Games in the classroom One useful approach to encourage


One useful approach to encourage language acquisition when teaching English is using language games. When using games in the classroom, teachers should have a total understanding of the definitions of games, which usually are defined as a form of play with rules, a goal and an element of fun. (The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 9, September 2002) This article aims to give a clear understanding of the benefits of using games in the classroom, how to choose games and when to use them, and finally, examples of types of games.

Benefits of Games in the Classroom

There are many advantages of using games in the classroom:

1.Games are a break from the normal routine of the language class.

2.They are motivating and challenging.

3.Learning a language is hard work. Games help students to make and maintain the effort of learning.

4.Games provide language practice in the four skills ' speaking, writing, listening and reading.

5.They encourage students to interact and communicate.

6.They help the teacher to create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful.

7.Games build class cohesion.

8.Games promote whole class participation and cooperation. 9.They can give shy students more opportunity to express their opinions and feelings.

10. Games can help lower students' stress in the classroom, make them feel comfortable, and want to learn more. It is believed that when students play games, they relax and have fun. (Su Kim, 1995).

How to Choose Games

'Teachers should consider the following factors while planning the use of a game: classroom space; noise; materials necessary for the game; the amount of time needed for the game; and the students' language level, culture, interests, and age'. (Lengeling, 1997). Different age groups require various topics, materials, and styles of games. For example, younger learners benefit most from games which require movement and imitation. Furthermore, teachers should choose the game that fits the purposes of that class or the content. (Lengeling, 1997).

When to Use Games

Games are often used as short warm-up activities or when there is some time left at the end of a lesson. Games are also useful for revision exercises helping learners recall material in a pleasant, entertaining way. Teachers can also use games to focus on the use of language rather than on the language itself. Games should be regarded as an integral part of the curriculum and not just an amusing diversion on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon.

Games to Play in the Classroom

1. Last One Standing

Give the class a topic (e.g. food, clothes, animals, items in a kitchen) and ask them to stand up, in a circle if possible. Clap out a beat and say, one, two, three, followed by a topic-related word. After the next three beats, the next student in the circle gives a word related to the topic, and so it continues. Anyone who can´t think of a word or repeats a word already said has to sit down and it´s the next person´s turn. The winner is the last one standing.

2. Board Games

Board games, such as clue, scrabble, monopoly, etc. which involve reading, spelling, and cooperative skills, motivate students and encourage learning. Given their popularity, board games should work well in the classroom, however teachers need to adapt them to students' age and language level.

3. Tongue Twisters

Students can hold a tongue-twisting contest. Challenge each student to record and submit a tongue twister. The point of the contest is to read the tongue twister correctly in as short a time as possible. If they make it through the tongue twister without making a mistake, they qualify for round two. As the field narrows, a timer may be used to help determine the winner.

To conclude, it can be seen that games are very useful and can be used to develop students´ language learning and also provide the students an opportunity to practice communication. Teachers are encouraged to find games which are suitable for his/her students. The key to a successful language game is that the rules are clear, the ultimate goal is well defined and the game must be fun.

References

Deesri, Angkana. 'Games in the ESL and EFL Class'. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 9, September 2002.

Ersoz, Aydan. 'Six Games for the EFL/ESL Classroom'. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VI, No. 6, June 2000.

Lengeling, Martha M. 'Index Cards: A Natural Resource for Teachers'. 'Forum' Vol. 35 No 4, October - December 1997.

Su Kim, Lee. 'Creative Games for the Language Class'. 'Forum' Vol. 33 No 1, January - March 1995.