English language. The student with the ball first asks a question. Then they pass the ball to another student who will respond to the their question. Then just keep asking questions and passing the ball to another student who will answer that question. This activity forces all the students to participate, practice the English language and have fun at the same time. Another couple of interesting and fun games for students is charades and pictionary. The students form groups of 5 or 6, depending on the size of the classroom. The group size shouldn?t be too large; otherwise not everyone might be able to participate. The teacher should make sure that every student is involved by making each student go up in order and participate in drawing or acting out the word that needs to be guessed. When each student gets involved, they really feel as if they are a part of the group and are learning a lot from this activity without even knowing it. EFL games are a vital part in the classroom and need to be played every so often to keep the students? interest and to motivate them. It not only makes it enjoyable for the students, but they also learn a great deal from them. (

Author: Rafiq and Karim Habi

Date of post: 2007-04-11