Games in the Classroom: What are EFL games?
ESL games are games that can be used in the classroom to practice certain language points and encourage active and creative communication between your students.
There are many different games created specifically for use in the English language classroom that can be found online or in any number of resource books. But we are not limited only to those games designed for the class; the majority of games that we played as children or still play as adults can be adapted and used in lessons.
Whether games are co-operative or competitive, they are a great way to provide students with a goal to be achieved by using the English they have learned.
Common misconceptions about games in the classroom
“Games are fun but are not suitable for the classroom.”
There is plenty of research to show that this is simply not the case. Games provide a fun and relaxed atmosphere in which students are better able to recall language they already know and also retain new language. Rather than being seen as just a warmer or time filler, games should be seen as an integral part of the ESL lesson that can improve lessons for students and teachers alike.
“Games are only for children.”
Adults enjoy playing games in the classroom and appreciate a break from the everyday routine of a lesson as much as anyone. While it is important to choose age appropriate games, there is no reason why you shouldn’t incorporate them into your adult learner classes.
Also read: The 5 Best TEFL Games For Adult Students
How to use games in the classroom
One of the main things to remember when using games in the classroom is that they must be used for a purpose. Having your students play chess in silence for 15 minutes or letting them talk to each other in their own language throughout the game is not a suitable use of a game.
Whether you are using a game as a warmer, as controlled practice of a specific language point or to encourage creative, spontaneous production of the language, there must be a reason for using the game in your lesson.
Good resources for games to use in the EFL classroom
There are many books that contain communication games designed specifically for EFL lessons and most good language schools will have a variety to choose from in their resource centres.
There are also a large number of websites with downloadable games covering a wide range of topics and language points. These can consist of game boards or cards that can be printed out to use in the classroom. Other sites provide games that can be played online.
Local toy shops are a great way to find real games which were not designed specifically for the classroom and browsing the shelves may help you to find a game you had not previously considered. Almost all games can be used in your lessons in some way; all it takes is a little imagination.
Lastly, you can always get out the craft materials and make your own. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your students enjoy a game that you have created with your own hands.
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