Teaching English grammar can be exhausting – for the teacher and the students. It doesn’t have to be difficult or painful, however. You can teach English grammar with fun educational games and before you know it, your students will be more than ready. How does that work, you ask. Well, there has been a move away from the traditional methods of teaching English through writing, paraphrasing and worksheets to a more active approach through games. Researchers have also begun studying how and why these new methods work.
Four good reasons to teach grammar with games
1. Arif Saricoban and Esen Metin, authors of Songs, Verse and Games for Teaching Grammar explain how and why games for teaching grammar work in an ESL classroom. They say, “Games and problem-solving activities that are task-based and have a purpose beyond the production of correct language are the examples of the most preferred communicative activities.” They further explain that grammar games help children not only acquire knowledge , but to apply and use what has been learned.
2. Games also have the advantage that students can “extensively practice and internalize vocabulary, grammar and structures”. You can do this because students are often more motivated to play games than to do desk work. Also, during the game, students focus on the activity and subconsciously absorb the language at the end. One can also add that fun educational games usually contain repetition, which makes the language stick.
3. While games are motivating for students, according to Saricoban and Metin, probably the best reason to use games is that “the use of such activities increases both collaboration and competition in the classroom.” Games can be used to create excitement through competition, or games that create a bond between students and teachers.
4. Aydan Ersoz, author of “Six Games for the ESL/EFL Classroom” also explains other reasons why games for grammar lessons work. Learning a language requires constant effort and it can be tiring. Ersoz says games can counteract this because:
* Games that are fun and challenging are very motivating.
* Games allow meaningful use of language in context.
Children are more motivated to learn grammar through games
Intrinsic motivation theory also sheds light on why grammar teaching through games actually works. Intrinsic motivation refers to the internal factors that drive us to do something. Most young learners do not decide internally that they want to learn grammar. They don’t yet understand why it’s important to know the right grammar, so these external factors won’t affect them much either. Instead, intrinsic motivation can result in them being encouraged to play games. If these games are good, they will learn as they play.
Using some movement is crucial, as movement helps activate students’ intellectual abilities and stimulate neural networks, promoting learning and retention. If you have a large class with no space, you still have options. Children can stand up, sit down, move different body parts and hand things to each other. Movement doesn’t just mean that children romp about on the playground.
What types of games work best?
When looking for games to use in your classroom, don’t just pick something that serves as a “time filler” and doesn’t have a clear linguistic outcome. These games can keep students entertained, but if you don’t get a lot of time with them each day, you’ll want your game to double duty to get the most out of the time you spend playing games.
Have a clear linguistic result for each game. The game can be an audio play to allow students to hear a new grammatical structure repeated, or it can be a speaking game to practice the grammar after it has been previously recorded through listening. There are levels of difficulty in speaking games, from simple repetition in a fun context to more creative sentence building for repetition or more advanced practice once the basics are mastered. The teacher should guide the children through this progression so that the game is always easy for the students to understand. This makes playing fun and not tedious. It is a mistake to play a speaking game immediately after introducing the new grammar. Ideally, reading, spelling and writing games come after the new grammar has been picked up and students can use it orally.
In grammar games it is also important to ensure that as many students as possible are involved at the same time. If you have thirty kids, you want to avoid a game where only one kid is talking at a time. What are the other twenty-nine kids to do in the meantime, besides getting bored? At the other end of the scale, however, are games that wreak havoc in the classroom and make teachers unpopular with their peers because of the high levels of noise. In the resource box below the article, you have a variety of suitable games available for free testing.
Now you can stop your students eye-rolling and complaining just thinking about giving them a grammar lesson and have productive fun.
Thanks to Shelley Ann Vernon | #Grammar #lessons #fun #educational #games