Games and Activities in the Classroom
Reflective Diary submitted by Augusta, Valencia.
Games and activities are not to be underestimated when teaching English. They shouldn’t be viewed just as something to do just to fill up the time, Games also help the teacher to create contexts in which the language is useful and meaningful.
If I’ve got some spare times in my 40 minutes’ classes I take advantage of it to play little games with my students. I find it helpful because the students feel more relaxed, the lesson gets even more interesting and, in my opinion most important of all, they absorb all this information and vocabulary on which the lesson is based, very quickly and still being able to remember them as time goes on.
Games help and encourage many learners to sustain their interest and work. I try to adapt these kinds of activity according to age and specific needs. Obviously, these must not be done as a last-minute thing because the results might not end up being good: preparing in advance is always the key.
Additionally, preparing just one game might not be enough, because all students are different and they have got different needs. Therefore, I always set aside four, five different activities in the event that one doesn’t work as I’d wished for.
Experienced teachers in the school I worked in had given me some interesting suggestions to use in class:
- For example, I personally like to use the “lie game”. The students have to tell me his/her story by lying to me using the grammar point required for the lesson, and if possible, inserting idioms. If at first they find it difficult to invent a story or they feel a little bit shy I narrate one myself, making it comical for instance, and sometimes exaggerating a little. By doing this I noticed that they become more and more confident and make lots of effort using new vocabulary, going out of their linguistic comfort zone.
- Another game I like to use in class (quite similar to the previous one) involves both me and my students. In turns they have to tell me 4 truths and one lie about any topic and I have to guess what the lie is, giving each of the statement an opinion about why they think that particular sentence is the truth or a lie. My students have found this really enjoyable.
- Certainly, there are many other games and activities applicable to classes. It is up to the teacher to choose them wisely and to make them relevant and enjoyable. They can be used to give practice in all language skills and be used to practice many types of communication.