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Top Tips for Embedding Games into Your Classroom Routine

Top Tips for Embedding Games into Your Classroom Routine | ITTT | TEFL Blog

The use of Games in lesson plans for younger learners of the English Language is something that I think is very important. This is because they are excellent at providing a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere in the classroom. This helps in encouraging beginning students to participate. They also provide a challenge for more advanced students and are an excellent review tool (Ibrahim, 2017). Many types of games can be used in the classroom including board games, guessing games, matching games, and communication games. These can be used to teach vocabulary, grammar and speaking skills.

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

Vocabulary Building

One way in which games can be used in English as a second language classroom is to teach vocabulary. This can be done through the use of word games. These are games that are based on word and sentence manipulation, such as find the missing word. This helps students to get a better understanding of vocabulary by helping students to feel more comfortable using new vocabulary. For example, Marzieh Taheri performed an experiment in which she attempted to teach new vocabulary to a group of elementary students in Iran using a game. In this experiment, she picked out thirty-two students who were at the same level in their English learning. She then divided this group into a control group and an experiential group. The control group was taught a series of new vocabulary words through traditional methods such as drills and definitions.

The experimental group was taught the same vocabulary using four different vocabulary based games including a definition game, a crossword game, a sentence making a game, and determine the wrong word game. At the end of four weeks, both groups were tested on the vocabulary. Taheri found that the experimental group had better retention for the vocabulary. She concluded this was because of more social interaction within the group, which helped to reduce student’s anxiety over making mistakes. This led to increased participation and thus more practice with the new vocabulary (Taheri, 2014). Thus, games can be effective in the teaching of vocabulary in the English classroom through social interaction and participation among students.

school students raise hands

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Teaching Grammar

Games can also be effective in the teaching of grammar. This can be done through the use of games that are adapted to suit particular grammar points. These can be common games and activities like board games, matching games, and card games. For example, the researcher Rahmah Lob Yussof did a study involving a group of 115 university students who were studying English at a university in Malaysia. In his study, he divided the group into two experimental groups and two control groups. After giving each group a questionnaire and a pre-test, the experimental group was taught tenses of English verbs using a textbook and a snakes and ladders style board game.

The board game had a grammar correction element in which students were required to correct verb tenses to move forward. The control group was taught the same tenses of English verbs using just the textbook. After seven weeks a post-test was given on the vocabulary the students had been taught. The researcher found that the experimental group was better than the control group at identifying and correcting tenses than the control group. This, they concluded, was because the games exposed the students to different sentence structures, which helped them later when they were identifying and correcting different tense forms on the post-test (Yussof, 2012). Thus, playing language-related board games can help students to get a better understanding of different sentence structures.

teacher helps students do crafts

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Speaking Activities

Finally, communication games can also be useful in the classroom as speaking practice. These are games whose purpose is to encourage speaking and communication amongst students. Some excellent examples of these are guessing games, I spy and charades. These are very useful in the classroom as a way of improving students speaking skills. For example, Ratna Dewi, Ummi Kultsum and Ari Armadi conducted an experiment in which they observed and taught communicative games to a group of 36 junior high students in Jakarta, Indonesia, and then gave the two groups two post-tests on English speaking skills. They found that the students had improved their speaking skills immensely throughout the experiment. The researchers concluded that this was because of the increased practice and confidence that the communication games had given the students (Ratna Sari Dewi, 2017). Thus, using communication games in the classroom can also be useful in improving student’s confidence in their speaking skills.

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In conclusion, many types of games can be adapted for the classroom. These include word games to teach vocabulary, board games to teach grammar, and communication games to teach speaking skills. Through this, the teaching of English can be made into an effective and entertaining process.

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