Why do we use games:
- Games enhance language learning.
- They help children acquire language in a very relaxed, meaningful, fun and non-threatening atmosphere.
- They impart language in a more interesting, exciting and motivating way.
- They help the learning of many aspects of language, such as vocabulary, grammar, and language patterns.
- They provide an authentic reason for children to use the foreign language.
- They are valuable for teaching children important values such as respecting others and social skills such as taking leadership roles.
Advantages of Using Games in the Primary English Classrooms
- Fun: Create an atmosphere where children enjoy learning
- Interaction: Provide opportunities for children, even the shy ones, to be engaged in speaking and listening activities
- Practice and repetition: Give meaningful practice and repetition of language in a fun atmosphere.
- Following rules: Help children learn the discipline of respecting rules
- Respecting others: Assist children in learning to respect each other’s roles
- Leadership: Provide opportunities for children to learn and practice leadership roles
- Success: If designed well, games should provide all children with successful experiences
- Feedback: Can also be designed to give learners immediate feedback on the correctness and comprehensibility of their language
- Active, hands-on participation: Enable children to be actively engaged with one another and with hands-on materials
- Risk-taking: Help learners to take risks - to try out language for the fun of it without fear of marks or mistakes
Language Skills Improved through the Use of Games
- Reading: Children can learn and/or practice reading words, signs and instructions as part of a game.
- Writing: Learners can write words, draw shapes, compose messages or write the results of a game.
- Listening: Pupils can practice listening to instructions, listening to one another and learning to focus.
- Speaking/Arguing: Children can learn to use spoken language for a variety of purposes appropriate in different contexts. They can learn to ask questions, to clarify meaning and negotiate with their peers.
- Classifying and Sequencing: Pupils can learn to organize language in a variety of ways, for example by categories, time sequence, or order of importance.
- Study Skills: Children can be motivated to study aspects of language for better retention and to develop effective language study techniques.
Criteria for Designing Games:
What are considerations for designing games?
- Objectives. Why should children play this game? What language will be introduced?
- Format. What form should the game take? Will the class time be spent using the target language?
- Materials. What materials are needed for the game? Can students help make them?
- Suitability. Is the game suitable for the age group? e.g. younger learners, for example, might prefer more cooperative games to more competitive ones.
- Instructions. Are the instructions for the game clear and easy to follow? Do I model the game activities for my pupils?
- Feedback. Who will check the answers in the game 1 will it be the teacher, a student, a group, or an answer key?
Feedback: Letting students know about the quality of their responses - right, wrong, complete, incomplete, etc.
Hands-on: Involving students actively, often with teaching aids which they can actually use.
Study skills: Ways that students can monitor and enhance their own learning (Learning how to figure out new words, how to memorize quickly, how to plan study time, how to organize one's writing are all examples of them.)
Criteria (singular: criterion): Standards or measures of effectiveness. For example, clarity is an important criterion for the instructions for a game. A criterion for successful learning might be if 80% of the pupils pass the test.