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Traditional and Modern Games Used in The Classroom

Traditional and Modern Games Used in The Classroom | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Games have always been a medium that has an educational purpose to it, and this from a young age. Toddlers learn to interact with shape and physics with blocks, babies learn to talk with picture books and teenagers learn to socialize and develop logic with competitive games. Throughout human lives, games are essential tools. Nowadays, video games also take a big place in gaming, and I believe that as educators, we should maybe analyze how to integrate them with traditional games that are used in a classroom. This essay will describe both traditional and modern games and conclude with ideas on how to include both as language teaching tools.

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

Traditional Activities

Traditionally, if someone would talk about games in the classroom, we would think about activities, such as role-play and crossword. These are great educational games to do during an activate phase and provide a good way to put language learning in a game format. However, to truly get the aspect of being engaged in a game, there is a need for self-accomplishment to be established by the game itself. The student must feel challenged and his participation gains an almost immediate result. These can be found in some activities that were suggested in Lesson 3, such as Fizz Buzz or Alphabet Relay. These types of games engage the whole class and student participation is key to making the game continue and not stop. However, the biggest issue with traditional games in class, is that they only give gratification to students that success and not about their participation.

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New Games

And then, there are modern games in the classroom. Compared to traditional games, modern teaching games transform the whole class into a game. The learning experience becomes a game. And as much as I believe the ESA method is great, I do not believe it makes sense to the students, as it is a teaching methodology to apply while teaching. In modern games in the classroom, such as Kahoot (1), the game can be used throughout the whole class, from Engage, Study and Activate. This learning model provides classroom participation throughout the entirety of the class while boosting motivation as the class now becomes a game. These classroom formats come with Leaderboards and stats, making the competitive part also present, and results are stored so even if a student did poorly, they can improve and get better in the next round. There are also other modern games (Prodigy Game (2), for Mathematics) that include in-class character creation and progression, where the student sees their progression throughout a character and gain experience in a very visual and modern way, where competition is still present but can also reflex on their persona.

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In conclusion, both genres are important, as the needs of the student will always vary from class to class. There is, however, a transformation of the classroom on the horizon, and to dismiss the influence of gaming theories in a classroom, would halt the progress of education. In language learning, more than others, the importance to have a universal pillar, such as games, is vital to teaching. Therefore, modern game classrooms are now being introduced more than ever in many curriculums and should also be discussed in the ITTT TEFL program. The budget limitation might always be an issue, but it shall never be reason enough to hinder the discussion of having better learning tools.

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