Games in the ESL Classroom

The Importance of using Games in the ESL Classroom

As an educator, using games and play as part of my lessons is one of the most interactive strategies to promote success in a language class.  I achieve the best results and get everyone to participate and be engaged.  I believe games have a significant meaning to children because they feel happy, natural, and free, while playing.  They become ‘themselves’, forgetting they are at school.

Through play, children not only develop their physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills, but also put into practice the language skills they have learned.  With anecdotal and other unobtrusive observational techniques, I note what I see and hear from this natural interaction to guide my lesson planning, e.g., students have difficulty with prepositions, directions, or taking turns.

Benefits of Games - Campbell
Play teaches children to be cooperative and work as a team.  It encourages them to experience, imitate, learn and follow rules.  I see it as a practical type of learning.  I use songs, chants, card games, drama, bingo… all in context to help them attain a better grasp of the language they are learning.  I also incorporate technology with iPad apps with differentiated activities to suit various learning styles.


Also, I typically praise my students with small rewards (stickers, a pencil) to motivate them. They really enjoy learning English in an environment where lesson variety alternates between movement, music, seat work, drama, games, centers, and quiet time.  It’s common to hear groans from the class when the period is up because they’ve had so much enriching interaction with my subject.


Students understand my classroom is a place where they are free from judgement, encouraged to take risks, and are allowed/encouraged to make mistakes… all part of a healthy, happy individual’s life.


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