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26.07.2018

An educational game is an activity with rules, a goal and element of fun which is an integral part of any language syllabus.  There are two kinds of educational games: competitive games, in which players or teams race to be first to reach goal, and co-operative games, in which players or teams work together towards common goal.

As every teacher knows, games can be adapted up or down: a more difficult game may be a stimulating communication challenge for lower level students, requiring them to stretch the little language they have to the limit to complete the task successfully, while a relatively easy game that focuses on a particular structure may be useful even for higher form students as revision or error correction. In general, though, they have been written to fit in with the functions and structures that most students will encounter at 8th or 9th form.

The games make use of a variety of techniques. Variety is important in language teaching, and a succession of games based on the same principles, though exciting and novel at first, would soon pall. Technique used include information gap, guessing, search, matching, exchanging, collecting, combining, arranging and card games, board games, problems and puzzles, role play and simulation techniques. Here are given some techniques of games which  can be useful  in your each lesson.

  1. Search games are one of the variants, involving the whole class. In these games everyone in the class has one piece of information. Players must obtain all or a large amount of the information available to fill in a questionnaire or to solve a problem. Each student is thus simultaneously a giver and a collector of information. Example:

Game: “Whose?”

Dynamic: Whole class

Time: 20 minutes

Function practiced: describing people

Exponent: whose, present simple, wh — questions, yes/no questions

Lexical areas: family, hobbies, pets, likes and dislikes

Procedure: 1. Make one copy of questionnaire for each student in the class.

  1. Leave the questionnaire completely blank so that the students fill in both names and information(in which case students will be asking wh—questions) or you can fill in the names of the students in the class, so that students have to find something out about specific people in the class (but make sure the students you specify do have brothers, dogs, heroes, etc.). In this case, students will also be asking wh-questions. The third variant is to fill the information, but not the names (for examples, …is a student whose mother has brown eyes) so that students have to find the peole described. In this case students will be asking yes/no questions. When you have prepared the questionnaires, give one to each student in the class.
  2. The object of the game is to complete the questionnaire. To do this, students will have to move around the class, asking each other questions until they have enough information to complete the questionnaire.

As they finish, ask students to sit own in pairs and give each pther a quiz on information they have gathered (for example Whose dog is called Olapar? Tell me the name of the student whose pet hate is spiders, etc.).

  1. Matching games are based on a different principles, but also involve a transfer og information. These games involve matching corresponding pairs of cards or pictures, and may be played as a whole class activity, where everyone must circulate until they find a partner with a corresponding card or picture; or as a pair work or small group activity, where players must choose pictures or cards from a selection to match those chosen by their partner from the same selection; or as a card game on the “snap: principles. Example:

Game: “Future snap”

Dynamic: Small groups

Function practiced: talking about the future

Exponent: Future time clauses, going to, present continuous, will, will be –ing, will have –ed

Lexical areas: go ahead with, be ready to, make money, etc.

Procedure: 1. Copy and cut up one set of cards for each group. The cards should be shuffled and dealt out equally to all the players. Player 1 should begin by taking any first half sentence, reading it out and laying it on the table. The other players should try to find a second half to complete the sentence. The first player to find an appropriate second half may collect the two cards and keep them as a “trick”.

2. The object of the game is to collect as many ‘tricks’ as possible. The player with the most at the end is the winner. Several combinations of half  sentences are possible, though some are more “likely” than others. To score a “trick”, the combination must make sense (for example, As soon as I arrive, I’ll tell him what I think of him is possible, but As soon as I arrive, I’ll have left the country is not) and be grammatically correct. In cases of dispute, the teacher should arbitrate.

  1. The simplest activities are based on the information gap principle. In these activities Student A has access to some information which is not held by Student B. Student B must acquire this information to complete a task successfully. This type of game may be one-sided, as in the above example, or reciprocal, where both players have information which they must pool to solve a common problem. The games may be played in pairs or in small groups, where all the members of the group have some information. Example:

Game: “Yuck!”

 Dynamic: pairwork/small group

Function practiced: describing feelings

Exponent: It makes me + adjective, It makes me + verb(+adjective)

Lexical areas: feeling, happy, sad, miserable, cold, drunk, excited, uncomfortable, laugh, cry, warm, hot, calm, nervous, tired, fat, hungry, bored, lonely, frightened, shiver, depressed, worried, anxious

Version 1:

Students play the game in pairs. Make one copy of the  prepared sheet of pictures for each students in class. Leave the number of sheets intact, but cut up the others. Divide the students into pairs. Give student A the intact sheet of pictures, and  tell him/her to look at it, but not to show it to student B. Give student B the cut up pictures. Student A should describe his/her reaction each of the pictures in order, for example, It makes me sad, It makes me feel warm nd happy, etc.  Student B should select the pictures described by student A and arrange them in order. The object of the game is for student B to arrange the picture in right order.

Version 2:

This version can be played in small groups of three or four. Copy and cut up one set of pictures for each group. The cards should be placed face down in the middle of the group. Player 1 takes the first card and describes his/her reaction to it (It makes me happy, sad, fat, etc.). The others try to guess what the object is. The player who guesses correctly may keep the card. The object of the game is to collect as many cards as possible.

Parvina OMONOVA

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