What Games to Use in Your EFL Classroom
Growing up, hearing the word games in the classroom was almost always associated with a lack of concentration on the students’ side or maybe just a side note on activities to be done during recess. Today, especially after taking this course, I have come to see just how essential academic games could be! From young learners to mature scholars, everyone always goes back to a classroom at some point and the fact that classrooms are now evolving makes the learning process more and more interesting.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Brianna C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Drawing attention to the ESA model of teaching, the Engage stage would be a great opportunity to introduce games. This is where the teachers get the students talking and thinking in English, and at the same time get to know just how much the students already know or should know. A great example would be such as matching images to words. Another appropriate time for games would be during the Activate phase. Here, the teachers put the teaching materials into a realistic context with actual language use. An example here would be role-playing. Other classroom games would be such as: * Charades * Hangman * Bingo * Puzzles * Pictionary
Learning is not just about memorizing, testing and grading. Studies show that students are not able to gain nor retain any information and skills from cookie-cutter learning but they understand the application of skills and knowledge to solve real-life problems with the help of effective learning processes. The knowledge and skills that one gains through classroom games are retained longer than information from other learning methods, a fact that I have experienced.
Classroom games can serve different purposes, more-so to improve both learning and teaching. This could be as simple as including different games in different instructions. For most instructors, a great challenge would again be the vast difference amongst students. Some of these differences include different personalities, different capabilities and different learning preferences amongst others. Finding new ways to grab the attention of learners and engaging them in the learning process is also an issue. Students now more than ever, tend to have higher expectations in terms of technology, variety, rewards, surprises, and even their generation-specific humor.
To effectively carry out classroom games, I would suggest that an instructor be fully involved in what they are doing. The games need to be well designed to account for all the possible issues. Timing and consistency are also key in that we do not want the students to forget that they are in a classroom.
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The idea is to combine the learning objectives of the educational system with games designed specifically to educate children and motivate self-learning and problem-solving skills. All types of games are learning processes, be it casual gaming for fun, or something serious. Including knowledge matter of subject to games is a great way to captivate students now and years to come. Classroom games have in my view created more of an interest in school attendance as well as completion, something many institutions are and has been struggling with as the years go by.
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