“To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.” - Chinese Proverb
Would you like to include more games in your language classes?
Like a lot of teachers have realised, fun resources are not only better for the classroom environment, they can teach students more effectively. Whether you’re teaching French, Spanish, or English as a foreign language, any language can be taught more effectively through enjoyable activities.
Let’s have a look at the best way to include games in your language lessons.
Games You Can Make Yourself for Language Classes
To include games in your language lessons, you need to follow these three steps:
- Firstly, adapt your lessons to the age and level of the students.
- Give the students clear and concise explanations.
- Don’t interfere too much as the students are playing.
In primary school, you can combine language learning with other activities, especially tasks like cutting, colouring, writing, etc. to develop motor skills at the same time as linguistic skills.
Here are a few activities and educational games your students could use to improve their language skills and learn new vocabulary.
As the name suggests, this is a great game for remembering new information. You just need sheets of paper, pens, and some scissors.
- Ask your students to cut an even number of 5x5cm cards.
- On half the cards, write the words to learn in the target language on half of the cards and write their equivalents in English on the other half.
Turn the cards over one by one and if they have a matching pair, they can keep them, if not, turn the cards back over so they can’t see what’s written on them. The winner is the student with the greatest number of pairs.
This simple game is a classroom classic!
You can turn the classic game Connect 4 into an activity for students to practise languages.
Put students into pairs and ask them to do the following:
- Create a 7x7 table to be used to play Connect 4.
- In each square of the table, write the translation of a word from the vocabulary lists students are trying to learn.
On each turn, students will place a counter as if they were playing Connect 4. However, unlike the physical game of Connect 4, students will have to say the translation in the target language before they can place a counter on a given square. If they’re correct, they can keep their counter there. If they’re wrong, they lose their turn. Continue just like a real game of Connect 4. The first person to have 4 counters in a row wins.
This game can be used to work on spelling, pronunciation, and vocabulary and is particularly useful for beginners.
The Toy Box
This is often used in preschool or nursery classes as it allows students to start learning a second language.
It can also be used for very young students in their first language.
Just take a box and place various objects in it:
- A teddy bear
- A plastic bottle
- A book
To win, the child has to guess the object through touch alone without looking.
This game can help students to identify objects and learn vocabulary in a foreign language or their mother tongue and you can make it so they only win if they can guess.
For very young children, you’ll need larger objects that they’ll be very familiar with.
Card Games for Language Classes
Affordable, light, and timeless, card games are really useful in language classes.
They’re also great for breaking the ice and creating a relaxed atmosphere in a classroom filled with new students.
Here’s a great game for using your language skills and learn new vocabulary.
To play this game, you need to write words in the target language on cards and describe the words (without saying them) so that your classmate can guess the word.
Players aren’t allowed to use certain synonyms or related words. For example, if the word was animal, they mightn’t be able to say:
The goal is for players to use their language skills to describe the word so clearly that their partner or classmate can easily guess it.
Taboo is a multiplayer game that’s regularly amongst the best-selling games in a lot of different countries.
Boardgames to Improve Language Skills
In schools, colleges, and even universities, board games are being used to teach students more about languages.
You don’t need really expensive games for students to enjoy their lessons.
Whether it’s in foreign language classes or EFL classes, board games are a useful learning tool.
Students are never too old to learn through play and here are some of the best board games for language students.
The goal is simple: guess the mystery person through a process of elimination by asking yes/no questions about their physical traits.
This is a great game for learning how to formulate closed questions and since the only text in the game is the names of the characters, it doesn’t matter which version you have. You can easily adapt this to any language, even though the characters’ names won’t match.
Does Monopoly need an introduction?
The goal of this popular board game is to make as much money as possible through buying property and is played by friends and families all over the world.
It’s great for learning various nouns in any language while also learning some economic vocabulary. Similarly, there are plenty of different versions for different towns, places, and franchises.
Choose the version that’s right for what you’re teaching.
This memory game can be played with between 4 and 12 players which means most of the class can play in a single game.
There are 40 cards including fictional characters and common names and you have to make your partner guess them as quickly as possible. You can use descriptions, mime, and any technique you can think of to make them guess, but for language classes, it’s a good idea to make them use their linguistic skills.
There are also several other games that you can play or adapt to language lessons:
- And many others.
Learning through games can be as fun for the students as the teacher so don’t hesitate to include games in your lessons; your students will appreciate it.
If you need some help, why not get some from a private tutor on Superprof?
Whether you're looking to improve your language skills or learn new teaching approaches, private tutoring is an excellent way to learn exactly what you want, when you want.
On the Superprof website, you can find tutors offering face-to-face tutoring, group classes, or online tutoring and each comes with some important advantages and disadvantages you'll want to consider.
Face-to-face tutorials are particularly effective as the tutor will focus on you and your learning, but they'll also tend to charge more per session as they have to plan and tailor each lesson to each student and, in some cases, travel to each of their students' home. Fortunately, you'll get a bespoke learning experience, making these types of lessons among the most cost-effective.
Group tutoring is excellent if you're on a budget and are particularly useful for language lessons. While having a tutor all to yourself to practise your language skills can be useful, having a group of similarly able students in a class allows everyone to practise with different people and learn from one another.
If you can't find any suitable or available tutors in your local area, don't forget that you can always broaden your search to online include tutors from all over the world. With foreign languages, this is also useful as you'll always find greater numbers of tutors teaching the language you want to learn in the country where it's most commonly spoken.
In any case, a lot of the tutors on the Superprof website offer the first lesson for free so try a few of them out before deciding on which one is right for you and what you need to learn. Rather than just contacting every tutor, though, think about what you're looking for in a tutor first, read the reviews from their other students, and check that their lessons are within your budget first.
You could be spending a lot of time with this person so make sure that you get on well with one another and that they have the skills that you're looking for!
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