Using games is one of the most important way to teach efficiently in a language class. Games mean the world to children. Nothing is more fun than playing games for them because they feel happy and free while playing. Remember when you were a child,you will remember the games you played and the happiest moments of your life.
It does not matter indoor or outdoor,we can not deny the importance of games. If students learn with games,have fun,feel happy and free, it means that you have reached your goals. Games strengthen language skills,besides, learners develop social skills and good relationships while they interact with each others.
Do not only get learners to play indoors games. It is useful to try outdoor games whenever the weather is nice. For example even we know board games as indoor games,you can use them in the open air. If there are garden seats outside in the playground,you can use them as desks. Even the idea of going out will make the students excited. They have already got tired and bored of sitting and being in the same class and desks. As soon as you say’’Let’s go to the playground,it’s game time’’they will go down the stairs two by two.
Whatever your goal is(speaking,grammar points,vocabulary) you must believe that every game you have students play, is much more useful than tons of exercises and worksheets and you get more positive results than anything else.
If you ask how often I should use games, do not worry about this. You should not put a fixed time for games.Most teachers keep songs and games for Fridays.You should always have a ready-to-use game in your pocket.When you feel that children are bored and tired,take them out and use them.You can get students to play short games (for 10 or15 minutes)to refresh your little ones.You do not lose time,on the contrary you win.Another thing you should remember ,if you put the games you use for each unit in your yearly plan,it will be helpful for you.
Generally group games are more useful. They are competetive and children come closer with each other. With the feeling of coming first they often have a look at their books or notebooks before a game. Sometimes you should mix the groups during a game so they can play with different ones.But you should be careful about the dose of the rivalry ,if the feeling is high,you may start The World War III .
Because young learners are more energetic and active they enjoy exciting games. But teenagers do not like childish games. They prefer more challenging ones such as word games. I would like to give an example of the word games I used. At the end of a unit to consolidate the vocabulary you taught,take your students outside to the basketball field. Do not divide them to groups. The whole class should join the activity. If you have 20 or 25 students,this game works well.Write the revised vocabulary items on small cards.(One word for one card.)Put these cards into a hat or a bag. Have the students make a line in front of the basket- ring.Give the basketball to the first student.Let him/her draw a card out of the hat. First ask him/her the meaning of the word. (Either in English or in their native language,it is up to you.)If you get the correct answer give him/her one point. Then want him/her to make a sentence with the word. If she/he knows again,give another one point.The last step:Let him/her pass the ball through the basket-ring. You should give one point for one of the three tasks. Whoever gets the highest point,he/she wins.Of course there may be more than one winner.
One important point in teaching English with games is rewarding. You should not neglet this point. Everyone who succeeds a hard task would like some praise or a gift. I know you always praise your students. But giving small presents motivates them. They do not have to be expensive ones. According to your learners’ ages you can give them different presents. For your teenagers you can make CDs which have popular pop songs or another suitable gift can be a second-hand graded reader. If you play English games with young learners very often,you should think of your budget. They can be happy with small things. Have a beautiful,colourful bag with some sweets,candies and small chocolates in it to give to the winners.
One problem with using games in the classroom is that some teachers feel lazy. They often complain that they do not enough time to prepare the games. Surely,some games need preparation and time. If a game needs some stationery(such as some cardboard,paste crayons,etc.),it really takes some time. On the other hand there some easy games that do not need any preparation.If you have an archive with instructions of games in your personal file,you do not have to look for them when you need.
In conclusion, using games is an efficient way to teach English in the classroom. This way you get the best results in the classroom.It arises students’ motivation. Games prepare young learners for life and they acquire positive social attitudes. Games teach sharing,helping each other and working as a team. A child learns by doing,living,trying and imitating. So this kind of learning is lasting. During games some feelings such as the pleasure of winning and the ambition of losing may arise. This gives to the teacher an idea about student’s character.So games are must-have activities for hardworking teachers.