Games in the Classroom Teaching students new concepts can be
Teaching students new concepts can be one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs one can have. One of the greatest challenges teachers face is that his/her students take an active role in his/her learning. In order for students to take an active role in the learning experience many factors need to fall into place. One important factor to learning is motivation. A teacher can help motivate students by making learning enjoyable and memorable. Using games in the classroom can promote enthusiasm for learning: students of all ages enjoy the competition and interaction that comes along with games. These two factors help to make teaching through games an enjoyable experience for all involved.
A teacher needs to make sure that games are chosen to fit the curriculum that is being taught. When this happens games can be very useful. Kim (1995) lists the many advantages of games when they are used appropriately in the classroom:
1.Games are a welcome break from the usual routine of the language class.
2.They are motivating and challenging.
3.Learning a language requires a great deal of effort. Games help students to make and sustain the effort of learning.
4.Games provide language practice in the various skills- speaking, writing, listening, and reading.
5.The encourage students to interact and communicate.
6.They create a meaningful context for language use.
Too often teachers see games as a warm up activity for a lesson or time fillers when there are a few extra minutes in the day; however, many professionals have argued that well planned games are not just time-filling activities but have great educational value as can be seen by the many advantages noted above. Uberman (1998) states, "' games should be treated as central not peripheral to the foreign language teaching programme." Games used at all phases of a lesson can give students a break from traditional lessons while allowing students to interact with one another in their new language as well as encourage cooperation.
Students will express many emotions while playing games with one another: amused, angered, surprised, or intrigued. Displaying these emotions and feeling these emotions means that the students are experiencing a meaningful experience, thus promoting retention. Through these games, students also aren't always aware they are learning, but simply think they are having fun. The pressure is taken off of them to perform perfectly in front of the teacher or a group, thus allowing them to be more relaxed and will take more risks when it comes to working with the language. This relaxed atmosphere will also give students more opportunity to express their ideas and opinions, thus practicing the language more.
Many common games can be changed into a learning game. One can take board games, television shows, computer games, card games, or word games and change them to fit the needs of the students in the classroom. If a teacher is not comfortable making games on his/her own, the internet is a wonderful resource for game ideas. Book stores also carry many books teaching grammar through games. I have also found that many course books incorporate games into the teacher's manual as they have now seen how successful games can be in the classroom.
Learning does not always have to be dry and monotonous. Students and teachers alike can benefit from making games a central part of the learning in the classroom. The learning experience is much more enjoyable, and therefore authentic to students. This authentic nature to teaching will in turn assist in student retention and enthusiasm for the language being learned.
Kim, Lee Su (January-March 1995). Creative games for the language class.Forum 33 (1), 35.
Uberman, Agnieszka (January-March 1998). The use of games for vocabularypresentation and revision. Forum 33 (1), 20. Wright, Andrew, Betteridge, D., & Buckby, M. (1984). Games for Language Learning, 2nd Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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