Opinions 3: Adults and Games

As I was in the process of designing a number of commercial quality games expressly for adult learners of English perhaps I can be forgiven for asking the next question three different ways. This was the mission-critical stuff and I needed to make sure attitudes were clearly understood. They certainly seem to be: a resounding majority of respondents strenuously expressed their belief that games are suitable, beneficial and enjoyable for adult learners of English, putting the lie to three stubborn fallacies. There are caveats, of course. Scroll down to the comments for a selection of those.

Adults do not benefit from the use of games in the classroom
89% Disagreement
Games are more suited to the teaching of children than adults
72% Disagreement
Adults do not enjoy playing games in the classroom
81% Disagreement


This particular topic garnered many interesting comments as well, including the following:

For smaller children, non-competitive or cooperative games are best. Older kids and adults like competitive games.

Games should be an integral part of every language classroom, be it for adults or children alike. They can be used to introduce, practice and reinforce language learned. But there does need to be a balance, that games are not the sole, nor necessarily the main activity in a lesson as all play and no work does not make for a pedagogically sound environment.

I use more abstract and competitive games with younger learners, and more realistic activities with adults.

My adults love games. Even if it is just a sorting activity, I call it a game. A game usually generates laughter, and if you can get the students to laugh, they are relaxed and it relieves tension. Games are excellent for review. I have customized a lot of games.

Games are the greatest teaching tool I know whether with Children, young adults or adult.

It’s not the game that is valuable in itself. It’s how it’s used. If students understand games’ roles in their learning, then they’re perfectly happy to use them, whether adults and otherwise. The decreased affective filters that games can engender — together with an understanding of a game’s value — can enhance acquisition of students’ learning. If the teacher is relaxed, prepared, confident, and learning-focused, then the students can trust more easily, take risks in the service of their learning, and incorporate learning more easily into their lives.

Adults need to be playful sometimes.

If the games and the way in which they are used are not tailored to promote language use, many students question their use in the classroom, which I believe they should do. Students’ acceptance of games depends on the type of program. Games are not as often appropriate in academic settings; they’re more acceptable to students in adult education programs though.

Games are a fun learning tool for both children and adults, if used correctly. In other words, they must have some relevance to what is currently being studied. They are also a quick assessment/review tool to see how the students have grasped the material being covered.

Games are an excellent tool for learning and if introduced correctly are well received by adults as well as younger learners. Games usually involve repeated but purposeful language usage which enhances absorption and retention of vocab. Games relax learners and provide an atmosphere in which learners are willing to experiment without fear of looking foolish.

A complete list of all 151 comments will be found at the bottom of this page.

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