Skip to content

5 Reasons to Use Games in the Classroom

Written by


I have always enjoyed playing games. My family frequently plays board games once we get together, I play games with my children almost every day, and (not surprisingly) I have used a wide variety of games* as instructional tools in my classroom. ) I’ve never had a student ask”Why are we playing games?” Rather, students typically ask,”Could we play with this again soon?” I think it’s very important to articulate the value of game playing myself, my coworkers, colleagues, parents and many others. Through the years, I’ve come up with my own list of the top five reasons I believe game playing is a powerful instructional tool.

Students learn through the process of playing the games such as The Impossible Quiz. By playing a game, students may be able to understand a new concept or idea, take on a different standpoint, or experiment with different options or variables. For example, in my beginning Spanish courses, I often played with a card game first week of school. Each individual read through the instructions to the card match; afterward, the match has been played in full silence. Following the initial round, one pupil from each group (typically the”winner”) moved into a different group. We typically played four rounds.

What my students did not initially know is that each group had obtained a different set of rules. When a student moved to a brand new group, he often felt confused and was uncertain as to why the other people were enjoying otherwise (pupils usually say”they were playing wrong”). We used this as a starting point to discuss the adventure of moving to a different country. Having transferred from Spain to Venezuela to the United States, I shared my experiences of learning new cultural rules and, occasionally, feeling like others were”playing incorrect.”

Afterward we played the game , but I enabled all the students to speak. Through discussions, pupils clarified the principles to”novices,” and the match ran more smoothly (and pupils reported feeling much more satisfied). At this point, at least somebody said,”I get it. You’re attempting to show us this is why we will need to learn a different language. We can all clarify the rules to one another.”

Games offer a context for engaging practice. As a world languages teacher, I understand students require a good deal of practice to internalize significant vocabulary and structures. However, for the practice to be purposeful, students should be engaged (and let us be honest, countless workbook pages or textbook exercises are not always exceptionally engaging!) . Through vibrant games of charades, $25,000 pyramid, or other people, my pupils voluntarily use the vocabulary and structures, repeatedly gaining much-needed practice.

During games, students can learn a variety of important skills. By way of example, with my Spanish students, circumlocution is a very important skill. By playing word guessing games, I have seen my students’ capability to utilize circumlocution improve radically. I love to watch my students’ creativity during game sessions (we have used Play-doh, drawing, acting and many other tasks in our matches ). I told him that I was glad he liked it, but that it wasn’t my invention–it was based on a game that he might have played at home. He then told me he had never played games at home and I had been the only adult who had sat down to play a match with him. At times, I’m surprised that pupils don’t logically think through how to perform”Guess Who?” Afterward I remind myself that this 14-year-old had never played a match with a grownup before he came to my course! I see this as an opportunity to teach a broad range of life skills that don’t automatically show up in my program’s scope and sequence.

While playing games, students create a number of relations with the material and can form positive memories of learning. Some of my favourite classroom memories come out of game times. I won’t ever forget watching Miguel jump round the classroom to help his peers suppose the word”Mono” (fighter ). Luckily, the students will not forget it either (and each of them got”mono” directly on their evaluations ). The fun, silly or interesting moments tend to stand out in pupils’ memories, and they latch on to the vocabulary/structures we’re studying. A positive psychological connection can facilitate learning. What’s more, many games include many different different stimuli; a few pupils might recall the vocabulary words out of acting them out, others recall reading the clues, along with other students remember hearing classmates call out answers. Games can offer many different sensory experiences for students. Games grab students’ attention and actively engage them. I find that because students enjoy playing games, it’s a good way to concentrate their attention and actively immerse them in Spanish. This can be especially useful in a wide array of means. By way of instance, following a fire drill pupils sometimes have trouble settling down and returning to class. A game allows students to quickly participate and transition back into the material we were working on. After hours of state-mandated standardized tests, I find my students tend to be tired of sitting and full of energy; an energetic