In the teaching of English as a Second Language (ESL), games are very important, with adults and especially with children. Let?s face it, no matter how much one wants to learn another language sometimes class discussions about verb tenses and vocabulary can be monotonous, slow, and boring. Games make learning fun and can be used to add a little spice to class. Many people are motivated by competition so games can stimulate this enthusiasm and help to stimulate participation. Games can be used to aid in: learning vocabulary, verb usage, vocabulary review, pronunciation practice, phrase building, confidence building, and encouraging students to think and respond in English.
Games are great ways to begin or end a class. Openers for classes are used to introduce new topics, or to review old ones but the main idea is to give the students a little kick-start to class. Games are great openings for classes because they encourage, excite, teach, and review, in a more inviting way. Games also serve as great follow ups to lessons and closers to class, because you can use them to test for feedback, and also reinforce what the students have learned in class.
Kids think differently than adults and appreciate a more playful approach to class and life in general. Kids are easily bored and like to be entertained. Kieren McSweeney a specialized teacher of TEFL for kids suggests observing kids (from a distance) to find out how they tick and what kind of games they play and create on their own. Kids respond more quickly to games they know or feel familiar with (have similar structures, to games they already know) (McSweeney, 1). Another good idea is to base a lesson around a common game that you have modified for the class. For example Jeopardy can be modified by making categories like English: vocabulary, verb usage, complete the sentence, greetings, things you would say in a restaurant, etc. The ?Letter? or ?ABC game? can be played to help build, practice, and review vocabulary. The ?Letter or ?ABC game,? is played by passing around a bean bag, whomever is in possession of the bean bag has to say a word in English corresponding to the letter the previous player called, (or the class can just go straight thru the alphabet) (Games & Activities for ESL/EFL). Teachers can always convert a popular board, or card game on their own and make it something useful and fun to do in class (McSweeney, 1). Word searches and crosswords are also productive games for recognition of meaning and spelling making them great vocabulary exercises. Everybody loves a good game. Games can teach many things, as well as behaviours like sportsmanship, team work, patience, and acceptance. Games are teaching tools that entertain, and they can educate without the children even knowing they are learning. Games are fun but it is important to play fair and always make sure the kids are playing with one another in a respectful manner, or a good game can turn sour and be a bad experience for everyone. Kieren McSweeney - Kisi?s ESL Galaxy, Kids are Fun to Teach (1)
Games and Activities for the ESL/EFL Classroom, http://iteslj.org/c/gamesl
Author: Maegon Williams
Date of post: 2007-04-17