The Practical Value of Games in the Classroom
Education and teaching are always changing. Thus, teachers are constantly thinking of new ideas and techniques they can implement in their classroom and teaching plan to more effectively educate their students. Presently, the notion of games within the classroom is widely popular among teachers. One may think that this relationship between games and learning is ironic, as most individuals classify games as a hindrance to education. However, through its engaging attributes, the tendency to boost class morale and motivation, and overall improvement within student’s creativity, games in the classroom that inspire education are very effective when teaching.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Iljun C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Games in the classroom are effective due to their ability to engage students. As learners participate in these games, endorphins are released, resulting in a sense of excitement. Because of these endorphins, students are easily hooked onto the games, simultaneously learning and creating a positive environment in the classroom. Thus, teachers often utilize games in their teaching plan: to grasp the attention and teach to the students at the same time. Furthermore, due to the game's fun component, students learning from these games will more likely remember the content learned; the exhilarating and entertaining learning moments while playing games tend to remain in prominence within the student’s memory. Thus, students will more frequently connect and recall these positive and exciting moments of learning itself.
In addition to engaging and grasping the attention of the class, games can be a powerful tool to promote learning. Games are interactive, and they allow the student to be involved in their learning, rather than passively learning and intaking information. Whether it be the game of Pictionary or Hangman, students have to interface with the game, as their actions affect the outcome of the game. They are forced to participate and proceed step by step to accomplish the goal set by the game; through this process, students can effectively learn.
Furthermore, games can also be utilized as a reviewing tool, allowing teachers to force students to review what they have learned in class that day; as a result, games are a good way to assign homework. The content learned in class is again presented to the student in a more enjoyable method, allowing students to refresh and, perhaps, relearn the day’s material. Games are also useful when learning as they provide consequences that do not dramatically harm the student or their grades. Most games provide a replay of the game, allowing for students to fail and learn from their mistakes; failing may become an amusingly baffling method to learn.
Incorporating games within the classroom also promote participation, simultaneously boosting class morale, motivation and cooperation. Both types of games—single-player or cooperative—provide the class with the aforementioned attributes. Single-player games allow for competition within the classroom—a sense of fiery participation, keeping students sharp and at the edge. It motivates them to achieve a certain rank, perhaps for their benefit. Especially, when learning a new language, these games are especially helpful, forcing students to quickly remember vocabulary words and/or sentence structures. The other option of a cooperative game embodies the characteristics of a single-player game; however, the trait of teamwork is incorporated. Although the attribute of participation may be decreased while in groups, cooperative games allow students to interact with each other, stimulating class morale. Not only do games help facilitate learning but they also enliven the class’s behavior and environment.
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An alternative to lectures, an effective way to engage the class, an active method of learning, an instigator for class participation and collaboration—all are the traits of games in the classroom. Due to these favorable and worthwhile effects, games are increasingly being implemented in teachers’ plans for the day. As games benefit both teachers and students, games are effective in all aspects within the classroom.
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