Teach English in HuAping Zhen - Enshi Tujiazu Miaozu Zizhizhou

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There are many interesting ways in which an instructor can use games to demonstrate and teach various areas of the English language. This is so even when teaching business English learners where the materials covered can be more specific, complicated or uninteresting. For example, games could be used to teach those in the finance, law, engineering, or hospitality industry. Games such as Monopoly, Life, Trivial Pursuit, Charades, crossword puzzles, tic-tac-toe, or Scrabble can all be modified to focus on a specific area of learning or to interject energy into classroom. Games have some characteristics that make them attractive to teachers and learners alike such as: (i) entertainment, (ii) alternative thinking, and (iii) group participation. In this brief essay we will cover each of these characteristics and give examples of how games could be used in certain circumstances. Entertainment. As many of us are aware, grammar can be, at times, a dry subject to teach. Using a game like charades can be a great way to teach parts of speech. What is a verb? An action that can be demonstrate through the use of movement. Saying “flying” is a verb is one thing but having someone flap their arms around wildly to demonstrate flying is a great way to connect and help learners remember. Similarly, associating the word “hand” to a noun can be difficult when presented in a textbook or on a flashcard, but where the learner also associates with an energetic game of Charades where a co-leaner was theatrically pointing at his or her hand can really help to cement the idea in the learners mind. Alternative Thinking. Games are a great way to get learners to look at topics in different ways. Adult business learners who are in the area of finance could play a game like Monopoly, for example, to help them consider ideas of risk and reward in a new context (but within a paradigm that is similar to what the learners would be comfortable with). This can be done all while helping the business English learner explore new finance words in English. Group Participation. Many learners learn best when working in a team or towards a common goal with others. Keeping teams positive and supportive is important and it is something that instructors should be aware of and keep an eye on. However, when team members help each other it can attach an emotional element to learning that is not available when reading a textbook alone. For example, playing group trivia games is a great way to cover a wide amount of information in collaborative setting. As mentioned above there are some drawbacks to games that an instructor needs to be careful with. First, as mentioned above, games are meant to be fun and if a team were to become negative with each other the whole learning experience can be ruined. Second, the instructor needs to be sure that games are not dominated by certain team members to the detriment of others. Finally, the energy that games can lead to a loss of focus and control. It is important that games are focused and do not lead to tangents (by learners or instructors). When done properly, the use of games can be an entertaining form of learning, force learners to approach problems in new ways, and inspire quality group work. These advantages must be considered and balanced with the potential negatives. Taking the time to properly use games when teaching can produce a high learning environment that is enjoyable for all involved.