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J.M. - Korea said:
Games in the classroom
Introduction: This article will attempt to point out the positive effect of games and how to use them in the E.S.L. classroom, but will also show some of the pitfalls that can and should be avoided. I will also focus more on a Kindergarten environment specifically. Games…in class? The classroom has traditionally been an area of serious study. Although numerous teachers through history has been exceptional, they all have this in common – they capture the attention, feelings and emotion of their students. With younger students, the quickest way to break into these areas, to make studying rewarding, is to have them use it. In a game. I quote “If they are amused, angered, intrigued or surprised the content is clearly meaningful to them. Thus the meaning of the language they listen to, read, speak and write will be more vividly experienced and, therefore, better remembered.”(1) If this is taken into consideration is becomes clear that playing games can become much more than simply filling time or breaking the ice in a class. It becomes a great tool in the hands of a teacher who puts thought and effort into presenting and using games in class. How to use your games: A game should fit the level of your students (2). I cannot play bridge with a 2 year old. You should be able to explain or show/demonstrate the game to the students you are teaching. They must be able to understand you or the whole point is being wasted – except that they might have fun. The games that you play should link directly to the work that you are doing in class (3). If I am studying the alphabet, asking question about the weather in the games, while not wasting time, is surely not making the most of the opportunity. Stick to your guns. Keep in mind that any game can grow or evolve as your students grow and learn more. Like I said – The game should fit your students’ level. This has the effect that when students outgrow a game, it is time for the game to evolve or be either changed or discarded for another. It is also true that most games can be adapted or fitted to suit certain themes or grammar or phonics lessons in the ESL class room. However, you have to keep in mind the number of students that will be participating. A game like monopoly will be ill advised for a class with numbers ranging from 20-30 students. It would easily work for a class ranging from 4-8 students. Pitfalls to avoid: Try to avoid games, or the way the games are being played, that doesn’t correlate with the work that you are doing in class. Keep the games as safe as possible, for both the students and yourself. Keep control at all time. If you lose control or discipline, rather stop the activity, give the students a chance to settle and try again. Do not make the game or game level to high for your students or their language capability – it defies the purpose of the exercise. Resources List: 1. Andrew Wright, David Betteridge and Michael Buckby(1984). Games for Language Learning (1). Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://www.teflgames.com/why.html 2. Carrier, M. 1990. Take 5: Games and Activities for the Language Learner, UK: np. Pp 6-11. 3. Deesri, Angkana (2002). Games in the ESL and EFL Class. The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VIII, No. 9, September 2002. Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Deesri-Games.html