Teaching Through Games

When I look back at my school years, my English classes usually were the fun classes. We would do everything from watching cartoons, to covering the history of rock n’ roll and watching television shows. To add to the fun, the best teachers would have us play games like “Simon Says” and “Hangman”. I thought the whole thing was great : recess while still in class. Life was sweet… Little did I know that, through these games, I was actually learning. Years later, I understood a very important thing: I tend to perform better and be more motivated when I am enjoying myself. As a future teacher, I believe that the same logic applies to all individuals; if people are enjoying themselves, they will perform better and be more motivated.

As a matter of fact, two researchers from the University of Hong Kong made the same claim and came up with interesting conclusions. During the course of their research, they studied two groups of engineering students who were taking English classes. One group was playing on line games in order to learn vocabulary, while the other did not. The group of learners who played games not only enjoyed themselves more than their counterparts, but they were also more motivated and had better results in the end. It seems that it isn’t just kids who wannah have fun in class!

As I looked on the internet and on Youtube, most online educational activities are aimed at children. I think that there should be more activities aimed at teenagers, especially since it is harder to motivate this group of learners. Most sites I have visited, tend to the needs of children aged 3 to 12. One site that is great for an older audience is the “Educational” section of the Nobel Prize site. The activities cover the subjects rewarded by a Nobel Prize (physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace and economics) and help learners know all sorts of facts about these subjects and the Nobel Prize Recipients of each category.

I feel like I need to study this some more but that there are great possibilities for a class. Furthermore, some games that are aimed at a younger audience, can work with older learners (Online Hangman anyone?). Using online games can boost the learners’ motivation and enjoyment of their English class which will translate into better results. Is there a better way to learn than when you acquire knew knowledge without realizing it? I don’t think so. As long I am concerned, teachers should explore the possibility of incorporating online games to their lesson plans, I know I will.

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