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Why Children Learn Faster with English Language Games
There is nothing that engages children more than teaching
English through play. Indeed a bored class will take in
less than half of what a teacher says and retain none of
it. Whereas an attentive, interested and involved class,
learning through fun English Language games, will take in
100% of the lesson and retain up to 80% of it. Using
language games in class has got to be one of the most
exciting ways to teach children English.
It is well documented that English language games enhance
learning and with children are one of the most effective
classroom tools. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huyen and Khuat Thi Thu
Nga, authors of Learning Vocabulary Through Games: The
Effectiveness of Learning Through Games, report that 'The
interviewed teacher reported that their students seemed to
learn new vocabulary more quickly and retain it better when
it was applied in a relaxed and comfortable environment such
as while playing games'. Words, as we all know, are the
very building blocks of language. If a child can rapidly
learn and retain significant amounts of new vocabulary
using games, then no wonder teachers are seeking to use
English language games more and more in their classrooms
all over the world.
That is why it is shocking to see comments on forums where
teachers suggesting that teaching with games is frivolous
or not really productive. This is an outdated perception
and these teachers would benefit from being shown some of
the new language games used in English classrooms today.
These games are effective and are guaranteed to obtain
better results than traditional teaching methods.
Teachers will also ask 'Can one teach all the time with
English language games, or does one use them for a few
minutes at the end of the lesson as a reward?' Now if you
think about this question its absurdity may become apparent
to you. Why would you deny children the learning experience
they prefer? Furthermore, why would you ration out the use
of a great learning tool to a few minutes at the end?
Would you not want, instead, to maximize your time using
the most effective teaching method, and the one which your
students enjoy the most. Do you think your pupils prefer
to sit there passively while little Susie reads stumblingly
through paragraph one, or do you think the class would
prefer to be involved in an exciting language game where
everyone has the chance to use the words in paragraph one?
Surely the method where the whole class is actively involved
in hearing and using English is going to be the winner as
far as capturing interest and encouraging language
Importantly English language games give students a reason
to communicate, and a context for speaking practise.
Repetition is the mother of skill but constant, meaningless
parrot-fashion repetition is not going to go down well with
your pupils. Therefore the repetition needed for language
to stick can be attractively packaged in a game and pass
unnoticed as students focus on the process of the game
itself, all the while using the language in a relaxed and
above all fun environment.
As competition can be a part of English games, but does not
need to be, it is one way of enhancing interest and
motivation in class, as Karen deBord points out in the
Asian EFL Journal (December 2003). DeBord, an Extension
Specialist for Rural Child Care at Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University-Blacksburg, explains how
competition can help students learn more. 'As long as no
one is forced to participate, competition can be positive
and encourage player discovery, examination and learning.'
Creating the right type of language games can foster this
healthy, beneficial competition in the classroom.
Last but by no means least is the bond you will create with
your pupils when teaching with ESL games. This is surely
the most fulfilling part of being a teacher. Disseminating
knowledge is a privilege, but to disseminate love AND
knowledge has got to be even better.
Shelley Vernon has helped 1000s of teachers be an
inspiration to their pupils and achieve results 2x as fast.
Improve the effectiveness of your lessons by up to 80%.
Receive free English language games now on