Games in the Classroom


What are ESL games?

ESL games are games that can be used in the classroom to practice certain language points and encourage active and creative communication between your students. There are many different games created specifically for use in the English language classroom that can be found online or in any number of resource books. But we are not limited only to those games designed for the class. The majority of games that we played as children or still play as adults can be adapted and used in lessons. Whether games are co-operative or competitive, they provide students with a goal and in the English classroom this goal can only be reached by using the English they have learnt.

Common Misconceptions about games in the classroom.

"Games are fun but are not suitable for the classroom."

Plenty of research shows that this is not the case. Games provide a fun and relaxed atmosphere in which students are better able to recall language they already know and retain new language. Rather than being seen as just a warmer or time filler games should be seen as an integral part of the ESL lesson.

"Games are only for children."

Adults enjoy playing games in the classroom and appreciate a break from the everyday routine of a lesson as much as anyone. Care should be taken to choose age appropriate games but there is no reason why you shouldn t incorporate them into your adult learner classes.

Examples of games created specifically for ESL:

Word Up Hot Seat Board Race The Box Game

How should they be used?

Games must be used for a purpose in the classroom. There is little point in having students play chess in silence for 15 minutes or talk to each other in their own language throughout the game. Whether you are using a game as a warmer, as controlled practice of a language point or to encourage creative, spontaneous production of the language, there must be a reason for using the game in your lesson.

Examples of everyday games that can be adapted for the classroom: Pictionary Guess Who? Top Trumps Blockbusters Battleships

What are good resources for ESL games, both specific ESL and real-world games?

There are many books that contain communication games designed specifically for ESL lessons and most good language schools will have a variety to choose from in their resource centres. Websites such as Bogglesworldesl have many downloadable games covering a wide range of topics and language points. Other sites provide games that can be played online. Head to your local toy shop to find real games not designed for the classroom. Almost all can be used in your lessons in some way all you need is a little imagination. Lastly, you can always get out the craft materials and make your own. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your students enjoy a game you have created with your own hands.

Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

This unit covered many different methods for teaching a foreign language with a focus on the ESA (engage, study, activate) approach. Although all of the other theories and methods were valid, the ESA approach was able to include all of these methods into a dynamic and stimulating lesson plan. This unit gave a lot of valuable examples of actual activities to use in the classroom.In this Unit I learned about teaching productive skills such as speaking and writing including games. I learned the difference between accuracy and fluency skills and their importance. I also learned about speaking activities in the classroom, how to encourage students to speak and techniques to encourage interaction. I also learned about a typical free/creative activity lesson.