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Features of ESL Games in the Classroom

Features of ESL Games in the Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

A lot of activities can be settled and performed in a classroom to teach a non-native language. From tasks until routine exercises, a wide range of dynamics might be applied for a teacher. But games have different and unique features for a lesson, and its matter and characteristics need to be debated for developing consistent teaching of content.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Fábio A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

What is a Game?

First of all, it must keep in mind the concept of a game, which could be described as a structured form of play, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes as an educational tool and carried out for remuneration. In other words, a game has keys components such as rules, challenges and interactions among its players and/or its internal elements. These are the concepts that will be worked on in this text.

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What is the Game for?

A game applied in a lesson must have specific and clear goals, which need to be aimed for "internal" and "external" purposes. The first ones are objectives for the game itself and the second one are objectives for teaching/learning purposes. Once both are defined, a teacher proceeds with the next step.

Game Directions

Determining and specifying clear rules for a game is crucial for using that in a lesson. A cohesive set of internal laws of a game has great chances of being understood and accepted by players. Due to the hierarchic characteristic of a classroom, a teacher is a natural rule creator of a lesson game, and students are its players by consequence. Stablish coherent rules provides a fluid and funny activity, so as a good rapport for teachers. This can be provided by the previous demonstration, for example.

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Sense of Competence

Challenge in a game can be easier viewed as a road between the beginning of a game lesson and its aim. By this distance-model, a teacher can measure a lot of its elements such as students' performance. In other words, scores, which can show the amount of content absorbed by students without the natural pressure in an exam or test, for example, considering the non-rewarding feature of a game.

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When they are playing, students interact among them and between them and game elements such as rules, materials, and objects used. Their performance shows to the teacher in a quick view of how they deal with game internal purposes and in a further analysis of how fluid and easy the content of a lesson is absorbed and accepted by them.

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All that said, now it is easy to understand the importance of games in a lesson. For its non-rewarding measure characteristic (most of the time), ludic model and unique interactions, a game shows students'natural behavior by allowing them to be themselves, once they are usually relaxed. This provides not only a warmer activity to be applied to the engage stage of a lesson but also a model of level measure closer to the real content absorbed by them for a teacher. Even in a role-playing game in an action stage, when they are acting a role, a teacher can realize their true nature in a non-stressful environment, which allows the students to show their good qualities, failures, needs, wants and difficulties.

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