How Games Can Boost Your Lessons
One of the repeating themes of this TEFL course has been the games a classroom may participate in, and the many variants of games appropriate for the learning of English. Examples are hangman, crossword puzzles, word jumbles, 20 questions, and many more to mention. The games can often serve very specific purposes, which were perhaps not the original intentions for the games, however within the classroom they can perfectly fit into their role. Tongue-twisters are an excellent choice when practising pronunciations on students in the fluency stage of the lesson, as it allows them to make mistakes without the fear of embarrassment from failure (as failure is almost certain for everybody, at least once), and forces them to apply the words quickly without much time for hesitation and consideration.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Riley E. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
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Games can be a useful tool for the students to develop their skills in English, but also a tool which can improve the teachers' effectiveness on their students. Games like crossword puzzles or hangman can be used as a method to elicit vocabulary from a student and to gauge the depth of their knowledge. Pairwork or group work games will force the students to communicate with each other, and the teacher can pair the students with whom they best deem appropriate (pairing weaker students with stronger students, to bolster their confidence and skills). If the game does not require constant monitoring, then it will also allow the teacher some time to write down the next board work.
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Types of Games
There are two game types to consider, which are cooperative games and competitive games, both serving appropriate functions within the classroom. Co-operative games are those which the students will team together and work cooperatively, while competitive games are the opposite, allowing the students to engage in friendly competition with one another. As a teacher, it would be good to understand which games create a stronger learning environment for each of your classes, knowing which class is more competitive, and which class is less. Linguistic games and communicative games are other factors to consider, thus the teacher must understand which is the goal of their next lesson, to either improve the students' linguistic knowledge or their fluency in speech.
It is also appropriate to consider which game will fit into which section of the lesson, whether it's in the engage, study or activate stage, and which game will best support the section's purpose. For example: prior was mentioned the game of tongue-twisters, which can improve the fluency of the students and may best fit within the activate stage of the lesson.
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Overall, games serve an important function in teaching, it's unrealistic to imagine a classroom which only provides a pure study with nothing to break up the monotony of the lesson. Students will become unengaged, and soon tire of their studies and fail to learn as effectively. Games can also fill a necessary function, providing an angle of the studies which allows the students to improve their understanding of the topic. Games are a means to express creativity, to promote social interaction, and increase to overall enjoyment and attention of the classroom.
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