Teach English in LouzhuAng Zhen - Taizhou Shi

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Asking this question would be the equivalent to starting a World war. There are teachers who find games tedious, time consuming and juvenile. The other side of the coin are teachers who believe that games are an integral and warranted part of teaching. Even animals in nature use games to teach their young. Numerous articles* have been published stating how demonstrating and playing are used by animals to teach their offspring how to survive. The art of playing usually starts at home with a child’s parents. Building blocks, puzzles, drawing, colouring and ball play are just a few activities in a vast spectrum of games. There are countless articles, thesis, blogs and websites** championing the positive attributes playing games have on children and yes, video games are included as well. Some studies state that it is never too early to start playing games with your child. The first eight years are considered to be the most crucial of a child’s development. It’s here where parents and pre-schools play vital roles. Depending on what aspect of the child’s development needs to be addressed, there are numerous games to choose from. A single game can target multiple child development areas. From Cognitive skills, Gross and Fine Motor skills, Social and Emotional skills to Speaking, Listening and Language skills. Playing ball games for example Soccer, involves most, if not all of these areas. In truth, playing is not only essential to children’s development, it is good for any person. Be it adults, teens, children or babies. When teaching and learning are involved, games is a warranted tool. As a teacher it would benefit not only your students, but yourself by incorporating games and interactive activities throughout your lesson. It elevates boredom, improves concentration and energy levels, promotes physical health, social skills and acts as a safe environment for expressing themselves. In addition it challenges you as a teacher to be inventive and create your own games, better tailored to your students. After all, no classroom of students is alike. Throw in different cultures, backgrounds, traditions and values, you can be assured that certain games would just not do. Add in learning difficulties such as dyslexia and the various forms of the disability; you have to be able to find a game suitable. Being inventive helps in such cases. I am acquainted with a family whose son was diagnosed with dyslexia that affects his reading. #James’s brain switched the b’s and d’s around, as well as preventing him from successfully seeing n’s, m’s and o’s. By using games, demonstrating, interactive activities and reading to him and him remembering, #James was able to complete his traditional schooling to a level that enabled him to transfer to a trade school. He has successfully completed the trade school program and graduated at the top of his class at the trade school. In his opinion, without the effort of the teacher using games, demonstrations and interactive activities to teach him, he doesn’t think he would have ever finished school. Living in a third world country means that teachers have very little at their disposal and yet were inventive enough to find a way to teach what was required and needed. The ability to know how and when to use games in your lessons, would be greatly enhanced if you stepped into the footsteps of your students. ***Alexis Wiggins wrote a piece posted on her father’s blog, that reporter Valerie Strauss from the Washington Post used in an article. She shadowed two students for a day each. Alexis gives the class schedules for the two days, key takeaways and the changes she will make. What struck an accord was the first key takeaway and how she would go about to change it. In essence students sit all day in class and are exhausted due to a lack of movement and interaction. Passivity affects energy levels, concentration, mood levels, motivation and so much more. Teachers move around more than students. Alexis states what she would change specifically*** to combat the negative effects: would be stretching halfway through class, encourage kids to play in the first and final minutes of class and include activities requiring movement. Motor skill-based activity that is appropriate for the students in question, would do. It would not only improve most skills, but also allow the students to unload stress in a fun way. If possible, taken class location (classroom near an exit), end time of a period (period just before break) and class size; a teacher could have the activity outside if weather permitted. These days most children are spending more time inside playing video games. Arguments for and against video games have been made. Just like any other games, tools and resources it comes down to HOW it is being used. In my opinion there’s no benefit from a game such as ‘Mortal Combat’, where as something like ‘Rome – Total War’ end up teaching the player history (regardless if the player wanted to learn or not) in order to advance in the game. ****Games can also teach about strategy, managing resources, building and training armies, growing food and products produced, just to name a few. Video games can improve all the same mental skills just as well as traditional games can. As for physically skills, this does not completely ring true. Nintendo has been trying with Wii video games such as tennis, dancing, dodge ball and etc., to encourage movement and physical skills in a safe environment. There are a lot of case studies showing video game players making more accurate decisions faster and develop heighted sensitivity to their surroundings. This assists with multitasking, driving, tracking people in a crowd and navigating. Even some militaries in the world use*****’modified retail first player games for teaching decision-making and military thinking’. However, using games for military purpose is nothing new, as Chess is one example of a game being used in this manner since its conception. Video games are even being used to teach about the ******Cosmos. As with everything in life and nature, there has to be a balance in order to work as optimal as possible. This is where distinguishing between a good teacher and a great teacher is made. The balance between how much and how well playing in the class room as a tool is used to the benefit of the student. The core fundamental, in my opinion, is that playing games is as innate to learning and teaching as it is to a person breathing. It’s a BIG part of Life. *Do Animals teach? By Virginia Morell - 28 September 2015 – National Wildlife Federation. *Animals teach their offspring like human moms by Maneka Gandhi - 05 August 2009 – The Bihar Times. *Games Animals Play by Lee Alan Dugatkin & Sarina Rodrigues – 01 March 2008 – Greater Good Magazine. **The Importance of Physical Play in Child Development by Kimberly Wonderly – 13 June 2017 – hello MOTHERHOOD **Early Childhood Development: Physical Activity in Early Childhood by Harsh Mahasseth – 04 April 2017 – Novak Djokovic Foundation **The Power of Play – How fun and Games Help Children Thrive – 25 November 2019 – Healthy Children.org ***Teacher spends two days as a student and is shocked at what she learns by Valerie Strauss – 24 October 2014 – The Washington post. ****Video Games as an Educational Tool by Don Stacy –webstu.onu.edu ***** Virtual realities: The use of violent video games in U.S. military recruitment and treatment of mental disability caused by war by John Derby – 2016 – DSQ (The University of Kansas) ******More than Fun? By Sharon O’Malley – 19 July 2017 – Inside Higher Ed #Identity Protected