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Teach English in Mengxi Zhen - E'erduosi Shi — Ordos
Throughout the lessons, I noticed a strong theme of games in the classroom. They appeared in every example and nearly every unit. This stood out to me and I looked further into the role that games play in the classroom. Games impact and help the students in many ways. They are engaging, help build rapport with their peers and the teacher, they allow the students to study and practice material and they create a positive learning environment which makes the students want to keep coming to class and learn English. Games can be used at any age group and any English level. Games should not be an add on but rather a purposeful central part of each lesson plan. Games are engaging by nature. They can be changed and molded to fit any group size, classroom dynamic or topic. Games can be a warmer, a speaking exercise, a writing or listening exercise or just a way to get them interacting and using English in different ways. They are a very helpful tool in getting the class engaged in talking in English. (Troubleshooting, p.3) Games get the students using the course material and things they have been studying without it feeling like schoolwork. When they are having fun and actively using the content they are more likely to remember the material later on. (Teaching Productive Skills, p. 10-11) Rapport is a key component to a well run and fun classroom. The students need rapport with their peers and their teacher. When the class participates in games together they bond and develop connections. Good rapport between the teacher and students not only helps the teacher run the classroom but it also makes the environment safe for learning, making mistakes and having fun. The teacher should participate in many of the games not only for direction or rapport purposes but also to gauge where each student is in their learning and how they can improve. (Troubleshooting, p.2) Games might not seem like they fit in the topic of studying but they do. They can first act as a tool for the teacher to know where his or her students are in their English journey but they can actually help drill the students in certain material. Competitions are great ways to practice material like vocabulary. Games like Hangman, Word Search, Gap Fill, and Tonguage twisters are great study games. (Theories, Methods, and Techniques, p.17-18) Games are able to take the lesson material and put it into real-life uses for the students. The activate phase of ESA lesson plans is all about games and activities to get the students using and practicing the course material. This is the stage where the students really soak in the material. Sitting and listening to the teacher is important for certain parts of learning but it is when the students are talking, playing and using the course material that they actually learn it. Games are a central part of that process. Games are also a great tool for drawing in reluctant or shy students and get them actively participating in learning in a safe and fun way. (Troubleshooting, p.5) Lastly and probably the most important is the environment in which the students are learning. If the classroom environment is dry, boring, quiet and stagnant the students are not going to learn as well and are not going to be interested or motivated to learn. The teacher is responsible for setting the tone of the classroom and this comes from rapport and energy. Games are a great tool in making a fun, engaging and safe atmosphere for learning. If the students enjoy and have fun in class they will want to come back and participate each time. They will be highly motivated to learn because it is fun. In conclusion, games are a central and important part of the classroom. They would be a key part of each lesson plan. The games should not be pointless however, they should be centered around the course material and incorporate recent material into the game. This will help the students enjoy the games but also encourage participation and learning during the lesson part of class. The game should draw on their knowledge and push them to use it in new ways.