Teach English in Shuimo Zhen - Aba Zangzu Qiangzu Zizhizhou —

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Young learners, specifically young children, love to play games. Play based learning is at the core of how all young children grow and learn about language, their environment, how to act, etc. Even when learning their native language, games are essential and make learning fun and enjoyable. As parents, we play pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, Simon Says, Chutes and Ladders, and more. All of these games can be used and adapted in the classroom to aid in learning a second language, English, many times without the children even realizing that they are learning. For the very young learners, we might mainly focus on vocabulary and every day activities as well as very simple sentences. When we are trying to teach our own native speaking toddlers and preschoolers about shapes, letters, numbers, animals, etc, we may use matching games with a lot of pictures. We may also play look and find games to "find the red ball" or "find the lion". We can use these same activities in the classroom with our non-native speakers. These activities will keep the students engaged. We can play these games in small groups or as a whole class. These games can even work on a one to one level. For the elementary age learners, we can use games as motivators. They get to take a turn on Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land if they get a question correct. We could also use toys such as Mr. Potato Head where they can slowly build Mr. Potato Head with each correct answer. As the teacher, you can even turn these games into a competition to see who can build the Mr. Potato Head the first. This type of toy would be a great example for learning basic body parts. Kids love competition and challenges in a fun setting such as this. For slightly older learners learning more advanced vocabulary or topics, more in depth games can be used. Hang-man or crossword puzzles can help with vocabulary. Charades or miming can be a fun game for the slightly older group of kids. It will get them talking in their non-native language as well as having fun. The key to keeping a young learner's attention, especially when they are beginners and do not necessarily know much of the foreign language is to keep things fun and relatable. Many of these games have variations across cultures. Therefore, despite these young learners most likely being unsure about using a new language, they recognize these games, which provides a level of comfort for them. This would then encourage the students to participate using their non-native language, English. Overall, games provide a variety of stimuli and various ways to engage the students. By varying the types of games, we are able to ensure that each student is likely to learn and retain the information we want them to learn as each student is likely to learn in different ways. Games make the learning process memorable. By being active in the classroom, children will retain more information with fewer disruptions due to boredom or lack of focus. No one enjoys doing hours of worksheets and textbook work. It becomes monotonous and children are less likely to fully absorb and be able to use the information they learn if they only do worksheets and textbook work. By including a variety of games in our lessons, we give our students the opportunity to fully absorb the information being taught as well as the chance to actively use what they have learned in a fun and entertaining environment. Games make the language and topics being learned much more relatable. Children are much more likely to be excited to continue to learn their new language when we make their lessons fun and engaging.