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Games in the classroom. Games are an integral part of the
Games are an integral part of the learning process. So what is the definition of 'games'' Games are rule-based, and have variable, quantifiable outcomes. Different potential outcomes of a game are assigned different values, some positive and some negative. The player is emotionally attached to the outcome of the game in the sense that the player will be a winner and 'happy' in case of positive outcome, but a loser and 'unhappy' in case of the negative outcome. 'Play' is a free form activity that is often not rule based . Often there are some rules and fixed goals, and time frame, but mostly marked by fluidity of rules and goals.
So games are distinguished from play by:
- Play is a free ' form activity
- Games are rule based, the rules structure the activity and make it possible to repeat it.
To prepare a teaching strategy we have to know the age , number , language level and the goals which the students want to achieve .
The early childhood stage:
'Play and games' is the most effective form of teaching at the early childhood stage. Children don't see the reason for learning a second language so the teacher has to turn the learning process in to something 'fun' and enjoyable. The teacher has to make use of the natural ability of the child's brain. The children learn by copying than remembering. Children remember visual effects (pictures ) better than the words ,therefore all the games should have a visual help and picture materials. There is also a need for lots of switches and changes with in the game to keep it amusing. Other examples of the games and plays activities are: - Gymnastic and movement games with English commands
- Use of music (songs, rhymes) in English
- Card games
- Role ' plays based on every day situations (in the shop or school)
Children age 12 ' 15 years old
The characteristics of this age are;
- independent thinking and working - students are more able to co-work with others
The games played at that stage should reach a high level of organization to make the children use there own ideas and an initiative. The games should be orientated on the correct use and the structure of the English language. They should be able practice new words and phrases.
- Theme games ( role-play based on scenario )
- Listening and singing popular music songs.
Young people age 16 ' 22
People at this age are more mature, and intellectually developed. The dominant activity in their life is learning at school/ university so teachers must take advantage of this . Crosswords are the great way of learning at this stage.
An older adult has a very different relation with the games or play activities . They have to convert from real everyday life to the fictional world of games and plays. A child can do it naturally but for an adult it can be difficult. Therefore all kinds of - Strategic games (chess)
- Hazard games (poker, roulette) -role-play (an adult can put on the 'mask')
- Any kinds of crosswords are appropriate for this age.
Use of games and play time is beneficial for students and a teacher because
- Fixed goals and rules
- Specific climates, beneficial for the student - Creativity
- Stimulating, motivating and challenging effects
- They are student centered
- encourage students to interact and communicate
Traditional teaching strategies which view the learner as a means of manipulation rather then an active individual have recently been criticized by psychologist and pedagogies for concentrating too much on the learners' cognitive domain and negligence of the affective one. Recent communicative approach to foreign language teaching / learning process emphasizes the crucial role of individual needs and preferences as to the learning styles. There is need for utilizing materials and activities that originate from the play. The play can be treated as an effective strategy and make the learning process more attractive.
References: Teresa Siek ' Piskozub 'Gry I zabawy I symulacje w procesie glottodydaktycznym'