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TEFL Online Tutorial: Teaching English With Games
I have always enjoyed playing games. Over the years, I have come up with my own list of the top five reasons I believe game playing is a powerful instructional tool. Students learn through the process of playing the game. By playing a game, students may be able to understand a new concept or idea, take on a different perspective, or experiment with different options or variables. For example, in my beginning Spanish classes, I often played a card game the first week of school. The students were in groups of Each person read through the directions to the card game; then, the game was played in complete silence. We typically played three or four rounds. What my students did not initially know is that each group had received a different set of rules. We used this as a starting point to discuss the experience of moving to a new country. You are trying to show us this is why we need to learn another language. So we can all explain the rules to each other. As a world languages teacher, I know students need a lot of practice to internalize important vocabulary and structures. Through games, students can learn a variety of important skills. There are countless skills that students can develop through game playing such as critical thinking skills, creativity, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. For example, with my Spanish students, circumlocution is a very important skill. He then told me that he had never played games at home and I was the only adult who had ever sat down to play a game with him. While playing games, students develop a variety of connections with the content and can form positive memories of learning. Some of my favorite classroom memories are from game times. A positive emotional connection can facilitate learning. Furthermore, many games feature a variety of different stimuli; some students might remember the vocabulary words from acting them out, others remember reading the clues, and other students remember hearing classmates call out answers. Games can provide a variety of sensory experiences for students. I find that because students really enjoy playing games, it is a good way to focus their attention and actively immerse them in Spanish. This can be especially useful in a wide variety of ways. For example, after a fire drill students sometimes have trouble settling down and returning to class. A game allows students to quickly engage and transition back to the content we were working on. After hours of state-mandated standardized tests, I find my students are often tired of sitting and full of energy; an energetic game with lots of movement may be just what they need.
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