Using Games to Make Language Learning Interesting, Innovative, and Fun

Games are Useful in Language Learning

We can successfully use games in the language learning classroom to teach and practice numerous skills including:

o Vocabulary

o Spelling

o Grammar and structure

o Idioms and expressions

o Pronunciation

o Listening and speaking

Factors Affecting Choice of Games

What kinds of games we can use will depend on their intended purpose. Whether it’s to introduce a topic, practice a particular skill or aspect, or reinforce previous learning topics games help by providing much-valued practice while effectively lowering the affective filter of the students (Krashen and Terrell, 1993). Other factors which can impact our choice of games are:

o The number of students

o The size of the classroom

o Classroom environmental aspects

o Length of time

o Materials, realia or aids available

Kinds of Games

We can vary the kinds of games considerably to help our students to make learning interesting, innovative and more fun. Useful and commonly-practiced games available for almost all teaching and learning venues consist of:

o Board games

o TPR and physical movement games

o Inter-active games

o Strategy games

o Online and computer games

Create Good Language Learners

By using a wide variety of language learning games in the EFL or ESL classroom the teacher is able to promote a number of qualities which positively contribute to a lowered affective filter and improved language acquisition. You should include games among your strategies to promote these qualities that make for a good language learner (Rubin, 1975)

o Willing and accurate guessing

o Language related Risk-taking

o Uninhibited communication

o Spontaneous language practice

o Self-monitoring of speech

o Attention to language meaning

Where and How

Where you can get an ongoing variety of pre-produced games, how to use them creatively in the EFL or ESL classroom and techniques for creating your own games customized to meet the needs of your students will be discussed in future postings.

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