Using Games In English Class

One of the most common complaints by students is that they are playing games in their English classes when they should be doing serious study. Most teachers do not listen very carefully to those complaints, because serious study and playing games can often be the same thing and most teaching experts agree that games are sometimes useful. If you still have the opinion that there are too many games in your English class and you want the teacher and school to listen carefully to your complaints, before you say anything you will need to check that in your class the bad reasons below are true and the good reasons are not.

More controlled practice
There is a limit to how many times you can repeat the same grammar or sentence before your brain switches off. With some games, however, it is possible to repeat the same language many more times in interesting ways and so improve your ability to produce next time you have a real conversation in English.

Fun and memory
When you are having fun the language that you hear and use is more likely to make an impression on your memory and so be easy to recall in the future.

Class spirit
Many classroom games help students to get to know each other and learn to work together. The team spirit this produces improves your motivation to come to class and do your best, and so helps increase your English skills.

Knowing when you are doing well
When you are speaking a foreign language it is very difficult to know when you are speaking well and when you are speaking badly. In a game with points it is much clearer when you have done well.

Sometimes you need waking up before your brain is ready to absorb new language, and the best way of doing this is usually with a short game.

Using different parts of your brain
Normal classroom learning usually uses your memory quite a lot for vocabulary learning etc, and also sometimes uses the logical parts of your brain for things like working out grammar rules. If you can also engage other parts of your brain with things like drawing, hand eye coordination and music, this will help you learn the language more fully. The easiest way of bringing these things into class is usually language games.

A natural way of learning
Although most people are aware that babies learn a language naturally by copying people around them and then interacting, what is less commonly remembered is that children spend a lot of time just playing around with the language with fun with things like nonsense words, puns and skipping rhymes. Adults need the same playful and creative attitude to the language they are learning to motivate themselves and really get to feel like they have mastered it.

Competition and motivation
For some reason, people run much faster when they are running next to someone else. The same is true of language learning, and games make these feelings of competitiveness come out and so make you work harder to produce more complex and/ or accurate language.

Most students like games
It may be that the other students in your class are happy to do games, perhaps because they are less motivated to learn English and so tend to lose concentration if they don’t have a short term goal like getting points. As long as each game has a serious teaching point, there is no reason why more serious and less serious students can’t both gain from playing it.

Just like a sport or martial art, in order to master a language you need to approach it in many different ways. If you rule out any things that could be considered games, this really cuts down on the number of different ways you can try to improve your reading, listening, writing and speaking skills.

Remembering the language by the game
Sometimes the best way of remembering language is picturing the place or the conversation that you first heard it in. As the people and place in the classroom are usually the same, the teacher can make each lesson, and therefore each item of language introduced in that lesson, more individually memorable. One of the best methods is using different games each week.

On FinQuiz, we focus on specific English language topics such the alphabet and grammar while finding ideas for ESL lesson plans based around topics such as holidays and travel. Find a wide range of free teaching resources that are perfect for students learning English, ESL classes and teachers looking for ideas online. Enjoy interactive games, classroom activities, printable worksheets and much more. Improve your English skills with a range of interactive English games covering topics such as reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary. Find printable English quizzes that cover important topics such as verbs, adjectives, nouns, synonyms and antonyms as well as general quizzes that are great for ESL classes.


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