The Importance of Games in a Classroom Play. Much can be learned in play that
Play. Much can be learned in play that will afterwards be of use when the circumstances demand it.
A tree must also transpire, and needs to be copiously refreshed by wind, rain, and frost; otherwise it easily falls into bad condition, and becomes barren. In the same way the human body needs movement, excitement, and exercise, and in daily life these must be supplied, either artificially or naturally. (1)
The first thing that most people think about when they say the word game is fun. Since we were adolescent a game is what we did to entertain ourselves, compete with our friends and enjoy free time. So why not put it into the sometimes dreaded location of a school or even worse an English class' The classroom is one of the best scenarios to have games. The game gives a chance to relax the learning environment and allow for all students to produce the language with their peers and not through guidance of a teacher. The use of a game to emphasize a lesson point and or verify students learning success' are great ways to create learning and fluency in an English classroom to change and create our favorite leisure activity, fun.
Teachers, researchers and psychologists alike have analyzed the use of games in classrooms in order to find successful techniques to retain information. In a research paper by Yin Yong Mei and Jang Yu-jing they discuss the use of games for children in an English classroom. Here they discuss the use of it as a means to addressing target language.
Games add variation to a lesson and increase motivation by providing a plausible incentive to use the target language. The game context makes the foreign language immediately useful to the children. It brings the target language to life. Through playing games, students can learn English the way children learn their mother tongue without being aware they are studying; thus without stress, they can learn a lot. (2)
This holds true for more than just children, even adults need this comfort and in some ways may require more, as age in some cases they tend to put up more barriers than some adolescents. Games appropriate for student profiles, give students of all ages an immediate usage for any of the previously studied material. They have to apply what they have learned understand it and play a game. As a teacher your position is to merely help and direct if needed. It also allows the teacher to create contexts in which the situations are useful and meaningful, allows the learner to better understand the material relax and learn from their peers (3).
If there is one thing that a game does is puts a smile on a students face. If it does not then there may be essential that you find a new game. Games are highly motivating because they are amusing and interesting. They can be used to give practice in all language skills and be used to practice many types of communication (4). It is difficult to imagine not being motivated when you are amused and interested. A lack of motivation or inspiration would be expected if one were annoyed or indifferent. However I would unlikely suspect any lack of motivation when one was interested in what was happening around them. Perhaps there are times when the use of a game would not assist the learning material when the students would rather learn in a more formal approach. However putting that smile on their face at some point of a lesson with a game is getting them to be excited and get up an move a bit in the class. That has to be a pretty effective way to drill in what was covered in the lesson. Think about personal experiences in school, which classes stood out to you the most'
(1) Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen and Khuat Thi Thu Nga, 'Learning Vocabulary Through Games' ´Asian EFL Journal', December 2003 translated and used on page http://www.teflgames.com/why.html
(2) Andrew Wright, David Betteridge and Michael Buckby. Games for Language Learning. Cambridge University Press, 1984.