Games play an important role in teaching english
. They are encouraging, motivating and enjoyable part of the learning process. It makes the whole learning process more fun.
Almost any game can be adapted for learning purposes. For example, “Pictionary”, can give students an opportunity to revise their passive vocabulary, learn new words. “Twister” can help to learn different colors and parts of body, etc.
It’s so much easier to learn new material playing games.
There are different types of games that can be used in different stages of the lesson. Some of them can be used in Engage Stage, some of them in Study Phase and others can be used in Activate Stage.
The following games are good for Engage stage. It’s useful to keep in mind such games and play them as warmers at the beginning of the lesson, to make students english
language oriented and interested.
- Charades (when you have to act, mime the action or object and the students have to guess what this is).
- I spy…
- I’m going to the camp…
- Anonymous questionnaire (write the questions
to students, without writing your name at the end of the paper, put in the box, and then pull them out and ask students questions
, they have to answer them).
- Truth or Dare (ask students questions
and if they can’t give you an answer make them do something funny).
- Tongue Twisters
“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?”
“Frogfeet, flippers, swimfins.”
“Why do you cry, Willy?
Why do you cry?
Why, Willy? Why?”
“A sad story about Nobody”
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did, what Anybody could have done.”
Many games can be used in a Study stage of the lesson:
- Word Search
- Fill the gaps
- Match with the pictures
- Memory games
You can encourage students to learn new words, think of passive english
words they already know, but they might forget. You can make up any games to make them learn the new grammar easily and with joy!
There are thousands of games which can be used in Activate Stage of the lessons.
They are the following:
- Role- Plays ( It puts students in the situation close to a real communicative situation where they get exposed to the language, and are free to speak as much as they can. Role-Play cards can be used at every lesson in the speaking phase of the lesson and they can be easily adapted to any topic of the lesson and any grammar material).
- Play debates/discussion (Make your students have as much speaking time as possible in the time frame of the lesson. It teaches them to give their point of view, think creatively, and be flexible with language they use.)
- Communicative games ( For example, Monopoly, Clue, Taboo, etc. Playing these games students develop their communicative skills)
- Story telling games (This helps students to develop their imagination, improve their writing and speaking skills. They can be creative and comfortable using language they’ve learnt).
- Ball Games (You can adapt ball games to become the language games. These games are very productive for all ages of students, especially for young learners
Here are some of my favorite learning games to play in the classroom:
Stop the Bus – you hang out the list with categories to the students (boys names, girls names, animals, food, random items, classroom items, sports, countries). You give them a first letter and they have to feel all the categories with the words starting with this letter. Whenever one of the teams is ready, the shout” Stop the bus!!” It means game is over for other teams, who have to put the markers down. Then we check their lists and give them points.
I went to the shops - This is a classic memory game where each person adds a new item to the list in alphabetical order.
Happy Graph - Although not really a ‘game’ this is a valuable warmer activity for any teenage class. It gives the students the chance to get to know you a little more and it gives you the opportunity to find out about how your students are feeling before you start your lesson.
Draw the two axis of a graph on the board with 7 spaces along the bottom and three along the vertical side with three circles. Ask students what they think the spaces are for and elicit the days of the week for the horizontal axis (with today being the final one and working backwards for a week) and put three faces in the circles, the top one very happy, the middle one looking unimpressed and the bottom one looking sad. Tell students this is a Happy Graph and then plot your own moods on the graph for the last week. Connect them up and then tell students about your week and let them ask you some questions
. For example, ‘Why were you really happy last Sunday?’ ‘Because I went out with some friends for lunch and we had a really good time.’ Then students do the same and ask each other questions
in pairs about their weeks.
Talking topics - This simple board game provides an excellent way to give students a bit of free speaking practice. You can choose your own topics either based on the topics you've covered in lessons or topics that you think will be of interest to your students.
Print off a copy of the board (the board game is attached in the letter) and fill in the squares with topics your students could talk about for one minute. Choose topics they’ve covered in classes with you or general ones such as friends, family, music, TV, hobbies, last weekend, next weekend, holidays, english
classes (!), food, films etc. etc. You could also add in a few ‘go back three spaces’ or ‘miss a go’ squares.
Making the game could be a class activity if you ask your students to prepare the boards for each other in groups then they can swap boards and you’ll have a whole class set to use.
If talking for a minute is too difficult for your students, they can write questions
in the squares to ask the person to their right/left as they move around the board.
If you don’t have dice to use, use a coin and make heads mean they move on one space and tails they move on two. This will obviously take longer than with a dice.
If your students enjoy playing board games they could make their own in small groups.
Hot seat - This is a good activity for getting your students going in the morning. It is also excellent for revising vocabulary.
Split your class into different teams
Sit the students facing the board.
Then take an empty chair - one for each team - and put it at the front of the class, facing the team members. These chairs are the 'hot seats'
Write the word clearly on the board.
The aim of the game is for the students in the teams to describe that word, using synonyms, antonyms, definitions etc. to their team mate who is in the hot seat - that person can't see the word!
The student in the hot seat listens to their team mates and tries to guess the word.
The first hot seat student to say the word wins a point for their team.
Talking points -
You need scraps of paper and dice for this activity. You will need 12 bits of paper and two dice for each group of between 3 and 6 students.
Put the students into groups and ask each group to write 12 topics they are interested in on the scraps of paper.
Tell the students to put the bits of paper face down on the table and to write the numbers 1 to 12 on the side facing up.
Give each group two dice. Students take turns to throw the dice, they turn over the corresponding bit of paper and the whole group talks for two minutes about that topic.
After two minutes call out ‘throw again'. If a different number comes up they turn over that paper and change topic, if it's the same number they keep talking about the same topic for another two minutes.
You can play any entertaining game with the use of english
language topics and new grammar materials. Games get students excited and motivated. The lessons should be entertaining and encouraging students to study enjoying the learning process. As a teacher
I can assure you that game method is one of the most successful ones that can be implemented in the classroom.
List of the Literature used:
1. 1st International Collection of Tongue Twisters
2. www.puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com puzzles, lessons plans.
INTERNATION COURSE – Unit 3. Theories, methods and techniques.
4. Teaching english
Games British Council –
Games - www.tefl