151 Responses to the question Use the space below to add additional insights into the use of games in the English language learning classroom.
Provide a structure for the teachers to facilitate having students construct their own games
I think many students from other (that is, non-North American) cultures think that games are not serious learning. Even though I don’t think games are a waste of time, some of my students have mentioned this, as if to say, Why are we wasting our time with this? When will we get to the real learning? This is despite announcing at the start of the game the goals and what skills it practices. Many studens seem to have quite a dismissive attitude towards this kind of learning. This is why I don’t incorporate more games more often.
games is useful and encourage students to study a foreign language and make them not feel bore but have interest to study it.In other words,i think,it is good to use games at times to teach.
Play is a child’s work. The use of games engages the whole child and holds their attention better than paper pencil activities. Children learn through movement and activity. Games are essential tools for all teachers of young children.
Most games I have seen do not cater for the large class where poverty is the main. Classes are of 70 to 120 students are almost impossible to organize so games can be played to have a lasting affect on the students.
Millions of people. myself included have learned to speak English well – including millions of foreigners for whom English is a 2nd language – with no emphasis on the use of games. I am sick of people coming along wanting to ‘fix’ a proven educational process that has been in existence since education began, when it does not need ‘fixing’. It merely needs to be done well and it will continue to work well. I teach in the time-honoured way – students sitting quietly at desks in ranks and rows. I teach my students whether young or old very successfully and I hold their attention and respect by treating them firmly but fairly. I use lots of humour and I give them opportunity to express tgheir views even if they are primary school students. Inventing ‘new’ approaches and insisting that the best teaching methods involve the use of music, or games or art, self-expression, when for hundreds of years education has been successfully imparted in the ‘traditional’ way – is in my judgement a complete and utter waste of time. Please remove me from your mailing list as this is the second time I have had this survey thrust at me. Have a nice day!
games can be used as warm-ups or closing games to teach or to revise particular vocab. or piece of grammar.I use them in all these contexts. Games are very good not just for children, but also for adults. Some students even dont realize they are in a process of learning. Some of students say that the situational activities revise on their own at home, at work..etc. Which is great. I can only recommend this way of teaching other languages, because there are great results if you use appropriate game in appropriate time. You easily get the whole class to concentrate at a game rather than at grammar or vocabulary presentation. I use Oxford and Cambridge students books and I (and my students) am happy with the style of their materials.
I think that using games is a good way to involve everyone and make the learning aspect of the previous weeks lessons more relevant. I use games once every week to two weeks, especially during difficult or very boring concepts of English. Some of the verb tenses are especially useful in these circumstances.
Personally I think games should be an important part of an esl classroom but what matters most is the techers ability to use those games.Most games are not suitable for use in most class room context.So a good teacher should be able to pick out those games which work best in his/her classroom situation.
I think we should incorporate use of games in classrooms. But I don’t know where to get those commercial games for ESL. 🙁
I think by trying to alter your process of teaching you give students more exposure to a subject many do not already like. Students of all ages benefit by playing games that make them forget they are learning a new subject and words. You can invent or use many games to come up with ideas that you can use in your own classroom to improve the skill levels of your own students.
Humans are STORYTELLING creatures! When we WANT to tell stories in THEIR language, but haven’t the hooks, lines and sinkers to touch, move and inspire listeners in the target language, GAMES (structured word-play with predictable PLEASURABLE PAYOFFS) are an invaluable asset to the Second Language teacher… A language student’s obstacles and enemies are the boredom and frustration that come with repetition and practice, so it is almost criminal to deny learners access to a pleasant, enjoyable counter-balance to that boredom… I began my adult teaching career at age 20, teaching Korean to NATO and US adults at the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, CA. Thousands of hours of ESL teaching IN THE CLASSROOM have only served to strengthen my conviction that learning CAN AND SHOULD RIGHTLY BE FUN… Oh, and in your survey, RESOURCE should have one S and one C, instead of two S’s…
I am new to teaching abroad and am going through massive Culture Shock. My experience will be short (6 months), but while I’m here I want to make the best of my experience and do my best to teach the children. It would be great to informed of various games for varying levels to build my arsenal (so to speak.) Luc Lalonde firstname.lastname@example.org
I teach adults and mostly use games as an end-of-the-class stress relief/relaxation activity after a long and challenging TOEFL, TOEIC or IELTS test prep class.
I am all for using all kinds of tools and materials to accelerate language learning. I am a tutor and I am always looking to spice up each class and make it fun for the students. The level of my students is PP = Pre-production, so it is very difficult for them to put two and two together just yet. Is there anything, games, websites or otherwise that you recommend I use? Thanks
In my opinion, there are two types of games for children when teaching English, games that help them review what they’ve learned and games just for fun for them to relax before they learn more or finish class. Most of the time I choose not to use games unless they work hard. If its a favorite class of mine (because they like to work hard), I will be much more lax in my approach as I have more confidence in their ability and self discipline. This approach actually motivates them to learn more and in some cases they even teach each other! Teaching English is fun with the right students and the right attitude towards teaching.
games are useful for me – and my school, which includes a teacher training program – if they are truly communicative
i would do it if i could get a position……
I sometimes struggle in finding games that can help me revise the previously done topics. Also the specific grammar topics such as ‘going to’ or ‘past perfect’ etc. I would love to see something more specific to learner levels (CEFR levels) and topics which are coverred under them. so that I can prepare for a class with less efforts. you can write to me for specifications email@example.com Pra?
Certainly Teachers resort to use games in teaching 4 skills: -To have fun while learning. -To provide a context for meaningful communication. -To provide further practice of a wider variety of lexical & grammatical items. -To make sure that students will not forget the vocabulary words because it was done in an interesting way. -To encourage,teach,entertain and promote fluency. Teachers use games in different occasions: -as short warm-up activities at the beginning of the class. -There is extra time at the end of the lesson. -In the presentation-practice-production framework. -Use it as a way to revise and recycle previous taught material.
I consider a game to be an activity to enhance a lesson, not just to be used as a filler.
brain stroming: teacher should write the topic on the borad ans then ask the studnet one by one tell about it your ur opion any word or phrase, like school is topic then they will tell differnet opnion about it for exapmle school palce of learning, playing, motivation, adventure, fun like this way they have to speak in english and the will the languge. dialouge, make a pair of studnet and give them adialouge they have to prsent this is also very good way or leaning english . story telling: studnet will eplain the story for all in their own word , teacher should give them free hand where no tenstion og gr, voc like that thing so then improve their english. pictures, give the studnets any pictures and falsh card and they to narrate the story. i think these are the best way oe lang learning, and there are many other games .etc
Making resources that are useful in situations where the ability to copy is limited. would be greatly appreciated. Many people forget that most of the world doesn’t have easy access to a copy machine.
i often need to use different versions of the same game to suit my students learning behaviour as I teach at all levels and ages. Anything can be a game if you’re teaching a 7 year old! I like simple boardgames with outrageous and funny ways of using the target language (again, needs to be tuned for class) Adapted versions of old classics are great for lower levels. Card game rules can be confusing Textbook games can be dull Games that offer rewards work best. (sad but true!)
The games should be aimed at developing the vocabulary and optimal use of new words.They should develop a passion in the pupil to use different and apt usage of vocabulary at different times. It should be aimed to develop not only the language but also should be able to give a kind of recreation and rest for the brain and mind.
I personally feel that games are good fillers for boring lessons in the primary and Junior middle school field. Above those levels the interest slowly but steadily fades away and it is replaced by a greater hunger for teacher-student interaction and a thirst for information on western culture which is vastly unknown in this area of the world. Of course, the internet provides some of this but as the students mature and acquire more confidence in expressing themselves in a foreign language, they show a greater interest in talking face to face with a foreign teacher rather than playing childish games or looking at a screen.For what it’s worth….From China.
I teach small kids (6 years old) and everybody tells me that they will learn more through games. My believe is that they learn more through physical examples rather than games. It works in my class – but hey – ifgames work for somebody else – good for them. That is why everybody has his/her own style of teaching. The how you teach is not important for me – the getting of the correct result is the important issue.
We utilize dozens of CALL/MALL programs/games for all ages and in all styles. Card games (Go Fish) are great and easy to make (multiple prints of flash cards)….easy to augment current lesson(s). We also use non-English games (ex. Jenga) in tandem with flash card review (Let’s Go series, for example)…in order to spice up a review session.
Practice makes perfect! well designed games are fun ,so it can stimulate EFL or ESL learners.
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 should not dominate class time, but should complement the instruction and serve as an aid to student motivation. Games can reach students who may not respond well to some other modes of learning. Finally, any game used in the language classroom needs to have clear relevance to the curriculum.
Interesting ideas for game making. Personally like to see students intercat with each other as oposed to using comuters all the time.
Schools use educational games within their programs however students sometimes think the game time is just a time to talk. It suits the purpose of testing to review as much as possible. Regular use of games can be good for review however if these review games are used too frequently and too structured they are not as interesting. It depends on what the game is. If students are noisy or disruptive the ‘game plan’ can go out the window and then a backup ‘study plan’ is useful. While students like games like hangman they are very simple and repetitive. Students can take the path of least resistance. Korean students seem to view play very differently to American students. IMHO the best use of games is as follows… A flexible part of the lesson A potential reward for work well done A quick one for an ice breaker or warm up (work should be done first at times, ideally). One planned for the end of the lesson in case the lesson finishes early. Destress time. When sleepiness or headaches come in games are useful. Students were noisy whenever the word ‘game’ was mentioned and also asked for them at the beginning of the lesson when I first came. They had their own ideas of the games they wanted however, these were the games that were easy and they knew well. To more commonly introduce common games from our home countries would be doing a service. The internet is a great resource. Adult games are a huge untapped resource. These ‘games’ or activities are interesting if they are challenging and unlike children’s games one has to be careful of the level.
I don’t think games are useful or NOT useful – it always depends on how the teacher integrates them into the learning task. An excellent game can be very poorly used and a not-so-useful game can be highly effective – depending on the teacher, the task at hand, the target language, etc. Games are not an end unto themselves.
I am not at all aware of where to get good games for the adult ESL classroom. I’d love to know!
You should differentiate between computer games and classroom games.
I donot use many games in my teaching style. Games can be useful if used in the proper environment. Especially games are a good tool to hold students’ attention or to bring their attention back to you and the classroom.
Every good learning process requires fun and action to be truly, deeply effective.
Games are the greatest teaching tool I know whether with Children, young adults or adult managers/executives in corporate training.
I think games are a very important part of teaching. I try to have a game activity in the final 15 minutes of a class so that students end by having fun and are allowed to freely produce language in a relaxed and fun environment
Play is an integral part of human nature. On this basis, games should not be shunned from the language classroom, but more opportunities to include them should be sought out. games should be integrated purposefully though, with clear learning goals in mind.
If you would like any proof about the effectiveness of games just check these testimonials: http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/testimonials.htm All provided by real teachers using games – the proof is in the pudding! People who think games are a waste of time don’t know how to use them properly. Bye for now a I look forward to your results. Kind regards Shelley Vernon
kids need visuals makes learning fun and exciting.
I understand how useful they can be in teaching. Since I only teach one student at a time, it is more challenging to find existing games that I can use. I ususally make up my own.
Games alleviate the boredom of doing written and spoken excercises, while able to test vocab, spelling and basic understanding of concepts currently taught i.e. they consolidate whatever has been (just) taught.
audio visual learning native speaker voices, authentic english high motivation for kids, discovering things, something for the eyes children learn computer skills
My favorite use of games in my upper-intermediate/advanced high school class of all-Arabic speakers is to get them to speak spontaneously in English. Group work rarely accomplishes oral production of English, as they are all from the same L1, but games are a fun way to push them a bit.
I have much more trouble using games with classes with behavior problems because they cannot stay on task in groups. It also takes a lot of time to make any games, which limits the games I can play with my students. I think games are great, but those are some of my challenges.
I feel that games need to be clearly integrated into lesson….i.e., they need to serve a distinct learning purpose just not a random activity or a ‘baby-sitting’ exercise used by teachers. So perhaps developing games as part of a learning sequence might more easily be picked up by teachers and use more, and with more confidentce.
Students in China have a lot of pressure on them when it comes to school. In my classroom, I like to let them have fun with songs and games and other things that they find interesting. When they are having fun, they forget to be shy, or nervous. Many children are scared to speak english to a foreigner, because China’s school system focuses on reading, writing, and grammar. My class is supposed to focus on improving their oral English Skills. The games help them have a break from the daily lesson. I usually begin the class by having a brief period of small-talk with each student, then we will work on the lesson. The lesson may be about cultures, or introductions etc. The lesson may have 4-5 sections. Between each section, I will have each student throw the sticky ball at the drawn dart board on the white board. Instead of numbers, they aim the sticky ball at game options, such as pirate poker, rhyme cards, Hangman, word scrambler, etc.
I do find that the activities have to suit the class’ general attitude and they’re all very different. You really have to be prepared and have back up material when you’re first trying new activities. Even a different spin on the same game works very well when adapted to the class level.
I make games mostly for my lower level students to review and apply topics, vocabulary or grammatical structures we have studied. I also use games to motivate students at the end of a long day or to fill a five to ten minute gap when starting new material would not be appropriate. I most appreciate the commercial materials that provide a game idea that I can apply in various ways to my own particular class. A book like Bridge the Gap by Ferrer and Werner is a book I can get a lot of use out of.
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.
Games are great for kids. They make the lesson fun for the kids and for the teachers. Pictionary and hot seat are the most fun and easy. I think they are effective and that kids do learn from them. It might be better to save the games for the end of class, but this isn’t always so. You can use the games as a tool for classroom discipline by stating to the class that, every time someone misbehaves, you will take away a minute from the game at the end of class.
Define effective! Many games are effective in getting students to speak, relax and intereact, and many are effective in getting students to think about about a language problem. But how many are effective in getting students to produce English in a natural way, or in getting students to be better language learners. I am less than convinced that games are effective in producing something that is memorable and useful in the longterm. So, whta does the question mean by effective. Define quality in the ESL environment.
I believe that we should respect students’ learning styles and meet them where they are, rather than forcing on them what currently popular pedagogical theory says works. My adult students have all done well in the past and feel comfortable in an old-fashioned teacher-centered learning environment, so I provide that for them, although it’s more participative and humorous than what they probably experienced in their own countries. The ESL world has a maddening tendency to treat adult students as if they were children. This is probably because so many instructors enter adult ESL by way of primary education. Most of my students have had enough of teachers talking down to them, and you can see their point, when the ESL teacher tells a surgeon, an engineer or a nurse exactly what sorts of school supplies to buy, etc., as if they were 10 years old. These students see games as part of this whole complex of patronizing, denigrating behavior, so out of respect for them, I don’t usually use them. They told me they especially resented an instructor dividing a class into a boys against the girls game. Games are an inefficient way to learn if the students already speak English at work or during their regular day, so they don’t need the speaking practice games provide. The students don’t see most games as efficient use of their time, and I generally agree with them.
Great opportunity to practice language without the fear of making mistakes
I am aware that games are a usefulness tool in classes but our curriculum is too rigid and not always provides the opportunity to do this activity. However it is necesary in order to promote a relax moment wint the students.
My company Interacting www.interacting,info specialized in adapting theatre games to language learning. Most of our work in the games field is directed to teacher’s CPD and teachers get funding in Europe to attend such courses. Thanks for your enthusiasm. Back in 2002 we toured Japan with an Interactive theatre show titled Football Crazy and the British Council hosted our games workshops which were very well received.
To be effective games must have a language target and a point. They should never be used as a reward for doing other work. They should be structured so that use of the language does not impede gameplay. For smaller children, non-competitive or cooperative games are best. Older kids and adults like cometitive games.
the young children ruin their lives, Parents, and elders have either no control or ignore these. Western world ruining the valuable cultures of the world. Powerful countries like US / UK spark wars with the support or cartel manner with UN/WB/ADB. They are ruining world for their commercial gains. Through games, for different segments this should be inculcated.
Classes of 45+ mean that it is not possible to monitor (or hear) effectively so my observations may be skewed. I have no access to computers nor do my schools provide materials therefore most of my materials are self made or from ESL sites on the internet, it would be very helpful if those available on the interned had the facility to be adapted (some do, but not all) to suit the ability and vocabulary of my students. All of my classes include an ‘activity’, as this is completely alien to their normal teaching routine the teacher can be seen as ‘soft’. Some students don’t use the game as envisioned, although others settle down to use it as intended and bring joy to my heart – unfortunately, given the class sizes, I can’t give them the attention I would like to. Activity books, although well intentioned, live in an ideal world. The likelihood of them ‘discussing with your partner ….’ is nothing if not remote. I suppose they would be helpful with a class in which all the students wanted (underlined) to learn. Also ‘mingling’ games are not possible as there is no room to get up and move in the classroom. I do try to take the students outside when weather permits, but they can get so excited at this deviation from the norm that it can be chaotic Thank you for this opportunity
Games are fun during class and makes the time go faster but it can also deter the student’s ability to learn. They are useful when teaching in a form of a lecture does not appeal as an effective way of teaching.
Playing games brings the students together. They are forced to interact which gives them more practice is speaking English. In turn the students become more confident speakers and more at ease in the classroom.
Hi, This is Bob from eslhandouts.com. I hope you’ll find my anwers helpful. I also suggest that you add your website to my ESL directory at http://www.eslhandouts.com/wpdir/ This will help you promote it and possibly more people will take the survey! Best regards, Bob firstname.lastname@example.org
IT HELPS THE STUDENT’S INTEREST IN LEARNING THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE MORE.IT NEVER BORED THE STUDENT.
I tend to use Hangman to elicit a topic…not much more than that really. Ditto for anagrams. I sometimes find games online that are ESL specific…often ones that relate to a grammar point, that involve speaking and last ten minutes as a filler. Scrabble is something I have used with different groups in different settings….I find its good for vocab building, but this does rely on students being very pro-active in using the game
I hate word searches. Most esl computer games are restrictive and not very imaginative; they’re not worth the price.
A game is only as good as its focus. At times, the games I chose early on in my career had nothing to do with the focus of the lesson. People did use language and it seemed communicative – but the strategies that the students often used to play were not strategies that transferred outside of the classroom. I train my students to use games…for all levels; however, choose a game where they use language that you’ve taught them and will help build competence.
If the games and the way in which they are used are not tailored to promoted 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.
Good luck on your study… Computers are wonderful things, but often times games have to be adapted for language, content or context… Autonomy is the way to go, allowing the learner to choose is very important in this society where you can be public in private, meaning you can be social though never leave your keyboard. Hasta Pronto! I will be following your progress! Luiza Collin Universidad Aut¢noma de Tamaulipas Centro de Lenguas y Ling¡stica Aplicada Coordinaci¢n de Formaci¢n de Profesores Cd. Victoria, Tamaulipas (834) 31 81800 ext. 2981 fax 2971
English language games to me are very significant because students find them interesting, challenging and above all without noticing it they learn new words and ask questions, they are interested. Games should be done when students are not paying attention or distracted or when they are daydreaming it’s a way to wake them up and get them into the teaching class again. Games in the English language can also be done half hour before school finishes. Students go home happy.
BLAH!! I HATE THOSE!!
Seen a number of games that have been and are played by teachers that have very little learning value.
The teacher must be assured that the students are learning and applying the language correctly, not just having fun.
Games are for Teachers who don’t want to teach and have no concern for students. ESL students taught that learning is a game never learn or develop any real study skills. Games perpetuate students’ immaturity and lack of focus, inability to concentrate on details, and inability to think critically. Supposedly ingenious and innovative methods of merely entertaining students and keeping them occupied serve only to perpetuate students? fixation on and stagnation in the fast-forward phantasmagoria of contemporary culture. Lesson plans that play out like an MTV video or Nickelodeon game show serve only to continue the learning obstacles students bring to college. These methods keep students trapped in their inabilities to provide the attention and engage in the careful thought processes that learning requires. Students need the ability to focus intently and think critically for extended periods of time. Interestingly, while employed as an IELTS test preparation instructor at a National University in China, a professor visiting from one of the exchange program’s universities in the UK complained extensively that students they admitted from China were completely unprepared for academic environments, but my foreign teacher colleagues continually engaged students in Fun activities that merely kept the students occupied and did not include any advancement of English skills to the academic level, which was my focus. My students immediately began to earn higher scores on their IELTs exams while my colleagues students scores declined. Games are for poseurs who use teaching jobs to fund their vacations in foreign countries, or worse, get into the good graces of their students in order to exploit students.
I wasn’t sure how to answer some questions since there is such a variety of each type of game and a significant range in quality. For example, there are outstanding computer games and there are poor ones, too. With regards to general opinions about the the use/effectiveness of games, a lot depends on the context, including the class size, the students, their ages, group dynamics, expectations, beliefs, goals, course objectives, institutional and other stake-holder interests, so it’s rather difficult to generalise and when one does, it may mean painting with such a broad brush so as to make the answers irrelevant to any specific context. To give you a slightly clearer picture, I teach in the following contexts: 1) Kindergarten where students have about twenty, 20-25 minute classes a year with 17-30 students per class and their HRT; 2) JHS & HS where classes of 22-26 students have about thirty 50-minute classes a year with a focus on oral communication, presentation, video-making and extensive reading; 3) Private language & test preparation school with small classes of up to 10-12 highly motivated students aim to go to top universities in Japan or overseas; 4) A university with a content-based medical English course with 13-14 students per class that meets 13-14 times per semester for 90 minutes; 5) A university with a focus on developing students academic literacy & communication skills, including research, discussion & debate, and presentation of student selected/negotiated content on social, political, legal, and/or international issues. There are fourteen 90-minute classes per week with 24-26 students per class. As you can imagine, the nature of games and the degree of use varies considerably across these situations. Good luck with all your endeavours. Gaming and the use of games remains a fascinating area to explore and research!
I have not taught ESL for the last 20 years so I’m not sure my opinions are of much value now…games were not in-vogue when I was teaching ESL: 1967-1987
In general the use of games has been a once a month activity day in my home school, plus end of class activities to send the kids home on a good note. I like competitive games that challenge students to use their thinking skills, which is why computer games interest me a lot. However, I can only use them occasionally because of the lack of resources to provide computer access to more than one or two kids at a time.
Motivation. Any enjoyable activity (i.e. Game) will increase internal motivation to participate and as a result the student will be more inclined to seek other uses of the langauge to re-invoke that pleasurable interaction. Conversely, if the activity is not interesting, then the student will not actively attempt to repeat the situation. I teach many different levels and different ages.
You should include more questions about teaching situation in your survey. The student populations, their expectations, and institutional requirements have a big impact on curricula. I teach in Japan, so this is EFL, not ESL. Almost all my classes are at university. Universities vary considerably, but they generally prefer a focus on academic English, such as reading challenging texts, research and writing of essays. I teach other groups, such as children, occasionally. I tend to use more games with children.
For games to be used effectively there needs to be a clear purpose and direct relation to learning. As an EFL teacher/EFL teacher-trainer/Psychologist I consider games to be important, but usually see their use as distractions from, rather than attraction to, learning. From High School on, students themselves often don’t see any learning through games. The connection needs to be made clearer to the students.
I use more abstract and competitive games with younger learners, and more realistic activities with adults.
Games can be effective, but they cannot be relied upon. Too many teachers use them regularly as a reward for students therefore misunderstanding their purpose resulting in little effectiveness. It takes the right kind of teacher to know when and how to use games, which games will be effective for which kind of students, and the right time intervals in which games should be applied. There are too many of what we call here in Korea ‘edu-tainers’ in our industry. Teachers who are well-liked by the students, and subsequently the parents and staff at the school, simply because they play a lot of games. These teachers lack the sufficient knowledge and expertise to actually make a difference and bring about any improvement in their students’ English and it is sad that Korea is throwing away so much money on them. But, such is life, and I have to interview and hire these ‘jokers’ on a regular basis…
I taught for over 8 years in a foreign language high school in South Korea. The students found games a waste of time, except for the week after final exams, when they wanted to let their brains rest. The rest of the semester the students could not understand how playing games helped them to pass a university interview or write an essay. It all comes down to the motivational factors of the student.
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.
This survey seems to be biased towards activities that have students seated, but I like to get students up and moving around at least once during every class. It makes the class less static, energizes them, and frees them from the confinement of chairs, desks, and books.
Gaming is critical, but it needs to be part of task chain to review, rehash, practice the project or content being studied. We need adaptable gaming tools, for teachers to author, not ready-made games. There is a role for game books which give me ideas to apply to my situation.
Games are excellent for teaching children a love of the English language, but they are not sufficient for ensuring students pass an IELTs test or any other kind of respected national qualification.
Sorry, I’m out of touch these days but I always thought games were a wonderful way to learn. Best of luck!
Do you want to know about teachers teaching children, adults or both? Please be more specific.
I found that most games for ESL are quite lame. Only Phrazzle Me teaches structure of phrases and questions, vocabulary, keywords, encourages to write long, grammatically correct, sentences. It teaches and encourages to use connectors as well. Scrabble is great at teaching and encouraging the learning of vocabulary but doesn’t teach the rules of English like Phrazzle Me does: To be + ing To do and modal verbs + base form To have + past participle He, she and it + s I hope Phrazzle Me has started something new: Games that clearly work and teach while having fun. Marcelo Montecinos.
It is important to know the students and their personalities and learning styles when applying games to the classroom. Too often teachers use them as time fillers instead of having a particular purpose in mind when using them.
You can read about in my webpage (in Spanish, but samples in English): http://letsticenglish.wikispaces.com/ActividadesTIC
I often thought of teaching a class on game theory or how to incorporate games into self learning
In general, the quality needs to be better, ESP. In resource books. Easily accessible and adaptable.
This took a lot longer than the 3-4 minutes promised!
games offer a better perspective and understanding – students learn and help each other
I’ve done very little classroom teaching for awhile because I’ve been using myself as a student guinea pig in the Mandarin classroom, where very few games are played. I see the advantages of games as the following: they allow the students to learn, and solidify learning, drill and/or practice in a relaxed, non-threatening environment. There is also something of a TPR aspect to more movement in the classroom, and the change of pace can refresh students. Games are sometimes an avenue for shy students to express their individuality, and thus consolidate learning. Adults may resent time spent playing games.This may be countered by calling these practice activities. ( I heard a story where(Asian) parents were upset to hear their children were playing games in class, when they were paying tuition for English lessons, so the teacher renamed the activity). From my experience in the Mandarin class, plodding through textbooks and memorizing endless lists of disjointed vocabulary items in no particular order seems to be the current practice, and reading aloud is confused with speaking. I think games are needed to provide insight and a variety of approaches to any language topic, and also to allow review in an enjoyable fashion. I believe that one reason children learn languages more easily than adults is that they DO play games. Enjoyable activites increase the number of teachable moments for the learner.
I call games challenges and make sure to identify or get the students to identify the objectives of each game and relate it to what skills are being developed. Once they see the game is not just a ‘game’ they are totally pen to the use of games to reinforce their learning
English games are very useful as warmers, as fillers (before the bell rings and there are still extra minutes to consume), as weekend activity, as English Game Marathon at the end of a course or program, and learners of all age groups enjoy this. It eliminates uneasiness among the students and builds trust and harmonious relationship as well among the students in my class.
I love to use games to practice material taught in a unit as well as to review. It is a great learning experience when students can laugh and enjoy time with their classmates in a stress free game.
I feel that most teachers use games to fill time and entertain their students. Games need to have clear language learning benefits and, more importantly, adult learners need to know what those are. They are another form of practice, beyond stale worksheets, and they often create real needs for language (as with Apples to Apples).
I am involved in students in higher education, and those international students trying to enter tertiary institutes in Canada/USA. This academic orientation is a reason for the very limited use of games in my courses. I suspect that adult ESL students may see games in class as a waste of time, or ‘childish’. I may be wrong about this, but I guess that I would be more inclined to use games if the ‘learning payoff’ was clear and substantial for the students in my classes.
Boggle’s World has an extensive list of printable cards.
Games are very useful but you need to be careful that like when playing with friend, everybody gets a good chance to play and an equal chance, regardless of their linguistic skilss, to win. Games need to be introduced very carefully, and like with friends, need to played more than once. In this way, students can learn the rules and strategy, which in turn, leads to more reading and speaking… Card games are okay.. but do not have as much language required. In a perfect work, Talisman or Settlers of Catin for small groups of 5 to 6 would be great… but then, how much English would be used in a homogenius class…
I find them very useful, and would like to be better at fitting them in to lessons at every level. Feedback rom students indicates that many remember playing games during lessons.
Games are definitely a very useful teaching tool. However, teachers need to be aware of its limitations and possible pitfalls. For example, computer games may lead to adiction and eat up study time without students’ realization. Using games as a change or a treat in a formal classroom setting is a good idea. Homework in a game format is also effective. Just don’t overuse games.
No particular comment, but I have found games quite useful. However, the use of games entirely depedns upon the teaching setting as well as the personality of the instructor. Cheers
I don’t think much about using games, but it would probably be a good thing if I did.
Games are important for interacting and hardwiring information.
I like to use games to review and provide extra practice for my ELls in grades K-12.
Games like Bingo are often adapted or repurposed. A game, like World of War or Civilization, but designed from the ground up to teach, practice, and use language, would be great
Games that include music and or the use of complete sentences are very effective. Cloze readings and other reading/writing activities can be converted into game-like activities.
My field is academic English language support for students enrolled in tertiary degrees – a lot of my work is individual consultations based on particular assignment tasks. This gives me much less time to include games in my teaching than when I was a classroom ESL teacher. But there’s a very heavy vocab learning load for uni students, and I’m convinced that well-designed games around the AWL and subject-specific vocab could be very helpful as a self-study option/approach for my students.
Games can be tricky. I like to use them because the kids enjoy playing games. But I have found that games need to be used in smaller groups so that all the students are speaking and participating. I do not like to use games that include the whole class. There always seems to be a few students who are not involved.
I love using games in the classroom, and use them whenever possible. I could have students reading sentences to practice a grammatical structure, or I could have them playing Battleship on Paper where all they know is that they’re playing the game, not reading, speaking, and listening. Your survey mentions computer games, but I haven’t seen many computer games for ESL. I’ve seen some a few years ago, but the software was several operating systems ago, so I don’t have access to them any more. It would be nice to find an affordable web-based program accessible by kids in the K-12 realm.
Students revise irregular verbs: I say the infinitive of the verb, those students who know the form of past tense and past participle raise their hands. I throw the ball to one of them, they give both forms (past tense and past participle) and throwthe ball back to me.
I have taught ESL and Foreign language and the key thing is to get a teacher that is able to motivate and stimulate the students to learn and participate in the games and in the language. Removing barriers and providing a classroom that would allow cultural expression so that the students do not feel rejected or hindered when learning, practicing or speaking in the target language.
Your question about the usefulness of games is impossible to answer. It depends on whether the game chosen fits the goals of the class. One game might be perfect as a review or practice activity but totally useless in another class where it is too difficult and the students are not prepared. Games should fit the lesson as a form of practice, but should not be used as mere fillers, I believe. Also, with adults, I sometimes avoid the term game as it can be seen as demeaning for an adult who is paying a lot of money for a professional language teacher to merely play games. They may even get upset at a teacher who uses too many games in their lessons. In those cases, I prefer to call them a practice activity and state the language goal clearly.
I think having students create their own games is far more motivating and, usually, entails greater involvement in the process, rather than simply looking at the product.
I notice your website is from Canada, and I have noticed that English language material writers who are NOT from my country, the U.S., seem to have the most creative materials. Especially the Brits. Why? I don’t know. Because of the Back to Basics movement in the U.S.? I’m not sure, but I definitely have noticed it.
Most of the games produce random concepts/words, require too much American cultural information, or are just too complex for certain ages (k-12).
I design Jeopardy board games for grammar classes. Everything else is mainly for listening/Speaking classes. I have yet to use games for reading and writing classes.
I don’t know how to use games very well in the classroom to facilitate language learning. But, I think it could be a fun and effective way to teach if I had more resources and if I was taught how to use games in the classroom.
I find games highly effective in the classroom. They serve to support much of the material and are invaluable in engaging and motivating students. I am still undecided as to whether games on their own support standard curricular objectives.
I find that games help people talk when they might otherwise feel shy. They provide a structure that allows me to direct the kind of talk. They permit students to try out different English structures in a controlled setting. They can be as competitive or collaborative as I feel is good for the particular group. They often relax people which allows more learning to happen.
students young & old like to have fun in learning. If you can present material and then have them practice it in games, they will learn it better.
Adults need to be playful sometimes. Charades or swat the word games get their bodies moving and renew energy. Also, language should involve a playful, risk-taking element. People who like language (including monolinguals interested in their own language) tend to play games like crossword puzzles because they’re just fascinated by words. This tendency should be encouraged.
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 find games a very helpful way to encourage the quieter student to speak out. Once they have gotten comfortable in a game-like situation, they are more likely to speak in spontaneous conversation. I also create games that practice Do you have…? and Is it…? to help students get comfortable with those sentence types.
Only as effective as the teacher who introduces, models, facilitates and sometimes creates
I have difficulty using games – probably a dour personality. I find it easier to inject humour on an ad hoc basis – although I am constantly told that games work, hear the laughter from classes where they are using games, and admire teachers who can use them effectively. Games/activities always seem to take longer than the resource books say, and sometimes they fall flat when I try them the first time, while other times, I am surprised how much life they inject.
Games are a great way to motivate learning and help students with English language skills. I use many games in my classroom to help students acquire grammar rules, sentence structure, vocabulary, parts of speech, etc. The only missing link to using games is the assessment part.
I am retired now, and I tutor students using the same games I used in the classroom. I find that playing a game is the best way to elicit oral English and to augment the students’ vocabulary — all in a non-stressful way. I start young students with Go Fish using animal cards, and by the time they are in upper grades, I can use Go Fish games with grammar points, i.e. the 3 tenses of irregular verbs for instance.
make them more affordable!
Games make the classroom more exciting for the students. They are more willing to participate and become fully engaged when you use games.
I would be interested in more games involving actions. Info to be projected rather than photocopied might also add more variety and challenge (simple computer type, ex OHP), could also include instructions in the form of a video of people playing the game as a demo.
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.
A teacher needs games to spice things up and get the adrenaline going. Students appear to like it when you cast the present work aside and say let’s have a game!
Any activity – be it a game or any method to stimulate appropriate language is essential in ESL. I tend to use any resiurce that encourages and enhances taling – usually slef made. I do not have access to computers & often need to have resources on hand. A list of suitable websites might enocurage me to borrow the school laptops but I do not have time to trawl through a miriad of sites/resources.
I don’t know of many commercial ESL games.
When using games the learner does not feel as if they are being judged. It is a game , however the use of language may differ to accommodate the needs of the group playing.Talking/listening is such an important aspect of language acquisition from which writing and reading follow. I have for many years had to change and modify commercial games and computer games to suit the needs of the learners or make my own…it would be wonderful to have some ready made ESL games to use.
Because I keep the same format of the Fish game, the focus can be on the new words or concept. It is seen as a reward for after we have written a sentence(s) or whatever ‘task’ we are doing. If you are able to give feedback of what has worked well for others or to give us links to discussion groups or resources that would be great. Being an ESL teacher in a small country town is a fairly lonely task.
The students do not realize that games are learning situations. They use various strategies and metacognition without worrying about a grade.