Teach English in Dalun Zhen - Taizhou Shi

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I have started asking myself the question, why are games so important and why do we use them to teach English? I must admit, the thought never crossed my mind until my journey into esl teaching started.Let us look at four classroom scenarios and then we can discuss it. Our first two scenarios looks at the atmosphere and the environment of the classroom.Imagine a monotonous class where everything is about listening to the teacher conduct a lesson. This teacher doesn’t believe in games. This teacher believes the best approach would be to be a dictator in class. As opposed to a class where the teacher believes games needs to be played. This teacher believes that student interaction through games is effective. And where varying the games is an important factor. We can clearly see two opposite approaches to teaching a class. To break it down, which teacher would have a better learning atmosphere for the students. Games have a wonderful tendency to make learning fun, interesting and we are creating a wonderful stimulating environment to the children to learn. Playing games from this illustration one can clearly see the factors of atmosphere, environment having a positive learning experience for the student. Teacher A , that class will be so boring and the students will lose interest very quickly. If this was a training school, where students aren’t forced to be in class. How effective would this teacher be. Now let’s look at the other scenarios. Teacher A, plays a game of pictionary with her 3 year olds and she plays this game with her 12 year olds. She decided she can play all games for all students regardless of age and level in the language. Teacher B, plays an easy Simon says with the 3 year olds and Pictionary with the older students. She decided to play games based on the level of the students understanding and by the age of the pupil. We can see both teachers are playing games but have taken 2 different approaches to applying them in class, but Teacher A is making a massive error in judgement. Yes, both are stimulating learning in a fun way but teacher A is not considering the age or level of the student. Games needs to be catered to the level /development of the student based on age and what they know. If you play a game where the level is to high, the students will become frustrated and lose interest and on the opposite side of the coin, if it is to easy the students will become bored and lose interest. Playing a game of Simon says to older students would lead to those students becoming bored and 3 year olds to speak or act out vocabulary that they simply don’t know, could lead to them losing interest. So games needs to be based on the age of the student and the level of the student. We have established that playing games is important to create a fun learning environment and we have covered briefly the importance of to plan games based on age and level of the student. Another important issue that needs to be addressed is the time limit for the games.Younger learners lose attention very quickly, so the games we play must be shorter and more fast paced compared to older students. With older students the dynamic changes with the use of games. We use games with older students to break the seriousness of the students. And to help with communication. Ultimately we use games for communication such as , Trivial pursuit, Monopoly and hangman. Just to mention a few. One could also use games such as hangman to introduce new vocabulary in a warmer activity. Lastly where many mistakes and errors takes place is when to plan the games . It is important to base the games on the teaching point. Some teachers make mistakes because they first think of games and then add the teaching point to it. It should be done the other way round.