Teach English in Bazhou Zhen - Bazhong Shi

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The use of games in an EFL classroom is an important part of learning English for students of all ages. Learning English isn’t just a grammar book and tests. There are a variety of English games that focus on reading, listening, speaking, writing, spelling and even grammar. But teaching is all about balance. If we use too many games in our classrooms, there can be a huge downside. Students might think of English class as playtime, and not all English games have substance. It’s up to me as a teacher to use games in my classroom effectively and to pick the right ones. One of the most important reasons for playing games in the classroom is to take a break from book work. In my classroom at my current school, my students are drowning in too much book work. They have multiple subjects in English and to play English games gives them a chance to use what they learn in the books in an interactive and fun way. My school wants to students to increase their speaking and listening skills. Playing Simon Says or Follow the Leader and other listening games are nice short games that sharpen their listening skills. Speaking relays, Taboo and What’s Missing are great interactive and fun English speaking games that get students to speak with confidence. EFL games can also make grammar fun. Learning grammar rules from a book can be really boring for students and turn them off from being active in class. I use a smart TV in my classroom and love the Match the Memory game online. I can use it with many grammar points such as irregular verbs or plurals and the students in teams have to find the matching cards on the big screen. EFL games create a fun and interactive learning atmosphere. But as with many aspects of our lives, there is also a negative side. Having too much fun or playing too many games can lead to a chaotic classroom. The students can be too loud and it can be difficult for teachers to control. The students can then feel like the teacher is a clown and isn’t a real teacher. Another downside to playing games is the fact that not all games are created equal. Some games are filled with speaking and listening with correct grammar and pronunciation while others are only one word answers and mostly just fun. This is where the teacher comes in and has to have good games to play that help the learning process. Sometimes when a teacher relies heavily on games in the classroom, it can hurt the teacher from a creative standpoint and make them lazy. I have seen teachers who use the exact same game over and over again because they say it’s the only thing that works with their students. But in reality, there are hundreds of great EFL games that can be adapted to be successful with any size group, any age and any level. I can take a game and I can twist and turn it by changing a point system, reward system or grammar point and it becomes something new. With hundreds of games and ideas online or from colleagues, there should be no way a teacher can become lazy when coming up with new classroom games and activities. In conclusion, I firmly believe that games make a students experience interactive and fun while learning English. If students enjoy learning, they can absorb more information and their input and output are increased. But it’s important to understand that games can be abused and hinder the learning process too. A teacher must select the right games and not abuse the time allotted for these fun activities or it can have a negative effect on the children’s learning.