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Why Playing Games in a Classroom is Beneficial for Students and Teachers

Why Playing Games in a Classroom is Beneficial for Students and Teachers | ITTT | TEFL Blog

A student coming into a classroom every day looking at the board and listening to a teacher talk for hours can become mind-numbing. This can increase the chances of a student daydreaming or potentially even falling asleep. One way of preventing a student from becoming disengaged or having his or her learning hindered is by incorporating games into the classroom.

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


Games can be played with any age group which makes them very flexible, and they can be used in a variety of ways when learning a new language. Just by playing games, a tremendous amount of possibilities for a student can open up. It can also broaden the student’s horizons. A student can gain a wide range of skills and learn how to make connections just by the emotions that games provoke in someone.

For example, a student could be faced with having to think critically to solve a problem or win a game such as when participating in debates with other students. He or she might have to be creative when telling stories during story building or drawing games. It also teaches students to learn how to work with a team.

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What skills are trained?

Skills like these are what most people value in others and incorporating games into the classroom with younger students allows for higher chances of student success in the present and later on. Engaging the students with games arouses them and allows them to make emotional connections that can help them to remember what they are learning quicker and apply and/or recognize it outside of the classroom.

Games can be used to improve students’ reading, writing, listening and speaking skills when learning a new language. With the ESA - Engage, Study and Activate method, a teacher can incorporate games into each phase which also makes games so beneficial to use.

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ESA methodology

Games such as I spy, Pictionary and anagrams can be incorporated into the Engage phase to get the students thinking and speaking in the language they are learning. It also reduces teacher talk time. which is very important, so the students can be exposed to the foreign language as much as possible.

The Study phase is a great way to incorporate games such as hangman and word searches. It strengthens a student’s vocabulary, spelling and even pronunciation depending on how the teacher uses them. During the Study phase, games can be used to introduce new material. Playing games in the Activate stage can also be beneficial because it allows the student to put what they have learned to use. This is when students can especially gain and strengthen their teamwork and critical thinking skills.

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Teacher talking time

If a teacher talks the entire class session without any student participation, it is most likely that students will forget what they have learned. By playing games, students can visualize and remain attentive because they are involved while interacting with other students and moving around. Utilizing games in the classroom is not only fun for the students, but also the teacher.

The teachers are also not expected to talk about the entire class session. A teacher can use a wide range of games to help with any topic they are teaching such as parts of speech, verbs, grammar, pronunciation, phonology and more. If students are teamed up during a game, the teacher can observe what errors the students make and write them down to go over them later on. Games are a great enhancement for the classroom that allows the teacher and student to be creative and can leave a memorable experience.

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