Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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:

• Vocabulary
• Spelling
• Grammar and structure
• Idioms and expressions
• Pronunciation
• 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:

• The number of students
• The size of the classroom
• Classroom environmental aspects
• Length of time
• 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:

• Board games
• TPR and physical movement games
• Inter-active games
• Strategy games
• 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)

• Willing and accurate guessing
• Language related risk-taking
• Uninhibited communication
• Spontaneous language practice
• Self-monitoring of speech
• 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 depend on your learners’ location.
If you'd like some samples to try out on your learners just e-mail me with "ELT game samples" as the subject.

Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on the lucrative, fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign Language, get your copy of his no-cost, full multi-media, hypertext-linked pdf ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know” by sending an e-mail to with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. Need professional, original content and photos or images for your blog, newsletter, e-zine or website? Want more information, have a comment or special request? E-mail the author for a prompt response.

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