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Teach English in ArihAshAte Zhen - Hulunbei'er Shi — Hulunbuir
Games are a great way for teachers to motivate, involve and interact with students. Five of the best English language games to play are “Board Race,” “Call My Bluff,” “Simon Says,” “Word Jumble Race,” and “Hangman.” Games and fun activities are essential for teaching English as a foreign language. We can use games for adults and children alike to liven up the lesson, keeping students focused and attentive during the activity. It is also an excellent ice breaker and a way to build rapport between teacher and student or student rapport with each other. There are several ways to use games. When used before your lesson begins it can serve as a warm-up to get the class settled in and ready. If a lesson is difficult for students, then playing a game will allow them a break. One may also use a game at the end of a lesson as a fun reward or when there is extra class time left to kill. Having a good list of games to use under a teacher’s belt can help the teacher feel ready before stepping into a classroom. These games can help make sure that a lesson runs smoothly and if a classroom gets a little out of control, you will be able to easily get back the class’s attention. Board Race is a game most EFL teachers know. This game tests students vocabulary and helps strengthen it. It can also be used to test grammar rules needed to form words. One may use words from a lesson that was just taught or words from a past lesson. It can also be used to see what words students know about a topic you are about to teach. It is best to play with 6 or more students. This game is great for all age groups. The class is split into two teams and each team is given a colored marker. If the class is very large, then the students can be split into 3 or 4 teams. Each student must go to the board and write a word that relates to the topic chosen by the teacher. The words must be spelled correctly, be readable, used in its’ correct grammatical form and relate to the topic to count as a point. After a student is finished with a word they hand off the marker to the next student in the form of a relay race. The team with the most words win. Call My Bluff is an excellent ice breaker game to get to know your students. It is also great for practicing speaking skills. It can be used in all levels and ages but works best with older students. The teacher writes three statements about themself on the board, one true and two that are lies. Students each ask the teacher questions about each statement and then guess which is true. They win if they guess correctly. Students can also be paired up and make 3 statements about themselves and ask questions to each other. Afterwards, the class comes together and take turns telling the class what new facts they learned about each other. The other version of Call My Bluff is great for learning vocabulary words and word analysis skills used to understand the origin and background languages that English came from. The class is divided into two teams and each team is given a list of words they are not familiar with. They write down two incorrect definitions and one correct definition for each word. Each team takes turns writing each word on the board and reading the definitions. After a set amount of time the opposing team must choose the definition they think is true. They get a point if they are correct. Simon Says is great for young students. Children love playing this game and usually are too excited to end the game. It is great for listening comprehension and building vocabulary. The teacher is Simon and stands in front of the class. Simon then does an action and says, “Simon Says [action].” The students must copy what you do. This process is repeated for different actions and the sillier you are the more fun it is for children. Next, do an action and say the action word but don’t say “Simon Says.” The students who copy the action must sit down because they must hear you say “Simon Says” before each action. The last student standing is the winner. If the children are well behaved, reward the winner by bringing them to the front of the class to play the part of Simon. To make the game more challenging speed up the actions. Word Jumble Race is a game that encourages team work and brings a healthy sense of competition to the class. Good competition helps motivate students and bring excitement to tasks. This game is good for all age groups. Students learn grammar, word order, spelling and writing skills. The teacher writes out around 3-5 sentences for each team. The class is split into 2 or more teams as long as there are enough sentences to go around. Then cut the sentences up so you have a mix of words in a pile. Keep each pile separate for each sentence. The students must put the words in the correct order. The first team to have all the sentences in the correct order wins. Hangman is a classic game loved by all students but can get boring quickly, therefore it is best to use it for only 5 minutes before a lesson as a warm-up or 5 minutes at the end of class if there is extra time. This game is good for younger students in any class size. The teacher thinks of a vocabulary word and writes as many dashes as there are in the word on the board. The students are asked to guess a letter that the word contains. The teacher then fills in the dashes with the letter if it is correct but if it is incorrect, then the letter is written on the side and one part of the hangman image is drawn on the board. If the image of a hanging man is complete then the teacher wins and the game is over. The students can either keep guessing the letters that belong in the word or guess what the word is. The first student to guess the word correctly gets a point. Playing games is a great tool to use alongside a structured foundation of grammar and vocabulary. Research studies show that you can learn and master the language faster and have better overall comprehension when using games. Homework, class assignments, quizzes and tests are stressful and can cause anxiety or pressure to perform but students don’t have the pressure or fear of making mistakes when they play games. This gives them the freedom to practice the language. For these reasons games can also alleviate stress and encourage social involvement that stimulate the mind and help consolidate, remember and recall information. References: Dixon, G. (no date). Call My Bluff. Retrieved from https://busyteacher.org/20650-call-my-bluff-esl-adaptation-5-steps.html Heather (2018, March 2). Top 10 Classroom games. Retrieved from https://www.quizalize.com/blog/2018/03/02/classroom-games/ Hedges JH, Adolph KE, Amso D, et al. Play, attention, and learning: how do play and timing shape the development of attention and influence classroom learning?. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013;1292(1):1–20. doi:10.1111/nyas.12154 Lander, E. (2018, May 25). 10 Best ESL games for English teachers abroad. Retrieved from https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/10-best-games-esl-teachers Guest writer (2018, March 14). 10 Classroom games every English teacher should know. Retrieved from https://www.opportunity-china.com/blog/10-classroom-games-esl/